launch a new team

Team Launch


This series of short posts explores more deeply the Nine Team Moments that Matter when you, as a team leader, may need to pay extra attention to the needs and performance of your team. We identified these moments by blending our review of the research into high performing teams and our more than two decades of working with teams as internal and external consultants / coaches. new team is formed

Moment 2: Launch a new team

You have done the preparatory work in forming your new team, and it is now time to launch or breathe life into your team. When team members first come together, the most pressing piece of business is to get oriented to one another and to the work of the team. This need not be a grand event and should be appropriate for the type of team and context within which it is operating.

I have supported teams on 3-day launch events as well as teams coming together for only a few hours to complete complex piece of construction work at a refinery. Regardless, there are a couple of basic elements that need to be included.

What to include in a team launch

At any launch it is important that people know who is on the team and the role each person plays. What skills or expertise does each person bring (role) and what will be delivered (responsibilities). I often use a mix of the ‘story of self’ and professional timelines for this.

The team may not be fully clear on what is the work they need to do and the context within which they must operate. Here I have used a range of exercises as simple as a presentation from the team leader, a video from the CEO through to more complex transformation or transition maps.

The team needs to rally around the team purpose that was previously developed, usually in draft, by the team leader. It is critical that the team has a shared understanding of why they exist and what is the unique purpose of this team. If working with a leadership team, I encourage them to consider what are the purposes of the teams they lead and the interconnectedness between the various teams.

We also get into the nuts and bolts of how the team will do its work. Again, building on the design thinking around required behaviours for success, I ask teams to turn this into practical, visible examples of how this would show up when working as a dream team and what might be the red flags that they are slipping backwards. We also look at how and how often the team will meet, what format, will minutes or a decision log be kept, if virtual cameras on or off, under what circumstances is it ok not to attend a team meeting etc. Making these as explicit as possible during the launch reduces the chance to misalignment later on.

does a launch need to be an event?

Now, the word launch here is a bit of a misnomer. A team launch may be a series of steps or smaller sessions. A team may also need relaunch if the work, purpose or context of the team changes. This will be a topic for a future Team Moments that Matter post.

What ever format your launch, this is the moment create cohesion, focus and commitment from your team. The more prepared you are as team leader, the better the quality of your launch and the sooner your team will have impact.

Tool tip: launching your team

As mentioned above, if a team is coming together for the first time, or there are a number of new team members, it is good to spend time to get to know each other.

Two exercises that I have used are the following:

  1. Personal Play Book – each person completes a slide (can also be done using Miro / Mural) that shares with the team their strengths and triggers when working in a team.
  2. The “Me & Teams” exercise is great to do if you are all together. Each person is again given a list of questions to answer about themselves and teams. I love doing this exercise sitting outside on the grass or under a tree. 

You can download templates for the two launch exercises by clicking on the download button.

Are you about to launch your team?

Send us an email or set up a call and we would be happy to explore with you how to launch your team so that it has the impact you are looking for. 

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