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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

T—Teamwork—Getting Off on the Right Foot

Finding the right combination of people for your team is a critical first step to success. Here are some principles that can act as your guide:

  1. Include people who

    • have an understanding of the issues;

    • have time or, more realistically, will make the time;

    • have the power to make the changes;

    • have different perspectives on the problem;

    • have quite different personalities, so that they complement each other.

  2. Recruit a facilitator. This person will be recruited from a neutral area of your organization. She will run your meetings and help to keep you on track. She typically knows nothing about the technical side of the project, and so can focus her energy on

    • ensuring a positive group atmosphere;

    • planning and conducting excellent meetings;

    • ensuring that the group is on target in meeting its commitments.

  3. Restrict membership to between six and twelve members. If you have too few people, members may be swamped with work and fail to meet their commitments. On the other hand, if you have too many people, it will be difficult to develop a sense of cohesiveness and belonging.

  4. Get a clear mandate — preferably in writing. The mandate should come from a senior manager and clearly state:

    • the problem the team is to tackle;

    • whether the team is to

      • make recommendations only;

      • solve the problem;

    • the dollars available for discretionary spending;

    • any other parameters, such as the team's ability to hire consultants, outsource any business operations, and so on.

  5. Develop a plan. Identify

    • where you are now;

    • where you want to be (the goal);

    • what roadblocks will prevent success and how these will be overcome;

    • key milestones on the path to ultimate success.

  6. Develop a code of conduct. The group members should participate in this exercise and agree on five to ten principles that will guide their conduct towards one another. For example, we agree to

    • be open and honest with each other;

    • make meetings a priority;

    • be supportive of each other;

    • meet all commitments undertaken;

    • keep discussions within the group in confidence.

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