One of my highlights at work in 2019 was taking the team through a Team Brand exercise. This is a culture definition team activity that I learned from a previous role. It is based on a simple premise: What words do you want other teams to use when describing us?
Team culture fascinates me but it often lives as a vague affirmation that “Yes, we want a good culture”. How does that translate into meanigful behaviours and actions? I've found that the Team Brand exercise is one possible approach. This is what the team collectively came up with over several months of team meetings (minor tweaks to remove some names):
I asked people's opinions afterwards and everyone agreed it was a worthwhile effort because we have articulated how the team wants to operate. More importantly, the team took ownership of those values because they defined it themselves. It was not a holy decree commanded down from high above the organisation chart. Having said that, it should still align with the wider company's vision and values. We're all moving in the same direction but we've decided how we want to get there.
Here's the summarized version of the Team Brand exercise, which should happen over multiple sessions to allow for thoughts to gestate and evolve. However I have also managed to run through an end-to-end example during a 1 hour talk.
- Brainstorm words that you want to hear, when other people describe our team.
- Talk through the qualities and start grouping similar ones together.
- Do a prioritisation exercise to pick the top 3 or 4 groups of values. I recommend a variation of the Silent Grouping Technique that ranks values instead of sizes them.
- For each top-level heading, discuss 3 or 4 types of behaviours that we will portray in order to embody those values.
- Take a break before the final step!
- Review the values and statements again for a final opportunity to rephrase and re-order.
Reach out to me via LinkedIn if you would like to learn more in detail!