Team Agreements

Purpose: Setting Team Agreements allows teams to work through and make clarifications about some potentially difficult or challenging aspects of working in groups. It gives participants the opportunity to state how they like to work and the ability to bring up breaches of the agreement.

Materials: A piece of flip-chart paper per team and enough markers for everyone. Have a mock template with questions to work through at the front of the room.

Time: 60 mins

Step one: Reiterate the Google research on teams. Remind participants that they emphasized five attributes that the best teams all embody.

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?

  2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?

  3. Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?

  4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?

  5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

Alternately (or additionally), you can reiterate Tuckman’s Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. Mention that all stages are important and necessary, but that there are ways that they can help themselves work through conflict (storming), such as having conversations about how people like to work and setting an agreement as a group.

Step two: Invite participants to have conversations around the questions posed on the Team Agreement Template in their teams/working groups and come to a collective agreement about processes, methods and attitudes they want to employ.

Step three: After 30-40 minutes, advise participants that their agreements all need to noted down. Give them 5-10 minutes to finalise their Agreements. If the team is setting roles, make sure that people are allocated to each role.

Step four: Have each team present their Team Agreements to the larger group. Invite people to borrow good ideas from other teams! Once presentations are finished, have each team place their Agreement on the wall in their allocated area, as a reminder of their commitment.

Possible Agreement ideas:

  • Do a team check-in every morning before session starts

  • Favour face to face communication

  • Be positive - employ a ‘Yes, and…’ approach

  • Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know

  • Raise questions/issues early - don’t wait

  • Respect others views, thoughts and appreciate contribution

Communication methods:

  • What forms work best? Text? FB? Slack? Email?

  • How will you work on documents: Google Drive?

  • What feedback methods will you use with your team?

  • Expected response times?

Questions to consider:

  • What is your plan for timekeeping?

  • What is your plan for ensuring equal sharing of airtime?

  • What is your harvesting plan?

  • What is the organisational structure of your team?

  • How will you make decisions?

  • Is there a team lead and does that person have final decision-making authority

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