To take the time to identify what team members expect from each other and hold themselves to this standard can help build a very high performance team. This exercise will provide the process and document that can guide a team to improve and celebrate great performance.
This is a variation of the Brainstorming with Post Its described in the April, 2015 newsletter.
Great Team Traits provides a team an opportunity to consider, list, discuss, and prioritize the behaviors a team would prefer to see during its project work.
AT YOUR TEAM TABLE:
1. Individually and silently brainstorm with Post-Its what your successful team is going to be like.
- What will success look like at the major milestones?
- What behaviors do you want to see?
- What thinking will drive these behaviors?
- Describe the journey and the arrival.
2. Have the team meet at a flipchart and present and discuss each person’s ideas, one person at a time presenting one idea at a time. Continue placing and discussing until all the ideas are posted.
3. As a team, sort the Post Its into columns of similar ideas. This format is often called an affinity diagram. See Google Images for lots of examples of affinity diagrams.
4. Write category headings at the top of each column. I’d recommend here to have the headings include action verbs.
5. Discuss insights about the resulting chart. “Does this chart represent what we as a team want to do?”
You have created a “Great Team Traits” scoreboard for your own team.
A key requirement is to then USE it as a reference point when monitoring and evaluating your team’s performance. For example when it’s time to assess a team’s progress, direct the team’s attention to the Great Team Traits flipchart and ask the team “How are we doing? Suggestions for improvement?”
Teams can also raise the bar. If they think there is an area for improvement, they can add new criteria they want to honor. There are many sources of “raise the bar” options. Many are leadership and team development books. Two of my favorites are Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and Peter Scholtes’ Team Handbook.
This is also a great icebreaker for new teams with the advantage that you are creating a useful tool and not just talking about your favorite color or what day of the week you’d like to be.
- Patrick Lencioni’s website: www.tablegroup.com
- Team Handbook sources: Amazon and www.orielstat.com
- Good Thinking Series – Part 2: Collaborate – includes about 50 collaboration tools
- Good Thinking Series - Associated Videos
- Upcoming public seminars: Singapore: Process Improvement and Strategic & Scenario Planning; November 3-6, 2015
- Websites: www.johncanfield.com and www.goodthinkingseries.com
- Call or write 616-392-2634, firstname.lastname@example.org