Baking a Team

I've been working with a lot of teams lately and one of the take-aways people like the most is having a set of guidelines that the team agrees to.   You might call it the recipe for success.

Step 1: Decide what you want to bake.  What's the goal, what are the deliverables and how will you measure success?  Will you trust the timer, intuition or will you stick a knife in the loaf, and if it comes out dry, it's done?  

Step 2: Gather your ingredients.  Some people don't even know they are on a team.  So be clear about who's on the team and what their roles are.  Do you want someone to challenge your ideas during meetings and if so, will you support them or rebel against them when they do?

Step 3: Follow the instructions.  There is a science to baking which leads to great eats.  Not following these leads to disappointment and blame.  

Some team instructions include things like:

  • Meetings:  If a meeting starts at 8am, when does it really start?  Seems obvious, but not having clear expectations can lead to individual interpretation and resentment.
  • Meeting purpose and agenda:  What is the objective of the meeting?  How do we play?  Are we allowed / expected to speak up?
  • Emails:  Should you write in bullet point or add some personalization and, if so, how much?
  • Communication:  When do we pick up the phone vs email vs IM?  And if you want to talk by phone, do you IM first to ensure the timing works?

Step 4:  Enjoy your banana nut bread.  Take a moment to notice when things are working well and celebrate how you worked through the tough stuff like beating eggs, mashing bananas and mixing nuts to create something yummy.

What rules of engagement has your team set and how has it helped?