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WoW - this is how we do it

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Creating your team Ways of Working (WoW) principles involves establishing clear guidelines and expectations for how team members will collaborate and interact with each other.

Here are 9 tips for creating effective team Ways of Working (WoW) principles:

1. Discuss how the team is living your organisations values: Start the conversation by asking how people feel about the way they are working together at present. Encourage everyone to have a voice in the conversation. Display your organisations values and ask the group to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 10 on how well they are living the values. Ask for examples where the group have demonstrated the values in their work together.

2. Discuss how well the team is working together: Ask what is working well across the team and share examples. Ask how the team can improve the way they work together.

3. Define what is above and below the line behaviour: Using the values discussion and the what is working well discussion, brainstorm with your team their views on above and below the line behaviour. Above the line behaviour refers to behaviour and communication that demonstrates your organisations values and positive ways of working together as a team. Below the line behaviour refers to behaviours and communication that are opposite your work values and negatively impact the way the team works together. Define the team’s above and below the line behaviour.

4. Illustrate above and below the line behaviour: Share examples or scenarios where the below the line behaviour negatively impacts teamwork, psychological safety, and work results. Share examples where above the line behaviour helps teamwork, encourages psychological safety, and supports quality services.

5. Clarify responsibilities: At times, below the line behaviour occurs because not everyone is clear on who is responsible. Ask the team to discuss roles and responsibilities – who does what in the process of delivering results. Make sure that each person understands what is expected of them by others in the team.

6. Set expectations for quality and timelines: Sometimes below the line behaviour occurs as the expectations on quality and deadlines are unclear. Ask the team to share their

expectations about quality of services. Discuss their criteria for urgent work. Discuss their expectations of what happens when things cannot be delivered on time. Overall, ensure your team have clarity on quality of services and timelines.

7. Create a visual of the above and below the line behaviour: To reinforce the agreed

behaviours it helps to create a visual diagram or poster that everyone can see when meeting

together. The visual can be something you display digitally on computers or in staff areas.

8. Establish decision-making processes: Define decision-making processes for the team, including how decisions will be made, who will be involved, and how disagreements will be resolved.

9. Define communication channels: Establish clear communication channels for the team, includinghow team members will communicate with each other, how often they will meet, and how team meetings will be conducted (Refer to the blog on chairing meetings with psychologically safety).

10. Encourage collaboration and feedback: Encourage team members to collaborate and share ideas and establish a culture of feedback and continuous improvement.

11. Review and revise as needed: Regularly review the team's ways of working and revise them as needed, based on feedback from team members and changes in the project or team dynamics.

Having an agreed set of Ways of Working (WoW) principles helps improve a team’s

engagement, productivity, and work satisfaction.

Creating a team’s Ways of Working (WoW) principles requires establishing clear guidelines and expectations for how team members will collaborate and interact with each other.

By defining above and below the behaviour, responsibilities, communication channels, quality expectations, decision-making processes, and encouraging a culture of collaboration & feedback, you can establish an effective and productive team dynamic.

For coaching or team workshops on this topic:

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