Thursday, October 18, 2012

Team values and changes in membership

Following on from my post yesterday about changing team membership and working agreements, today I'm going to talk about values.

Most of the values a team holds are learn through osmosis. As the team works more and more together they generate a shared mental model of how the team works and interacts.

So what happens when team membership changes? The team's values might well be invalidated. Perhaps a new team member doesn't agree with the current values, but if the values aren't made explicit how would anyone know?

Getting these values out of the teams heads and talking about them is a valuable exercise. Not only does it allow the team to understand what values they each hold, but also the ones they have in common. The conversation is the most important part of this. After which they can document and display the values. This also has the added benefit of showing the surrounding company what you value and may spur more conversation.

Back to our new team member. He or she might value the same things. In that case, great. If they don't agree then there's a conversation that needs to be had. The team might still agree to keep the same values, but with buy in from the new member. They might also agree to change them.

The important things are the conversation and the buy in from all team members. Without the buy in it's hard for someone to really live those values.

Finally compare your values to that of the surrounding organization. Is there a match or mismatch? This may generate more conversation at a higher level.

Have you made your team values explicit? What do you value?

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