Archive | January, 2012

7 Agreements of a Team

3 Jan

Over the course of my corporate career, I have been fortunate enough to hire great new people. I often lead from what I call the “7 Agreements of a Team.” Yet after some recent turnover on my team, I find myself wondering if these agreements are still useful concepts in today’s work environment.  As a new hire, how would you feel if your boss shared these with you?

1. Integrity
This involves being true to principled behavior even when no one is watching. This involves being supportive of your team in front of customers or clients. We will laugh and celebrate our successes, comfort each other and learn from mistakes. While it is meaningful to bond at work, it’s also helpful to find other personal support systems outside of the workplace. We will be mature and honest, always.

2. Communication
Verbal and written communication skills are critical to being an effective team and serving customers or clients. Never rely solely on e-mail, pick up the phone and talk to people. If necessary, go visit them! Have face-to-face conversations. Communication also involves listening and asking questions. When you are unsure of a task or directive ask! Sometimes a leader will have to make decisions that you do not agree with don’t take it personally. This does not make them better or you inferior. Be mature and professional in accepting constructive correction.  If you have issues about how or why you are being corrected–address directly with your leader. Good leaders will be open to understanding how you are feeling, discussing it and trying a new communication style.

3. Service
Be a host, not a guest at events and with every task you accomplish. Serving others is a noble purpose greater than just doing the work. Seek to help people. Seek to be kind to each other. If you have a problem with the leader or one another, let’s find time to talk about it. Honestly and maturely. Gossiping is a weak, spectator sport. It’s never healthy or fun for anyone. Serve our customers, clients and one another. Don’t always wait to be asked.

4. Confidence
Demonstrate confidence in your area of expertise. This involves your ability to respond and react in uncertain situations with a level of certainty. No one has all the answers but you are in your role because you have been selected as the best person for the job.  When being confident always treat others with respect and listen to other points of view. While professional development is important, no course or workshop can give you confidence, practice it first in the smallest things. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, we all do. It’s how you own it and recover that speaks volumes about you.

5. Innovation
Always look for ways to improve existing systems and processes. Never get stuck in doing things the same way every year. If you have conducted an event or task once, look for a way to make it better the next time around. Do not be afraid to suggest a better way to do our work. If something you want or need in your work does not exist, create it and propose it to the team. We might have fun doing something in a new way! Innovation is refreshing.

6. Consistency
The power of our brand, external reputation and credibility also lies in being consistent. We should find approaches and philosophies to deliver our consultations consistently without sacrificing our personalities. If each of us uses a different philosophy we risk losing credibility and any value we might bring singularly or collectively. This does not mean being stuck in a rut. If you disagree with decisions or our approaches become outdated, propose a new philosophy, process or system so we can all improve. See #5.

7. Timely Follow-Through
If you are given a task you are expected to complete it or get answers in a timely manner. If you find yourself unsure of what timely is or what to do: ASK. If you have too many assignments or priorities let your boss know. If you need help completing a task, let your boss know. Avoid always coming to the table with a problem–come showing that you have thought about a recommended solution. Never dump and run when things get tough or you are uncertain about how to handle a situation.  Address things upfront and bring it to a logical conclusion. Ask for help when you need it, we’re in this together. Let’s accomplish our goals.

So, what’s missing?  Are these reasonable? Overwhelming? Why? How would you respond if your leader shared these with you? I need your help, because I’m crazy enough to think these things still matter, leave your comments below…