Creating an Effective Team Process
Most of us have learned the key elements of effective meetings. We know there are ways to improve our meetings but we don’t always practice these skills. Item 5 on the Minnesota Team Checklist prompts the team to think about setting up meetings for success. Before moving forward with the planning process, take some time to think about how your team will use these key elements of successful meetings.
Elements of Successful Meeting:
- Schedule regular team meetings,
- Recruit a staff member to facilitate the meeting,
- Create an agenda that outlines what will be discussed,
- Ask one team member to be a time-keeper to help the team cover all the topics listed on the agenda,
- Make sure meeting minutes are recorded,
- Keep a file that stores the agenda and meeting minutes,
- Work together to set guiding values for each meeting, and
- Create clearly defined roles for people on the team.
There are many resources available to teams interested in improving meeting effectiveness. The Module Two Resource Page includes helpful ideas to guide effective meetings.
Please use the MN Team Checklist and the HCBS Planning Tool to complete the activity.
Checklist Item 5: An effective meeting process is in place including agreed upon roles (time-keeper, note taker, facilitator), agenda/meeting minutes, and an action plan.
Talk to your team about the key elements of an effective team meeting. At each meeting, type “yes” or “no” to assess whether these items are achieved.
If you haven't already done so please use these links to access the tools.
How to set Guiding Values
Guiding values are the social expectations that team members describe as important. The best guiding values or ground rules are stated in a positive manner. They include examples of behaviors that teams value and that best reflect their values and cultural norms. Some people do not like the term “ground rules” because it sounds negative or judgmental. Guiding values may be a more positive term to describe this activity. However, most people know what the term “ground rules” means and will understand the activity.
Team members represent different cultures and often value different types of social behaviors. Giving teams a chance to share what is important to each person provides a way to explore diverse views about what it means to respect another person. Because all team members have been involved in the process, they are more likely to meet team expectations.
Use the following steps to guide an activity for creating team expectations:
- Schedule 15–30 minutes at the beginning of a meeting to talk about the team’s guiding values.
- Ask each team member to share what they believe creates a successful meeting.
- Use consensus to help the team decide what is most important to them (invite team members to agree on each expectation, then prioritize or vote on the top values).
- Write the team’s agreed-upon guiding values on flip chart paper or white board. Then review to make sure each value is clear.
- Include the guiding values on the agenda for each meeting.
Teams that successfully use guiding values observe meetings and assess whether the team is engaging in positive social behaviors. Use the following steps to make sure the expectations discussed are used in meetings:
- Make the list of guiding values available and visible to everyone (add to the agenda or use a poster or another prompt to remind people of the values in each meeting).
- Review progress using the guiding values after each meeting by highlighting an example of when each value was used that day or reflecting on the meeting overall.
- Assign a team member to watch for and count or write examples of the positive social behaviors observed.
- Ask team members to complete a short survey for each guiding value at the end of the meeting.
Each team’s guiding values will be different. Teams may also have different expectations for meetings, whether they are in-person meetings, conference calls, or webinars. Here are examples of teams’ guiding values:
- Arrive on time or early.
- Stay for the whole meeting.
- Attend all meetings.
- Inform the facilitator as soon as possible if you can’t attend or will attend in an alternative way (e.g., Zoom, phone).
- Actively participate in discussions.
- Listen to each other.
- Stay on topic to make sure time is used wisely.
- Give everyone the opportunity to speak.
- Give people time to share their thoughts.
- Be aware of how much time you are taking to share your ideas and give people a chance to build on these ideas.
- Turn cellphones to vibrate or silence. If there are exceptions, state them clearly.
- Use breaks to check for phone messages.
- Ask for help or offer help.
- Be ready to report on the work you have signed up to complete.
- Bring a positive, “can do” attitude.
- Use neutral hygiene products to help others who are sensitive to chemicals.
- People speak for themselves and share their ideas.