Some ideas to stimulate your thinking!

Are you trying to craft a set of norms for your team?

A well-crafted set of team norms is a great way to shape your team’s interactions and collaborations, allowing them to function more effectively and achieve greater impact.

If this is your first time crafting team norms, you might be wondering where to start. The process of crafting them is not complicated. To help you get started, I have listed some team norms for your consideration.


Ten sample team norms to get you started

Team norms usually cover team members’ interaction with one another, but can also include other areas of the team operation, like meeting etiquette, decision-making process, etc.

I have grouped the team norms into two categories: one for general interaction, and another related explicitly to meetings. These sample team norms are just suggestions, and you don’t have to adopt all of them. You might even think of other possible ones as you read through the list.


For general interaction


1. We will support and invest in each other’s development.

If the individuals are growing, the team will benefit; but team member’s development need not, and should not, be the sole responsibility of the leader. This will encourage team members to invest in each other’s growth.

Development need not be limited to professional areas, but could also include personal, character, and even spiritual areas.


2. We will strive to help each other succeed.

We want an environment where team members help each other, rather than stepping on other people to succeed.


3. We will celebrate each other’s success.

We want to motivate one another and intentionally celebrate every person’s success.


4. We will focus on and celebrate team successes.

This is slightly different from the previous one. With this norm, we would like to focus on the team efforts much more than individual efforts. We are not saying that individual efforts are not important; we’re just not interested in having individual heroes at the expense of the team.


5. We have the right to voice our own opinion, and it is safe to express a contrary opinion.

A healthy team should have differences in opinion and perspective. A team that can consider issues from multiple perspectives will have a greater impact than one that has limited perspectives. We want to create an environment where it is safe and acceptable to voice a different opinion.

“A team that can consider issues from multiple perspectives will have a greater impact than one that has limited perspectives.”


6. We will have fun!

Would you like a boring team or a fun-loving one? ‘Nuff said.


For meetings


7. We will arrive at meetings at least 5 minutes before the stated start time.

We would like people to be on time for meetings. But being “on time” might mean different things to different people; I’ve met people who felt that arriving at a meeting five minutes after the starting time is still “on time”! This norm makes it clear what the team considers “on time”.


8. Silence will be taken as agreement.

Have you met people who don’t express their opinion during meetings, and then have all kinds of opinion after the meeting? They might have valid reasons for doing so, or this might just be how they like it.

This norm creates an understanding that if a person has a different opinion, he/she needs to express it during the meeting, instead of keeping silent and then voice his/her disagreement after the meeting.

Of course, we are not saying we don’t want actual silence between conversations during a meeting; after all, those silence are great opportunities for participants to think and reflect.


9. We will engage in open and frank discussions during meetings and stand in solidarity outside the meeting.

This is related to the previous norm. Have you met people who voice their disagreements after the team has made the decision together? How did it affect the team’s morale?

While each team member has the right to his/her own opinion and has the right and the opportunity to voice those opinions, he/she should stand in solidarity with the team. A team that is divided can never be a high-impact team.


10. We will start and end meetings on time.

Do we penalise those who arrive on time for meetings, so that we can wait for those who arrive late? If we keep waiting for late-comers, they will have no motivation to arrive on time.

What about meetings that keep on going, an hour or two after the stated end-time? Did you enjoy it?

Those who call for a meeting need to be better prepared for the meeting so that they can keep to the stated time. It’s about keeping to their promise and also have a more productive meeting. This norm motivates them to do so.


What about you?

Which of the above norms is relevant for your team?

What other norms can you think of that might be useful for your team?


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