Designing your team

This is all from Cristina Wodtke’s article. Link at the bottom of this post.

Stage 1: Form — Designing Your Team Consciously
Think about the last team you were on. How did you start? Did you just sit down at a conference table and start discussing the project? Or did you take time to ask yourselves what kind of team you wanted to be? When you discussed the project, did you discuss logistics and deadlines, or what success looks like?”

Exercise for Team Norming

  1. Picture the best team you’ve ever been on. The one where you felt you were part of something special. Can you recall it’s characteristics? What made it so awesome? Write them down on post-its.
  2. Now picture the worst team you’ve ever been part of. You know, you wake up each morning dreading that you’ll be facing those people. What made it so dreadful? Write them down.
  3. Take a moment to stack rank your issues. Then share your top three goods and top three bads with your team.
  4. Finally, make a list of rules for your team. It should be easy to think up rules after a moment of reflection on your experiences. Call them out to the facilitator, and have them listed on a whiteboard to butcher paper — something that invites editing and updates.

    When I run this exercise, I question the “rules.” If someone says, “speak your mind.” I’ll ask,

    • What does it look like when someone “speaks their mind.”
    • Why does that rule matter?
    • How can we tell if people aren’t following the rule?
    • How do you plan to call each other out if someone violates this rule?

    The rules need to have the same meaning for all team members. I often have to get clarity around a phrase that “everyone knows what it means,” like “speak your mind.”

I’m going to need to read this article about another 15 times, I think.

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