Your team charter, written as a team, defines who you are, what you do, how you do it and who has what responsibilities for each and every project and task you will take on as a team.

Following is a recommended agenda for the meeting during which you will write your team charter – a document that will excite and motivate your team. Distribute your draft copy ahead of time so team members have time to develop their own thoughts and ideas and take ownership of the final product.

Part I (morning session):

  • Develop your team charter. (Prepare a draft before the meeting to save time and subtly let your team know what your priorities are.)

    The key components of your team charter will include:

    1. Context – why the team was formed

    2. Mission and objectives – what the team will do, its measurable goals

    3. Composition and roles – what each person will do to support the team mission

    4. Authority and boundaries – priorities, conflict resolution, budget, what activities require prior approval

    5. Resources and support – people, equipment, training, coaching

    6. Operations – meetings, benchmarks

    7. Negotiation and agreement – among team members when just forming the team or with your “client” for a new project

  • Be sure everyone understands the difference between collaboration (working together as a team) and competition (working individually against each other) and that collaboration is the name of the game.

  • Introduce and stress the importance of operating in a “learning culture” (the broadest possible sharing of information).

  • Achieve consensus that your ultimate goal is improving results for your customers, internal and external.

Sidebar: Surprise each team member with a nice planner as a gift just before the lunch break. Explain that a major purpose of these planners is for team members to jot down new ideas any time, anywhere they occur.

Part II (afternoon session):

  • Lay out your first project and objectives. Ask several different people to repeat back the key points to ensure everyone understands. Stress the importance of the project to the organization’s overall goals. You might delegate (ahead of time so she has time to prepare) part of this agenda item to a team member who has experience in and a thorough understanding of the task at hand.

  • Brainstorm ideas for ways to approach the project, prioritize the necessary steps, align the team, etc. Be sure everyone participates in the brainstorming session. If anyone hangs back, draw them out to be sure they understand their role and how important it is to the whole project.

  • Clearly specify the composition of the team and outline the responsibilities and roles of each team member for this and succeeding projects/assignments.

  • Jointly agree on success measurements. Incorporating benchmarks along the way is a helpful and visible way to accomplish this.

  • Give your team members all the time they need to ask questions. Clarity at this juncture is absolutely critical!

By the end of the day, you will have a team charter that will serve as your roadmap going forward. You will be exhausted but jubilant – and you will have a team that will do you proud!