Back to: Phase 2: Launching the Team
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