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Unleashing Your Remarkable Potential
Issue 3.7 - February 13, 2006 - ISSN: 1551-6571
In Kevin's Own Words
Top 7 Reasons Why Team Charters Improve Team Success
Thousands of teams are formed in businesses around the world each day. And most of those teams flounder unnecessarily for too long and some flounder forever). There is one simple practice that can improve the results of most any team, whether formed for a short project or as a new working unit. That practice is team chartering.
The team charter is a document that serves as both guidance and a roadmap for any team’s success. When used most effectively, this tool clarifies the purpose for the team's existence and documents the agreements amongst the team members.
Here are the seven reasons why a team chartering process will be of great benefit when forming any team.
1. Shows support and commitment. One of the key components to an effective team charter is the identification of a team sponsor or a person outside of the team that can provide support and direction to the team. Many teams flounder because they don't have a “go to” person they can rely on when they get stuck or encounter obstacles. The team charter is one way for those sponsors to communicate their interest and support. The charter also provides the team with the assurance that such a person exists.
2. Sets team direction. A good team charter will provide a team with the rationale and goals for the team. Often teams are formed without these ideas having been clearly defined. This is a problem not only for the creation of the team, but makes the work of the team exceedingly difficult. How do you know what to do when you don't know the specific goals and objectives you are supposed to achieve? If I could have only one component to any team charter it would be a clear definition of the direction, goals to be reached, and problems to be solved by the team.
3. Provides agreements and clarity. Charters provide more than just overall direction and alignment to the organization's overall purpose. The best charters also provide a chance for the team itself to build agreements about how they will operate, make decisions, how often they will meet, and many other logistical issues.
4. Structures and ensures and effective planning process. Too often in our fast-paced world, teams move too quickly to building a solution because they think that immediate action is required. With this perspective they spend too little time in planning for successful action. A team chartering process, form, or checklist helps make sure a team plans successfully before moving forward. The time spent in planning initially will be repaid many times over during the life of the team - both in time saved and frustration avoided.
5. Identifies roles. Will the same person facilitate each meeting? Who is the team leader? Are there specific expectations of the team members? What roles will each individual will play? Does every team member understand why they're there and what expertise they can provide? A team chartering process can help answer all of these questions, and thereby help any team be more successful more quickly.
6. Outlines boundaries and scope. Often teams wonder what's inside of their control and what is actually expected of them. A good chartering process should help a team understand what their boundaries are what their limitations are what parts of the problem they are responsible for etc.
7. Sets resources. Teams often wonder what about their level of authority. Can they hire consultants? Can they bring in outside experts? What is their budget? Can they bring in additional resources within the organization? A good chartering document will help set both the resource requirements and levels of authority the team has to acquire more resources when needed.
8. Improves productivity, and the likelihood of successful outcome. Okay, so there are more than seven. All of the first seven benefits lead to this one - the ultimate benefit of all. Successfully chartering will improve the likelihood that the team will be less frustrated take less time and create greater results.
The importance of a team chartering process can’t be overstated. You'll notice that I have outlined the benefits and therefore implied many of the key components to a successful team charter. Remember that the form, format or template you use is less important than the time spent in conversation and dialogue to make sure what you document is realistic, and relevant. Remember too that you want to create something not as an exercise but as a living document for the team to use as both a guide and a roadmap.
When you invest the time to do a team charter, you will truly help the team as a whole be more successful. And you will also be providing a highly valued structure to help individual team members be less frustrated and more productive.
| Being a More Effective Team Member Learning System
Learn how to be a more effective and productive member of any team with this 30 day Learning System.
Click HERE for more information and contact us directly for team and corporate discounts. This program is also available on 4 Audio CDs – contact us for pricing!
You Ask...Kevin Answers
"How does one most effectively communicate with the team one leads or with clients relative to the correct direction to follow without having the other feel they are wrong?"
- Tim Savage
There could be a variety of answers to this question, based on the situation. As a leader, it is important to let others know how you plan to make decisions. If you want their input into a decision, but in the end you will make an independent decision, let people know that. If you want to truly create a collaborative decision, let them know that as well. This way, when asking people for their input, they will have a better sense of how it will be used.
Set up your conversation for the exploration of best possible solutions. You may sometimes find that your preferred or initial direction may be altered by the conversation! Regardless, always thank people for their input and ideas. Let them know the criteria you will use to make your decision, and how you plan to use their input. When you do that, people will be much more accepting of your decision, even if it isn't what they would have done.
75 Cage Rattling Questions to Change the Way You Work
by Dick Whitney and Melissa Giovagnoli
This book has 75 short chapters, one for each of the self-described “cage rattling questions.” Each chapter opens with the question, provides you 3-5 ways to use the question, shares a “war story” and gives you some tips for using this particular question.
I have long been a proponent of, and encouraged people to build lists of questions they could use in different situations. This book would be a good place to start your list if you are a trainer, consultant, facilitator, or team leader. You will find many of these questions useful to spark conversations, trigger new ideas and build synergy.
Look at it this way… if you got only one great question that you use to great advantage it would be worth the cost of the book. I’m sure you will get at least several more than that.
You can learn more and order a copy at Amazon.com
| About The Kevin Eikenberry Group
We help organizations, teams and individuals reach their potential through a variety of products and services including:
- Consulting / Coaching
- Products to support the development of your potential.
To learn more click on the links above or call 888.LEARNER or 317.387.1424.
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