Making Norms The Norm: How to Create a Team Operating Agreement (TOA)

In a virtual team setting it is critical to have guidelines for how your team is going to work together.  These guidelines are called a “Team Operating Agreement”.  A Team Operating Agreement defines the set of behavioural norms that the team commits and agrees to abide by. It guides the team’s actions and interactions. Geographic, ethnic, personality and cultural differences can impact the effectiveness of how individuals and teams act, interact and operate. Creating a Team Operating Agreement will minimize the potential for conflict, and increase open communication, which will help strengthen your virtual team.

At the end of the session participants will be able to:

  • Identify what we need from our leaders and team members to work more effectively together
  • Streamline communication and reducing conflict
  • Discuss how a Team Operating Agreement can help foster collaboration
  • Discuss how to obtain by-in from team members
  • Describe a seven-step process to creating a Team Operating Agreement
  • List key strategies to will hold people accountable for the Team Operating Agreement
  • Create a safe environment for team members to express their concerns

Post Assessment Survey: Making Norms the Norm 

Two months after the creation of the Team Operation Agreement, a survey will be conducted to assess the extent to which the items of the TOA have been followed.

If portions of the TOA have not been adhered to, a meeting will be scheduled to help the team renegotiate the TOA and secure a version that everyone can agree to.


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    Virtual Team Builders is a training and consulting company that caters to corporations and teams who depend on effective virtual collaboration to succeed. Our training is targeted towards the unique challenges faced by teams operating in a virtual environment; challenges that are present whether members work 90 feet apart or 3000 miles apart.  Read More

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