Develop Ground Rules
Ground rules support an increase in team performance and have been shown to increase effectiveness in multicultural and global teams.
Ground rules can help to address:
- Absence of trust
- Fear of conflict
- Lack of commitment
- Avoidance of accountability
- Inattention to results
- Stuart, A. (2014). Ground rules for a high performing team. Paper presented at PMI Global Congress 2014—North America, Phoenix, AZ. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.
- Govindarajan, V., and Gupta, A.K. (2001). Building an effective global business team. MIT Sloan Management Review, 42(4), 63-71.
- Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A leadership fable. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Attitude and Culture
- We treat each other with respect.
- We develop personal relationships to enhance trust and open communication.
- We value constructive feedback. We avoid being defensive and give feedback in a constructive manner.
- We seek to understand others’ points of view.
- We establish and maintain a supportive group climate, but also confront difficult issues when necessary.
- We thank team members for their efforts on behalf of the team.
- We recognize and celebrate individual and team accomplishments.
- We will hold a regular scheduled meeting on… (insert day and time).
- All team members are expected to attend team meetings.
- Members will be fully present during team meetings (e.g., not checking their phone or emails).
- The team leader can cancel or reschedule a team meeting if sufficient team members are unavailable or there is insufficient subject matter to warrant a meeting.
- The team leader will publish and distribute an agenda by email by… (insert day and time).
- Meetings start on time and end on time.
- An action item list with responsibilities will be maintained, reviewed in meetings and distributed with the meeting minutes.
- No responsibilities will be delegated unless the person assigned the responsibility accepts them.
- The responsibility for taking and distributing meeting minutes will rotate monthly among core team members.
- Meeting minutes will be distributed within 24 hours after the meeting.
- We emphasize full discussion and resolution of issues vs. sticking to a timetable. Alternately, meetings stay on topic. If discussion wanders, issues are put in the “parking lot” for another meeting.
Communication and Decision-making
- One person talks at a time; there are no side discussions.
- Each person is given a chance to speak their mind while respecting the group’s time and the meeting timetables. We will be brief and focus on facts, not opinions.
- We emphasize open and honest communication; there are no hidden agendas. Conflict is openly and directly addressed.
- We de-personalize discussion of issues so there are no attacks on people.
- We listen, are non-judgmental and keep an open mind on issues until it is time to decide.
- We value balanced participation of all team members. No one dominates; everyone participates.
- Decisions are reached by consensus.
Planning and Management
- We mutually commit to our team’s objectives as stated in the team charter or negotiate until we can make a mutual commitment.
- We accept the responsibility and accountability along with the authority given to us.
- We maintain the teamwork plan and schedule each month.
- If a team member believes they are being asked to do a task outside the scope of the team’s charter, they will bring this to the attention of the team leader for resolution.
- When we pose an issue or a problem, we also try to present a solution.
- Team commitments should not be made lightly, but we will keep those that we do make.
- As team members, we pitch in to help where necessary (e.g., to help solve problems, catch up on behind schedule work).
Maintaining Ground Rules
- Everyone is responsible for enforcing the ground rules.
- We conduct process checks when one member believes we are deviating from our ground rules.
- Ground rules will be reviewed at a specific date and revised as needed