How to Facilitate Team Work Agreements - A Practical 10 Step Process
Team Work Agreements transform mediocre teams into high performing teams. Leaders and teammates discuss and create agreements that clear up unresolved interpersonal or work process issues that hurt or have the potential to hurt team performance. Work Agreements are one of the five key elements of Right-Minded Teamwork. Everything you need to know about facilitating team agreements is in this book More
Here are the steps.
1. Choose first teamwork topic to address that needs a work agreement.
2. Determine the topic’s desired outcome.
3. Design an opening question to kick off dialogue.
4. When the time is right, ask the opening question.
5. Capture legitimate behavioral answers on a flip chart.
6. Write and propose an intention statement.
7. After a short dialogue, ask teammates if they will live the intention.
8. Write clarifications and conditions for acceptance.
9. Create an interlocking accountability.
10. After agreement acceptance, celebrate and move on to next topic.
Below is a narrative summary. In the book you will find a detailed explanation as well as a graphic flip chart illustration.
In the first step, you meet with the team leader to understand what they want to achieve. Often, something has occurred in the team or to the team that has precipitated the desire for this workshop. After you understand the leader’s desired outcomes, you interview all teammates.
You return to the leader to share the collective input which results in selecting teamwork topics to address in the workshop.
In the “Detailed Explanation of the 10 Steps” section, you will see that our team selected how to communicate respectfully and how to improve decision-making.
In step two you will create an agenda that includes, in our case, desired outcomes for improving communication and decision-making.
In step three, you will design an opening question for both communication and decision-making. In the workshop you will ask those questions to start teammate discussion.
Imagine you are ten minutes into the workshop. The team leader has welcomed everyone. All teammates have agreed to the desired outcomes, agenda, ground rules and the day’s logistics. Up to this point, you have been doing most of the talking. But after you ask the opening question, you will move to listening, observing, and facilitating.
When the time is right, ask the opening question.
Now, listen to their answers. You capture their legitimate behavioral answers on a flip chart. This discussion may last thirty to sixty minutes. All the while you are listening you are capturing their answers. In our case, you will see in a total list of twelve answers for the communication desired outcome.
In step six, while teammates continue to discuss communicating respectfully, you think about and write an intention statement. Your proposed statement will have evolved from their list of twelve answers. When the time is right you propose an intention statement.
In step seven, ask teammates if they will live the proposed intention. Most of the time teammates agree but they also believe the statement needs further clarification.
What is needed are clarifications and conditions for acceptance. In step eight, you will lead a discussion that eventually transforms the remaining twelve answers into the Work Agreement.
As you help teammates add and edit the clarifications and conditions, you will periodically ask them if they truly lived their agreement-in-progress would they achieve their desired outcome. Most of the time they will say yes.
It’s not unusual for people to break agreements after the workshop. Often it is just an honest mistake. But if a teammate continues to break an agreement, it’s best for the team to have an agreed upon condition as to how to appropriately confront each other.
That means there is one last condition to write. It is what we call interlocking accountability.
In the detailed explanation section, you will learn more about why this is an important condition and how to facilitate it. The good news is you only need to create it once because it will apply to all team agreements.
In step ten, every teammate publicly commits to hold themselves and others accountable to keep their agreement because they believe it will help the team achieve 100% customer satisfaction.
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