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Starting a New Team

Teams follow a predictable pattern when they start up, whether they are a wholly-formed new team or a team that simply has a new member.  They want four questions answered: Why are we here? (which speaks to the team’s purpose)

Reflecting on Experience

One of the most important yet least practiced phases of any project is reflecting on the experience and what it can teach. Especially in today’s hectic business climate, by the time one project has come to an end, we are already engaged in the next. However, taking the time to reflect on lessons learned can have a significant impact on future performance, both for you and your organization.

Lessons Learned

Taking the opportunity to “close-out” with a project team when work is complete is an important but often underutilized phase in a team’s life cycle. It helps individuals move quickly and productively from one team to another, and organizations record and transfer knowledge that teams accrue. The methodology used to collect the lessons learned for a given project will depend largely on the size and structure of the team involved. Whatever the approach, here are key success factors for a robust “lessons learned” session.

Executing On Priorities

Recently, I was attending an executive team meeting which was focused on the team’s organizational goals for the coming year. After the leader outlined the day, one of the team members quipped, “So we’re going to spend today prioritizing all of our goals, and then still execute against everything.” Though delivered jokingly, the remark clearly has its roots in experience and speaks to one of the biggest challenges to execution: a lack of organizational and operational discipline.

A key element of team effectiveness rests in the deliberateness with which teams attend to their social construction. Paying particular attention to the formation and dissolution of teams allows its members to come full circle: getting quickly up to speed at the onset, while sharing knowledge and achieving a sense of closure at the end of the team’s work together.

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