Team Tools – the Upper House List

Team icon copy

A simple brainstorm wasn’t enough for this team.

Before they could agree their new ways of working, they first wanted to know all the areas in which they had choices. Their hard work created a new standard that we’re calling The Upper House List, named after the hotel in which red10 consultants Gavin Simpson & Will Sudworth worked with them.

Could your team benefit from exploring these 11 excellent topics that they defined?

  1. Frequency

How often will we meet? For geographically diverse teams, how often will we meet virtually vs. how often will we meet face-to-face?

  1. Sequence

Is there a key meeting or event such that it would be smart to schedule gatherings to be just before (to prepare) or just after it (to make decisions based on the new data)?

  1. Duration

How long will our meetings be? Would short breaks help to keep our productivity high?

  1. Location

Where will we meet? Can we make it our special place and put materials up on the walls?

If we’re meeting virtually, will those on the same site cluster together or will they all sit at their own desks? We’ve got some great advice for virtual teams in a previous article here.

  1. Chair

Will the leader chair the meeting, will we rotate it, or do we want someone with special skills to chair every time?

  1. Secretary

Who will take notes? What sort of notes – a full description, a concise summary or just the decisions and actions?

  1. Attendees

Who’s invited?

What’s our policy on special guests, e.g. do we have an assigned sponsor? Do we want to invite others for agenda items only if it is really needed or is it something we want to do as often as we can?

Do team members find a deputy if they can’t make it? If so, what are the principles on briefing/debriefing them?

  1. Quorum

How many need to be present for the team to be able to make a decision on behalf of everyone?

  1. Agenda

Are there any standing agenda items that the team want as prompts every time they meet to keep their “drum beat” going? Perhaps on strategic priorities that the team scoped together?

Are there less frequent meetings with set items? Is there an annual cycle they need to support, e.g. budget setting in November, performance reviews in December?

  1. Artifacts

What data does the team need at its fingertips? E.g. budget vs actuals, resource allocations, talent management plans.

Where is the team storing these so that they always have access to the same version?

  1. Communications

Do the team intend to communicate regularly from their meetings? If so, who will do this, what will be communicated and how?

Please let us know if there’s any other areas that help your team with their ways of working, and we’ll add it to the list.

3 Responses to Team Tools – the Upper House List

  1. Jane Sommers-Kelly August 10, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    Very helpful – appreciate the sharing. Practical yet usually not agreed up front as a team, so can clear the paths for increased collaboration on everyone’s terms, not just the leaders. As Teams become more and more decentralized – maximizing HOW and WHY they work is increasingly important to our clients’ performance. Thank you for sharing Will and Gavin. Jane Sommers-Kelly, NC USA

  2. Will Sudworth December 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

    We’ve added a 12th to this list now – courtesy of a team working on this.

    12. Observer

    Team member nominated for that meeting to give feedback – either at the end or afterwards by email – on how the team held to their norms. They look to catch the team doing things right and for fine-tuning so that the team keep learning

Leave a Reply