Kick-start your team

You just created a new team and now you want to get started. But how will you get to the awesome team you all want? I’ll share some of my models I use getting there.

For me, it’s important to be explicit about the importance of the effort it will take to become a new team. If you are a new product team coming together, a new leadership team assembling or your current team is just change by some people joining or leaving, the importance is still there, what do we need in order to become a great team?

Agenda for my team kick-offs

When helping a team, I more or less always discuss the following topics with the team and help them get a good start. It is the same topics no matter of the kind of team, e.g. product team, leadership team in any level or other types of team.
There are a lot of things to cover so depending on the time the team want to put in initially, I suggest the following as a starting point to discuss with the team.

Prio 1

This is the light version of team kick-off and what I think is essential to even start collaborating. The following topics are usually a good starting point:

  • Why are you here (or overall mission as a team, the reason we exist in this constellation)
  • Define success
    • When are you successful as a team (external mission, task or goal)
    • When are you successful as a team (internal in this team)
  • Expectations (behaviours)
    • Expectations on each other
    • Expectations on us as a team
  • How we collaborate, rules of engagement
  • What supporting structure do we need to be awesome (meeting schedule, communication ways and expectation on usage, documentation areas, preparation, work time and place, etc)
  • Who are we as individuals in this team – get to know each other, private/personal and work wise

The time schedule to cover the above vary from 2 hours to a full day. Depending on the time you can deep dive more or less, and I find it possible to at least create the initial structure and guard rails for the team to get started working together.

Prio 2

In this section I have collected some areas that will take you further inning an efficient team. I will require some more time covering this.

  • What is the value ground for this team
  • Constraints we have in our team that relates to our mandate, behaviours, expectations, engagement, time etc
  • Our value creation flow
  • Mandate in the team, how we take decisions, who does what, when do we involve each other
  • How do we learn, as team and individuals
  • Our plan going forward, what do we need to get in place to be successful (futurespective/remember the future)

For this I usually spend more time, at least a day, but it might be spread over time depending on the team’s need and availability.

Prio 3

In this section I focus on getting the team and individuals to look at the bigger system and step out of the delivery mode, both individually and as a team. Learning is essential for a team and over time I find it good to cover fields like those:

  • Neuroleadership
  • Complexity
  • Growth mindset and learning organisation
  • Organisational development
  • Value creation principles and flow
  • Design Thinking
  • Leading in a complex environment / VUCA world
  • Self leadership
  • Coaching techniques
  • Mindfulness
  • Change management

In this section it’s more a leadership program we are looking at and the needs and content is designed together with the team. This will spann months to get time to internalise knowledge going form learning something new, practice it in reality, reflecting and get coaching and build on the learnings.

Now what?

This is a draft disposition I have presented. I will always interact and discuss with teams I help in order to end up at a good level for the team and the individuals and together work on a plan going forward.
I will deep dive in some of the areas and exercises I use, but more on that in other posts.
And now I’m curious on what you as coach or team member or leader appreciate and is most eager to start with when you enter a new team context!