Team dynamics will ultimately define your teams success. The process outlined in this guideline will accelerate your team's "getting to know you" process so they will become more productive with less time trying to figure each other out.
What this is
This guideline is designed to accelerate the "getting to know you" process among team members. It addresses possible methods and topics for information sharing, guidelines to help you decide when to do these activities and how much time to invest, and suggestions on how to leverage the information that results. Alternatives are included for different situations.
Why it's useful
When you start any new project, or add new members to an existing project team, time can be lost to the usual churn and confusion that results as people try to figure out how they fit in, how to work together, and the best way to contribute to project success. Some team members may even be told to show up with no idea what the project is even about!
People want to know who they will be working with and how to do that successfully. They need to know what key skill sets and areas of expertise are represented on the team, and where additional coaching or support would be appreciated. Taking even a little time to orient new team members will increase the team's overall confidence and achievement. Including customer representatives in these activities stresses their place as a valued member of the project team, and will pay huge dividends in collaborative problem solving later in the project.
In addition to the obvious skill-based and knowledge-based benefits, getting to know other team members on a personal level helps build trust and respect. It also gives more introverted team members a chance to get comfortable speaking to the group before make-or-break project decisions are on the line. Getting active involvement from everyone during the team kickoff also sets the expectation that team member contributions are expected and essential during meetings.
How to use it
Jeff Richardson has over 16 years of experience working with cross-cultural project teams and leaders at Global 1000 companies, high-tech startups, and universities in the US and Japan. Jeff wrote the book on project team startup at a Fortune 50 company while facilitating 34 internal startup programs and supporting M&A process integration efforts. He relocated to Silicon Valley to start his own consulting company specializing in leading cross-cultural project teams.
Jeff's engineering and OD background and his skill at designing high-impact teambuilding activities allows him to create engaging and relevant workshops and webinars. He has worked in the US and across Asia with globally diverse companies like GE, Cisco, Hitachi, Toshiba, and many others. Jeff was one of the lead designers for Stanford's Advanced Project Management Program, in addition to designing and teaching project leadership programs at San Jose State and UC Santa Cruz Extension. More recently, Jeff has been designing and facilitating Global Leadership and Team Effectiveness workshops at some of the most prestigious universities in Japan. Jeff has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a MS in OD & Change Management, in addition to a CQ Certification from the Center for Cultural Intelligence.
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