Creating Team Working Agreements to Build a High-Performing Team
When teammates create team working agreements, they increase their performance, and they are more likely to achieve 100% customer satisfaction. In this book, you will learn how to facilitate team working agreements using a practical and proven 10 step process.
After a team establishes its goals, all teammates must work together. But far too many teams struggle with a lack of mutual respect, connection, and unity. As a result, individual teammates often feel alone and unsupported.
Work Agreements, created by teammates, define how teammates want to work together.
They are short and customized documents. They provide a set of clear expectations for every teammate’s performance and behavior. See a real example below.
Work Agreements set the tone for how a team moves forward. They provide a baseline for effective, meaningful work.
Work Agreements are One of the Best Characteristics of a Good Team
When executed, Work Agreements can solve any teamwork issue.
I, Dan Hogan, facilitated over 500 teams in eight countries in my 35-year team building career. I worked with many of those teams for several years. Every team created some kind of work agreement. I assure you; agreements work when teammates live and follow them.
I am confident you will agree with the following statement.
It is not a matter of if conflict will happen; it is more a matter of when conflict happens.
This truth alone is justification enough for creating team working agreements.
Said a different way, it is far better to have working agreements in place before conflict happens.
But even if your team is currently in conflict, it’s never too late to create and follow work agreements.
These People Came Together with Their Work Agreements
One year after creating their team work agreements, this team completely turned around. They had recommitted to their shared goals and were honoring their work agreements.
As a result, they experienced:
- 78% increase in teammate trust
- 46% increase in mutual support
- 61% increase in complying with decisions
- Over $350,000 in savings.
Here are the 10 Steps and More About What You Will Learn in this Comprehensive Guide
You will learn that agreements are one of the 5 elements of Right-Minded Teamwork.
You will see a twelve-month three-workshop implementation plan. The work agreement session is the first workshop.
When you buy this detailed guide, you find in the first sections, three different ways to describe how to facilitate the 10 steps.
The first description is a short narrative that summarizes the steps and key facilitation questions.
Below you will see all 10 steps in an abbreviated format along with a shorten narrative description.
The second description is a graphic illustration of the steps. It shows the process of transforming the workshop flipcharts into a work agreement.
The third description is the detailed explanation of each step. You will find specific facilitation tips and techniques that will ensure you succeed.
In the last two sections of the guide, you will find ideas on how to live and sustain work agreements after the workshop.
Finally, you will find templates and a planning checklist. They will help you improve your facilitation skills.
Here are the 10 steps for Facilitating Team Working Agreements
Steps 1-3 are preparation tasks. Steps 4-10 happen in the workshop.
- Choose the first teamwork topic to address that needs a work agreement.
- Determine the topic’s desired outcome.
- Design an opening question to kick off dialogue.
- When the time is right, ask the opening question.
- Capture legitimate behavioral answers on a flipchart.
- Write and propose an intention statement.
- After a short dialogue, ask teammates if they will live the intention.
- Write clarifications and conditions for acceptance.
- Create interlocking accountability.
- After agreement acceptance, celebrate and move on to the next topic.
A Narrative of how to Facilitate Team Working Agreements
You are the facilitator. You have been contracted to facilitate a one-day team agreement workshop.
Steps 1 to 3
In the first step, you meet with the team leader to understand what they want to achieve and why.
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 teamwork desired outcomes, you interview all teammates to understand what they want to achieve and why.
You return to the leader to share the collective input, which results in selecting teamwork topics to address in the workshop.
You will see, in the detailed explanation section of the guide, that our team selected two topics. They wanted to address how to communicate respectfully and how to improve decision-making.
Now, in step two, you will create an agenda that includes, in our case, desired outcomes for improving communication and decision-making.
In the final preparation step, step three, you will design an opening question for both communication and decision-making. In the workshop, you will ask those questions to start a teammate discussion, which eventually leads to a work agreement.
Steps 4 to 7
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 listen, observe, and facilitate.
When the time is right, ask the opening question for the first teamwork topic.
Now, listen to their answers.
You capture their legitimate behavioral answers on a flipchart. This discussion may last thirty to sixty minutes. All the while you are listening, you are writing their answers on a flipchart. In our case, you will see in the detailed section, a list of twelve answers for the communication desired outcome. The steps above, asking the question, and capturing their answers, are steps four and five.
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 suggest an intention statement.
In step seven, ask teammates if they will agree to live the proposed intention. Most of the time, teammates agree to live it, but they also believe it needs more work.
Steps 8 to 10
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 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, the team should have an agreed-upon condition as to how to confront each other.
That means there is one more condition to write. It is what we call interlocking accountability.
In the Detailed Explanation of the 10 Steps, you will learn more about why this is an essential 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. That is step nine.
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.
Want to Learn How to Facilitate Team Working Agreements?
If you have never facilitated team working agreements, it might seem a bit overwhelming. But I assure you, after you facilitate several sessions, it will become one of your most important team building tools.
However, if you have facilitated team working agreements, I’m confident you’ll find ideas and tips in this process that will improve your skill.
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If you download How To Facilitate Team Work Agreements: A Practical 10 Step Process and you want or need support, please contact me, Dan Hogan.