Setting a team contract is essential to keeping our vision and success on track. It strengthens our willingness to work well together, it provides purpose and behavioural guidelines, it defines what is acceptable and what is not, what is success and how it is measured. In other words, it establishes the rules for working effectively together as a team and influence behaviours and expectations. When working with a team to achieve better collaboration toward a common goal, defining vision, roles, contributions, strategic priorities, and team standards, these facets become the building blocks of our team contract. A team contract represents how we want to operate as ONE team to stay on track with our USC (unique strategic contribution), our objectives, standards and success indicators. How do you stay on track for success and implement a strong team contract within your team?
I interviewed Nicolas Gaudreau, Brand builder, C-level executive, corporate director, teacher working as Chief Marketing Officer at Sail. He focuses on execution as a key to being successful. He says ‘’My obsession on execution comes from the fact that it’s easy to come with a strategy on a PowerPoint, execution is strategy for breakfast. If you are crystal clear about your purpose, about your why and where you want to go, if you communicate that, share your passion and show every employee the role they have in that team purpose, it brings you a long way toward alignment and execution. Simple clarity of purpose is a big thing for me’’.
Because of its unique role, a team needs to be clear on its purpose, as Nicolas said. It has to play at its highest strategic level to be successful. Let’s make sure we set conditions to play in this meaningful USC zone. In addition to your personal USC, I invite you to define your team USC. Work with someone who can challenge you on it, to bring it at its highest Strategic Level. Here is something to get you started.
In other words, if you were to concentrate only on these aspects and nothing else, you would be at the core of your team contribution.
Our team USC is to __________________ in order to create _________________and influence my team by ______________.
When Nicolas talks about a team purpose, he says ‘’it has to be compelling, inspiring and the leader has a big role in inspiring people by defining a dream, defining a compelling dream’’.
To gain alignment, the next step I suggest is to think about everything you are doing and addressing as a team, that is not in your USC. Considering you should spend most of your time and collaboration as a team in USC areas: How can you ensure that your team objectives and agendas are aligned with this UCS? How might everything else (or as much possible) could be delegated, shared, or reorganized to avoid from consuming so much of your focus?
Nicolas shares : ‘’I like to have discipline and rhythm in following-up, people like that, the way you measure success on a daily, weekly basis, the way you follow-up on the commitments is about acting like one family working towards a greater inspiring goal with set for ourselves’’.
Some companies have a wide range of standards that address, for example, good conduct, meetings, decision-making, verbal communication, e-mail exchanges, and management processes. Each company is unique and has different needs. So, the possibilities for establishing standards are as boundless as our imaginations. The important thing is to identify those that contribute to your organization’s success.
I suggest you conduct a team exercise to define your standards. As a team, share some good and not so good experiences that you have had. What worked and what didn’t? Go around the table and take notes on a board. Then, focus the conversation on how your team functions during the meetings, in terms of behaviours and decision-making. What works well and what doesn't? Pull together what emerged on the board. As relates to these elements, what behaviours might bolster the team’s success? Make a note of these elements, which will inform your standards. Review the potential standards and analyze which would have the greatest impact on the team’s success and which ones everyone is willing to respect. Based on what emerges from the review, draft standards and submit them for everyone’s review and revision so that they can be adopted at your next meeting.
Your team’s standards will reflect its context, business culture, values, challenges, successes, and stakeholders. Since these can evolve over time, it’s important that the team reminds itself of the standards on a regular basis and whenever the team welcomes a new member.
All that’s left for you to do is to stay focused on your team USC and objectives using the right benchmarks. Success is based on what you measure.
Benchmarks that only serve to reward or blame do not allow for constructive conversations. The challenge for effective management, is to identify key benchmarks related a company’s vision that provide an overview of performance. The disciplined monitoring of these benchmarks and, most importantly, the quality of the discussions that follow will confirm or invalidate the choice of benchmarks. Primarily, indicators inform team discussions and strategic interviews that are essential to the company.
Nicolas says: ‘’KPI’s must be relevant, meaningful, they have to create panic or chaos if dropping. Focus on leading indicators, predictors of revenues vs revenues itself. Most of the time the indicators have to do with consumer behaviours. You have to be obsessed about understanding consumer behaviours, that’s what you will measure, how are they acting and what signals are they sending to us?’’
You are now ready to write down your team contract to achieve your goals! Here is an example to inspire your process.
Last but not least, let’s recognize and celebrate team progress, small victories and big successes. Savouring and sharing our passion with our teams is how we nurture energy! I personally enjoy celebrating with my team on a weekly basis asking them in our team meetings : what do we celebrate this week? What are your successes? Nicolas shared: ‘’When you drive transformation, you drive huge cultural change, to get people to anchor a new culture, you have to celebrate the small and big wins and make visible every single success’’.
And I ask you, how do you frequently acknowledge small and big wins? What is the impact for your team?
As always, I invite you to be inspired and inspire!
President-founder of o2coaching, Author, Speaker and Coach
For more information on the topic, I invite you to listen to my Podcast Empower your Team with Nicolas Gaudreau, Brand builder, C-level executive, corporate director, teacher working as Chief Marketing Officer at Sail. In this episode, Nicolas shares his passion towards leadership, bringing his authenticity and empathy to the micro, explaining the importance of having a clear and compelling purpose and a disciplined execution.
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