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Teams: Ready, Set, Go

Many of my readers are getting ready to start school. (Coming from the Northeast where school never started until after Labor Day, I remain confused why Southern schools start in August. It's still summer out there folks!)

One of the beauties of the school calendar is that there is a gap between years. Each year is a new beginning with a clean slate and the promise that we will do things better.

For those of you running (or being a part of) a team, the new year is a great opportunity to improve your teams’ performances. Remember to focus on six elements:

  • Create a Real Team. Ensure that the team is relatively small (over 8 is probably too much) and yet has real diversity of thought and approach. Make sure that the team understands that moving forward requires all of them to contribute and be clear who is on the team.

  • Clarify the Purpose. The team ought to have a purpose that is well known and that is compelling. Members of the team ought to be reminded of its purpose regularly.

  • Have the Right Team Members. The members of the team need to have the skills, experience and knowledge to help the team and they have to have the EQ to be able to get along with other team members.

  • Supportive Context. The team must be given enough time and be provided with other resources to enable it to do its work. It should understand why its work is important. Also team members ought to grow professionally from being on the team.

  • Solid Structure: Structures ought to be put in place to make it easier for the team to do its work. These structures should include creating behavioral norms for the group, developing methods to allow team members to know what work is expected from them and its deadline. Members ought to know how to get items on the agenda and the process of how to communicate the team’s work need to be clear.

  • Coaching. Every team needs to spend time considering how well it is functioning. That can be done by an outside coach or by the team itself. However, the team needs to be intentional about judging itself and determining how to improve.

Don’t waste your new beginning. Make it the best it can be for the school, the teams, and most importantly for the students.


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