For individuals of a team to work well together, they must have boundaries around the work that they contribute. The team itself has boundaries that must be clear to stakeholders in the business. Defining these boundaries explicitly is rarely done or communicated. Team engagement is at risk when the boundaries are unclear internally or externally. The leader and team can use these exercises to make the boundaries internal and external explicit.
Want and Have
People want to make an impact. They want to be engaged and in community with others who are also engaged and making an impact. When things are hectic, individuals and teams often need to step back and 'repack their bags'. Here are four questions (from Mike Donahue) that I like to reset:
What do I HAVE that I WANT?
What do I HAVE that I DON'T WANT?
What do I not HAVE that I WANT?
What do I not HAVE that I DON'T WANT?
Start with individual team members answering these questions alone, and share with the team for clarity and alignment.
Revisit individual team member roles to ensure that they align to individual jobs and team boundaries. Competency models for roles are lengthy and difficult to keep top of mind, so I prefer to have each individual carve out 3-5 Key Accountabilities. A Key Accountability defines a critical, measurable outcome that a role must deliver for the organization to be successful. If your group finds this challenging, start with these four things to wordsmith a Key Accountability:
- AUDIENCE - what is the role, for example, Supervisor of a Call Center?
- BEHAVIOR - what must this role deliver (done), for example, Track Escalated Calls?
- CONDITION - are there specific job aids, frequency or conditions, for example, Monthly?
- DEGREE - how will 'done' be measured, for example, 100% accuracy using the Call Center Dashboard by end of month?
Many start to develop teams with this step, but building on the knowns (what I personally Want/Have, my specific role) is a safe path to seeing the big picture of a shared purpose. Work up from the weeds of the first two SCOPE activities first to build trust in the team. This is the single easiest way to engage a team and without it, disengage a team. The Purpose Statement answers the following questions:
- Who are our stakeholders / customers / constituents?
- What value do we bring to them? How do they measure our value? Do we measure it the same way?
- What emotional words resonate with our sense of purpose?
There's a simple process for creating a team Purpose Statement (some might call this vision or mission): use three verbs and one noun. Although the process is simple, agreeing on the final product is not. Use these facilitation steps to move from divergent to convergent:
- List all the verbs on a flip-chart. There's no critique here, just brainstorming.
- List possible nouns on a flip-chart. Again, just brainstorming.
- Finish the 'puzzle' by finding three verbs and a noun (with a couple of other words if necessary to sound correct) that resonates with the entire team.
Here's a sample of the process using my personal Purpose Statement:
Verbs: learn, lead, affirm, grow, nurture, develop, build, affirm, sustain
Nouns: people, team, leadership, growth, self, profit, quality, engagement
Final version (after much adjusting…)
I ignite, affirm and sustain learning in self and others.
Notice I've added a couple of words to make it sensible. If I am emotional self-aware and notice myself getting stressed, I can repeat these words to myself to self-regulate. Does my stress have anything to do with my Purpose? Usually not. This is useful for individual team members as well as the team as a whole.
Consider asking the team members to craft an individual Purpose Statement first, and then work together to create a team version. Continue to reinforce and remind each other of the purpose when the team or individuals run into conflict.