Flourishing Culture

The Importance of Group Agreements

October 8, 2019

I am a big believer in establishing ground rules. Coming to agreement on how you work together is a good practice, especially when it’s done before the work commences. It helps you get in front of potential conflicts and it gives you something to draw upon if someone is not displaying the desired behaviors. And these ground rules need to be more than an activity done and then shelved. They should become the “way you work.” So, you should post them in the meeting room, review them periodically and enforce them.

For example: Let’s say you have a group agreement that everyone speaks in a meeting. Should one person be dominating the conversation, the meeting facilitator simply says, “I would like to exercise our ground rule of everyone speaking and give others a chance to weigh in on the conversation.” The talkative person might not be happy with the interruption.  However, if your ground rules have come to define your meeting culture, she understands that she did not comply with a norm she agreed to and she yields the floor without a fight.

It’s time well-spent to establish group agreements upfront. It helps to minimize problems that you know will arise, which overtime could undermine your ability to be a flourishing, high-performing team.

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