Does your team have explicit and agreed team goals? And does your team have a crystal clear agreement about how it will work together?
When I’m helping teams become very-high-performing-teams, these are amongst the first things I investigate. They are a couple of the very important foundation stones for real team success. In fact, I’ve never encountered a very-high-performing-team that doesn’t have explicit and agreed team goals as well as a clear agreement about how the team will work together.
Are you finding this food for thought? Let’s look a little closer…
What Distinguishes Your Team From Just a “Group of People”?
In any sphere, the importance of having a goal is well understood—it creates focus and alignment of intentions and actions. Your team goal answers the “what” question: “What are we going to work together to achieve?”
But perhaps not so well understood is the value of having a Team Working Agreement—it answers the “how” question: “How are we going to work together to achieve our goals?”
A couple of bulletins ago, we looked at the issue of covert conflict. One of the most powerful tools to minimise unhealthy overt or covert conflict is to:
- Discuss and create alignment on the team’s primary targeted outcomes, principles, practices and values that team members agree are important.
- Document these agreements—thereby giving each team member full transparency of the team’s expectations of each team member.
Why Will This Sort of Documented Team Agreement be Valuable for Your Team?
For a start, it’s a giant step forward in having your team members understand more about what’s important to each team member—and we know how this awareness builds trust in a team. (If you missed that bulletin, click here.)
And to boot, this sort of agreement is massively impactful when it comes to reducing conflict (that wasteful, diversionary type of conflict) by providing the team with important information about each team member’s expectations and about how each person wants to be treated.
It’s undeniably very dangerous to assume that everyone wants to be treated as you want to be treated!
Your Leadership Call to Action
I meet with many teams that don’t initially have a clear team goal or a Team Working Agreement. And they’re the ones that haven’t yet pulled together as a very-high-performing-team pulls together.
In the interests of having your team close the gap between it and a very-high-performing-team, your first step is to seriously contemplate these two questions:
- How useful are your team’s goals in directing effort to achieve your critical targets?
- Does your team have a documented Working Agreement that describes the team’s primary targeted outcomes, principles, practices and values that team members agree are important?
If you’re interested in maximising productivity, you don’t want a team of individual contributors. You want to generate leverage in your team by having every team member stimulated to move forward in the same direction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.