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Team Charter Guide & Workshop

A Team Charter is a shared document that clearly states the direction and purpose of a team, while also establishing clear boundaries and norms. It acts as a group artifact that helps define the way your team works together, whether remote, hybrid, or in-person.

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It will help define the way your team works together and is the first resource to provide to new team members, as it sets clear expectations from the start.

It’s incredibly important to develop this document as a group in order to promote understanding and encourage buy-in. This should NOT be a solo activity that you complete and then present to your team.

Why are clear expectations so important?

Because culture happens – whether intentionally or not. Whether remote, hybrid, or in-person, certain beliefs, behaviors, and rituals emerge in every work environment. This is true for your company as a whole, but also for each individual team.

At Want To Work There, we refer to these smaller team subsets as microcultures.

Creating a team charter is the perfect opportunity for your team to collaborate and design the intentional culture you’d like to build, instead of just allowing it to unfold as it does.

By the end of the Team Charter exercise, your team will be able to confidently define:

  • Our Team Why

  • What We Value

  • Behaviors We Reward

  • Behaviors We Avoid

The time requirements are around 2 days, but the workshop itself lasts about 3 hours, if you're sticking to the agenda and everyone's engaged.

Step by step Team Charter process

  1. Create a pre-workshop survey

  2. Introduce the concept of Team Charters to your team and distribute the survey.

  3. Compile and review all survey responses.

  4. Create a rough draft of the Team Charter.

  5. Share the draft and collaborate with the team on suggested revisions.

  6. Finalize the Team Charter and store in an easily accessible place.

Facilitation tips

Practice using the "even over" statement. This is about clarifying that two things could be important, but that we value one thing over the other.

Examples include:

  • We value done even over perfect.

  • We value star teams even over star players.

One size doesn’t fit all teams. Consider your current team and what facilitation style would elicit the best feedback. Sometimes you have varying levels of extroversion on your team and it might make sense to have team members submit answers via a form before engaging in a discussion.

Remember, it’s a work in progress. Just like a software update, remember that this is Version One and nothing is written in stone. This is always something you can come back to and update.

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