Individual and Team Values Workshop (Facilitator’s Guide)
Many of us would like to operate as a high performing team. For those that have experienced being on a high performing team in the past whether in sports, business, or volunteer work, it is amazing and something to be cherished. There are many ingredients that go into a team operating in this way. One of those, is understanding each individuals values so that the team members can honor and respect their differences, and appreciate the similarities.
There is workshop I have found valuable (pun intended 😀 ) for understanding individual values on a team. It was inspired by a section in Lyssa Adkins great book, “Coaching Agile Teams.” Additionally in this workshop the team co-creates what they will value together. I have used this many times to success in moving a team towards high performing. But remember it is just one ingredient.
The best setting for the workshop is if everyone is co-located with flip charts, sticky notes, and sharpies. If not, then you can get creative with Google Drawings, or any other application/website that simulates a whiteboard and can be updated by all attendees. I used Google Drawings when half the team was in India and the other half on the East Coast of the US.
To start the workshop off, I typically say to the team how each individual comes from a different upbringing and may not value the same things that you do. We are going to get to know our team members better today by understanding what they value and then also co-create what you as a team are going to value.
To kick things off, each team member gets a stack of Value cards (see below). Ideally these are cut up into individual cards. Each team member is then given time to identify their top 5 values from these cards or value cards they add. To do this, I tell them to separate the value cards into two piles. One pile that is “important to me”, the other “not as important to me.” Then they take the important to me stack and do another round of separating into two piles again. They do this until they have only 5 values remaining. This is harder than you might think.
Next they have to sort their top 5 values in order of most important first. Once they have these identified they write their name on a sticky note with the values listed with the most important first. Then they place the sticky on the flip chart paper or whiteboard that the facilitator creates.
Once most of the sticky notes have been placed on the board, invite the team members to come over and review what their team members have posted.
Once all team members have placed their top 5 values on the board, ask a few thought-provoking questions and wait for the answers: What do these lists tell us? What here surprises you? Which would you like to understand more deeply? Where are we divergent? Where are we harmonious?
If possible transition straight to identifying the team values after the individual values because it has juices flowing. Here the goal is to identify what the team will value together. These typically take the form of statements that will go into the team agreement. Post these where they are easy to see.
Next I allow some silent brainstorming time for the team to write value statements on sticky notes. I encourage the more the merrier. Then the team votes on which statements resonate with them. They get 5 votes each. They can spread the votes across 5 different cards or place multiple votes if they really like one of the statements
Here is a sample of value statements teams:
- No task is too small
- Raise your hand for help after 30 minutes
- Sarcasm to the max
- Focus on the few
- Listen twice as much as you speak
- Stay present
This may take a couple rounds of tweaking of value statements. Of the ones that received the highest votes. I take the top 5-7 and arrange them in highest voted first order. I then arrange them, highest voted on top and then read each one and pause. Look for lots of head nods and even ask how it feels. I might ask a few more open ended questions and wait for answers. How do you feel about these statements? What might you tweak to make them resonate more fully?
As the facilitator you are trying to get to a point where you can feel the team embraces what is captured. You will feel it when it happens.
To wrap up the workshop, I read off the team value statements and thank everyone for their presence and contribution. I also tell the team that these aren’t set in concrete and we can revisit them at any time to make sure they reflect reality for the team.
Deepening each team members understanding of the others on their team and co-creating team values is but one ingredient to help get them to high performing. Good luck running this with your teams.
If you run this, I would love to hear how it goes in the comments section below.