7 powerful steps to a Team Charter that sets your team up for success in 2020

Ask yourself: what can we do as a team to make 2020 our best year yet?

Getting a team to work well together doesn't happen by chance. It requires intention, commitment and a focus on both structure/task and behavioural habits.

The start of the year is a great time to stop for a moment with your team and discuss:

"How do we best work together to best achieve our goals, and make this a truly great place to work? How can we make this year our best year yet?"

One crucial ingredient in that dialogue is to create a Team Charter.

A Team Charter is a document that describes the purpose, framework and agreements of the team. Creating a Team Charter is a shared process (not just a leadership task), hence making it a powerful and visual shared commitment. A Team Charter that is created by everyone, is owned by everyone and therefore is carried out by everyone.

Each Team Charter is unique to the team, but typically it includes at least the 7 steps:

  1. Team purpose and clear links to the organisation's vision and purpose (how you as a team make a difference)
  2. Expectations and goals (what are you expected to do and achieve this year?)
  3. Roles and responsibilities (who does what, what are the overlaps and collaboration opportunities?)
  4. Skills and expertise needed to fulfil purpose (is there anything new you need to learn and/or how can team members' skills/expertise be shared?)
  5. Resources needed to fulfil purpose (e.g. what data and tools do you need to do a great job?)
  6. Operating guidelines: behaviours and how the team will work together to fulfil the purpose (e.g. how should you treat each other, how should you communicate, help each other, spend time together?)
  7. Signed agreement/commitment

Some seem obvious and almost implicit, don’t they? Well, then ask yourself as a team; why aren’t we doing it then. And if you are doing it, challenge yourself on how you can make it even better, strive for more together. You may have these 7 steps in some implicit form, it is important to make them explicit for all to agree to openly.

So yes, as you reflect on these 7 steps, some are probably already in place, but it is still crucial to review them as a team to reconfirm or indeed update your shared agreement on those important ingredients of teamwork. The steps that definitely need updating each year, for every team, are 2, 6 and 7.

Once you have documented the team agreements steps 1-6 (and any other topics you want to include), invite each team member to sign the document (step 7). Signing the Team Charter agreement signals real commitment and cements it. You can even call it a team promise – after all, a promise feels even more powerful.

If you need further guidance on how to complete a Team Charter, there's a more in-depth guide in "Leading Teams; 10 Challenge 10 Solutions", our award-winning book which also provides many other team success solutions.

Author: Mandy and Elisabet

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