Values Make the Team

Teams don’t become great overnight. Help your teams lay a solid foundation with values that inspire, motivate and empower them.

by Kris Blake

Ask anyone, and they will tell you that they want a team that is high performing…but what does that mean exactly?

What characteristics are you looking for?  Do you want a team that is committed to team success and is driven by collaboration and consensus? Are you looking for a team that thinks they can solve any problem? Do you want a team that trusts one another and helps bring out the best in each team member?

I’ve definitely worked with teams where these things were not the case.

Often, teams are spun up quickly in order to solve a problem, without anyone taking the time to help the team come together around a common goal and common team values. They bump along, getting work done, but probably not with the speed or quality that is expected. These teams typically end up “in trouble” several weeks in, because the team isn’t producing or accomplishing as much as they had hoped. Many times, tension between team members is starting to rear its ugly head.

You see, this happens because these teams really aren’t teams at all…not yet. They are still just a handful of individuals with individual goals, plucked from different organizations or specialties, and smashed together with the expectation that they will magically gel together and immediately start producing great results.

There are no magic potions or quick fixes to make your team high performing, but you can help them lay a solid foundation with team values that inspire, motivate and empower them. The five simple values are:


We commit to do the best we can for our team and our goal, every day.


We will focus on doing the work that we have committed to doing.


We are open about our work, our progress, our learning and our problems.


We show respect for people, their experience and their opinions. We respect each other’s skills, expertise and insights.


We show courage in sharing all possible information that might help the team and the organization. We have the courage to try new things and to change direction if it doesn’t work out.

A great time to introduce these values to your team is at the initial formation of the team, but it’s never too late to strive to be better together. When a team adopts these five simple values, and trues back to them when things get hard, you will see them start communicating more openly, sharing ideas and building upon one another’s strengths. They start to trust each other and believe in their collective power to smash through problems.

Go ahead…have the courage to try something new!

Kris Blake
Kris Blake
Senior Consultant & Agile Coach
Contact Kris

Related Articles