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Building Teams- The power of Values

November 9, 2012

I wrote several times on the importance of a team to find their common ground, their beliefs, the so called Team Values, so crucial if you want to grow a Team.

Today I’m diving in for a new perspective on these.

Things change. Daily. Every hour, minute and second. And Business changes with it.

This has been a well debated topic on the community, specially on Agile community and by now we all agree we are no longer cogs of machinery, parts of production systems which can be engaged and disengaged, triggered and fined tuned, no longer we are just human flesh feeding the production lines.

Nowadays companies are made of creativity, thoughts and feelings. Emotions drive business. You can’t, ever again, expect a stale output. You can’t never guess the result of an equation where humanity is a multiplier. What you can though, is drive the energy. Create the time and space for people around you to unleash their potential onto your production system.

First thing I learned: you can only drive those who want to be driven. There’s a saying for this: you can take the horses to the water but you can’t make them drink.

So, for those who want to drive people onto the same goal, you still have a lot to do before hand. And that starts with uncovering and sharing values with those in same quest.

Setting up common values it’s tricky, but here’s what I’ve tried:


First step : Discuss what is important for each one of you.

People, as unique beings, have different perspectives on stuff and of course (Bless us all for that) have different values. Different profile, dreams and a different perspective on what success and happiness mean.
As a starter you can use a simple exercise that will make everyone reflect on what is really important for them as individuals. It’s called Moving Motivators, conceived by @jurgenappelo (you can download the material and read about it here).
You’ll be amazed how people organize these cards, and my advice is: do it yourself too. As a coach, team leader, scrum master, manager, whatever: do it also. First, you are part of the team so you all play by the same rules; second, you need to know what you stand for. And don’t discuss other people motivators. Just listen and embrace uniqueness. Again: we are not and we don´t want to be, or want others to be, just machines, or endless clones. We want creative, unique people.

Second step: Agreeing on a set of values

So now that you all know what’s important for every person, let’s think as a team. What’s important or us as a team? Where do we want to go, achieve, be?
Reflect on this and together create your common set of goals. It’s not always easy, because again different people value different stuff, but when we all find what drives us individually, we can brainstorm how can the team as a unity help us achieve this. And there we find our common ground.




Third step : discuss again and again: communication has always been the key

Every time you do a pit stop with your team, review the values. Go through them and ask yourself and the team: are these still OUR values? are these really what we want?
You know, sometimes we misinterpret what we want, sometimes we really don’t know (check here the Orders of Ignorance).
Plus, even if you hit the sweet spot in the first time you d this exercise, you should review it either way , because as things evolve, you may want also to add more values.



The fourth step is the most difficult: Honor your values, always.



No matter how hard it may be in a certain situation.


Always Honor your values.






See ya!

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From → Agile, People, Scrum

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