Team Agreements

When I talk about self-organization in my team, skeptics often say, “In a large organization it’s hard to keep agreements, because there will always be people who will not take it responsibly and will be a bad example for others. I have a way to solve this problem. When people ask me this question, the first thing that comes to mind is this phrase

We are not afraid that in our company they will learn and leave, we are afraid that they will not learn and stay to work with us. I read this saying in the book “Discovering Future Organizations”, which changed my beliefs about the team.

How to apply

We don’t worry about anyone leaving. We just work. We show where we do it from, where we do it to, and why we do it, and we give tools. We give an example to those people who are able to do something good. We give an example to the teams that inspire us. Those who do well we give more resources and opportunities, help and support.

People who “fall out” of the process and don’t adhere to the agreements are identified during the performance review.


Read about how they do performance reviews in Silicon Valley at this link


The team gives specific feedback, and the person has to either change if they want to work, or leave if they don’t want to do anything. It’s a natural process. If someone leaves, that’s fine, too – we won’t waste any more resources on an ineffective person.

We don’t fire people. But if a person decides to stay after a bad review, he will have to do something specific: raise his awareness and responsibility, clearly comply with everything he agrees to with the team. 

By the way, a person who doesn’t abide by agreements isn’t necessarily a bad person. He may have other wonderful personal qualities. They just don’t fit the job in our context. 

When the team is built in such a way that everyone either abides by the rules or leaves, no additional effort is needed to control.

Trust

We trust people. So the important task is to be able to tell where the company is coming from and where it is going, how we are moving. To tell so that people who come to us believed and lit up with the idea. And they believed not because we deceived them and they were naive, but because they were imbued with the truth, which involves the founder and the team members who have credibility in the team. It is very important that everyone who is able to keep the arrangements, be an example, believe in the mission and know how to communicate it to others.

If everything is arranged clearly, you just have to wait. The context itself will make it so that people, even those who came with skepticism and doubts, will still get on the bright side and work effectively and develop. People will come in and replace those who didn’t want to abide by the rules and agreements. It’s like a detox team.

Detox

What is detox? It’s a renewal of the gut flora. How does it happen? All bacteria and toxins are first removed from the body, and then the clean space is repopulated with new bacteria. The more good bacteria there are, the less room there will be for bad bacteria.

Another prime example is from the movie “War of the Worlds Z.” One person saved is minus one zombie.

It’s the same in a team. The atmosphere within the organization affects people and people inspired by that light want to move on and maintain the right context. 

How to find the right people

Another important skill for supporting context is matching the right people.

Each new person must initially fit certain team principles. 

And in order to formulate these principles, you have to ask the team for help. 

Give the team a task: “Recall a situation when you were working in a team and you were doing great, you were in the general flow. Describe that situation.”

After each team member gives their description, ask, “Who was around you at that time, how did they show up, what did they do specifically?” Again, allow time for an answer.

Directly ask, “What were the principles on this effective team that you followed?”

These are the principles that help your organization grow and the team stay in the flow and be effective.

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