Team Design

Transformational Philosophy

Context Matters

Intentionally Designing a Team

What needs to happen?

  • Commonality — a team must have at least one thing in common, and ideally more. For us, that’s being on this team, working for this organization, and our love for Christ. How? I regularly emphasize why we are here and why we do what we do.
  • Cohesion—a team thrives when there is cohesion; not only do I have a relationship with each person, but they also have relationships with each other. How? I regularly encourage my team to go to each other first and then bring it to me. This has a bonus of reducing over-reliance on me.
  • Challenge a team must go through something together. That could be a gnarly project, team building exercises, a hack-a-thon. How? I schedule 2–4 hours each semester for design hack-a-thons that allows us to step outside of our normal routines and have fun together.
  • Culture—culture is often described as the indescribable; the water you breathe, however I’ve learned culture can be created by intentionally setting vital behaviors, rhythms and routines. How? I can’t sum it up in one sentence, so keep reading 😅

Creating Culture

Know Yourself

Meet one another

A diagram with each person sharing strengths of the other people on the team.
  1. I asked each person to fill in strengths and observations about each person on the team.
  2. We collectively decided on a superpower for each person.

Align the Team


  1. I wrote out our values and a spectrum for each person to place themselves on for where they believed we were. There was some agreement, but also disagreement.
  2. We then had a discussion on why we put ourselves where did and finding stories to illustrate our answers.
  3. We ideated on what might move us closer to our values.

Review our Rhythms and Routines

  1. I put together a table of what we currently regularly meet up for and asked a variation on Continue/Start/Stop
  2. I gave us some time to fill in the table
  3. We spent some time in verbal discussion and asking questions about what others put in

Ask what would help you in your work?

Create a new culture

Agreeing on what our Vital Behaviors were

  1. I gave us 20 minutes to fill in at the bottom proposals for how our culture should feel, what our vital behaviors are, and what our rhythms should feel like. These had to be clearly written so that we can hold each other accountable and includes an example behavior/action.
  2. We looked at each item and collectively improved it, then moved it up into ‘Yes’ if we all agreed on the final output. There were a few things that because of resourcing or time constraints we disagreed on.

Setting new Rhythms & Routines

  1. I gave the team a blank calendar
  2. I asked them to construct a weekly routine that would accomplish those 4 goals.
  3. I asked them to clearly describe what would happen in that routine.
  4. I left the meeting
  5. I came back and listened to what they proposed.
  6. I synthesized from everything we had talked about a new weekly schedule.

Keep it Going

Modeling what you want

Revaluate periodically

Final Thoughts

Bonus Learning:

Mood Meter

Roses, Buds, & Thorns

Challenge Bowl




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