Ever wish you had a “secret sauce” for catalyzing cohesive team productivity? According to the
Harvard Business Review, one way to help create effective teams is by establishing “team

Team norms are a set of agreements about how group members will work with each other and
how the team will function overall. These agreed-upon behaviors allow the team to increase its
collective performance through healthy debate, clarity of purpose and roles.

Benefits of Team Norms

Apart from effectiveness, there are other advantages of utilizing team norms. For example,
establishing team norms can help your employees “be clearer about each other’s intentions,
increase trust, save time, decrease backbiting and politics, and set a clear operational compass
for the rest of the organization,” according to the HBR article.
Another interesting and exciting benefit of team norms is that they are contagious. When
employees see management acting according to their own guidelines and succeeding in their
projects, they are likely to emulate the behavior in their own teams.

How to Establish Team Norms

How can you create your own team norms? HBR suggests the following steps:

  • Contemplate successful norms. Think about what norms have worked for you in the past. Rather than “reinventing the wheel,” identifying what norms have worked in the past will likely be a good starting point for establishing successful practices for the future.
  • Convert norms into behaviors. Next, take these precedents and break them down into individual behaviors. Keeping norms tangible is key for successful implementation.
  • Choose five norms. Although there will likely be many norms that have worked for your team in the past, only choose five. A larger number of norms can be difficult to adhere to, especially in a variety of situations.
  • Construct a plan. A recurring timeline and action item plan will be crucial to help implement the norms. Make sure each member of the team has a role and everyone is aware of the objectives.
  • Create an accountability system. Making sure the norms stick will involve mutual accountability on the team. In what situations will “straying from the norm” be most likely to occur? What will happen if a norm is not followed? Having a plan for accountability helps people feel empowered to stay the course.

Creating team norms does not need to be overwhelming. However, having someone to help you
identify your norms and guide you through the process can make the experience more efficient
and helpful.

Next Steps for Your Teams

If you want to implement team norms, contact Boston Business Growth. We specialize in the
Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) and will be more than happy to help you construct
team norms.

Helping executive teams find their “secret sauce” is part of what we do best. To get started,
contact Boston Business Growth today.