Align Your Team Around a Shared Purpose

A first thing to facilitate with a new team is, why they exist.  It’s not hard to do, but often it is overlooked in a rush to get to the fun stuff of creating work products in a team’s collaboration.  But better work products come from a better understanding of the benefit a team is expected to create.  Here are three simple questions for a new team to answer in your first facilitation.

#1 – Who do we work for?

Identify the stakeholders that your team works for or the stakeholders who will benefit because of their teamwork.  Teams are brought together to create benefits, but that work is incomplete if the team does not know who these people are.  A helpful analogy is to ask is, ‘Who are our customers?”

#2 – Why do our stakeholders/customers need the results of our work?

Your team should articulate what impact they need to make that benefits their stakeholders/customers. To answer this question, it is often helpful to understand their pains that need to be addressed or the gains that would make them better off. How can you help the stakeholders/customers do better, be better, exist better, etc.?  What’s the end impact the team wants to create in their lives?

#3 – What is our deliverable as a team?

In one sentence, write down what is the ‘deliverable’ your team is supposed to produce. Have the different team members share their ideas. Cluster the responses based on similarities and rank them from most to least important. Think of the deliverable as the product that is to be created and put into service.  If the team can imagine the deliverable as something that can be touched or implemented, they are on the right track.

Here is a worksheet you can use in your next team facilitation.

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