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31 Days to Becoming a Better Leader


Day #19: Team Performance Covenant



Making covenants is an expression of a faithful heart; Keeping covenants is an expression of a willing heart. – Bonnie D. Parkin

What a covenant is:

Merriam-Webster: a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties, especially for the performance of some action

It’s important to create an operational profile of how team members function within this particular leadership container. To set up this process, ask team members to think about another group they were a part of, and to think specifically about what challenges they experienced in that group, such as how they wasted time, what set up conflict, whether each member had a chance to weigh in on ideas if it was a safe place to disagree, or other factors causing dysfunction or limiting effectiveness. They can also identify systems or customs from other teams that worked really well. It’s important that people have a vision of how they work together that’s specific to the team, and that we don’t assume anything is normal. Each team has some different patterns.

Here are my process steps for creating a team covenant:

  1. Start with each team member making an “I promise…” statement.
  2. Share the statements with others by posting.
  3. Look for common ideas that can be combined.
  4. Transcribe the list and walk away for a few days.
  5. Reconvene and review the list.
  6. Ask if there are any points that everyone can’t agree on.
  7. Convert to “We promise” statements and transcribe. Attempt to limit the number of points to 10-15.
  8. Post the covenant points at each meeting and verbally review one by asking, “How are we doing with this one?”

This is different from the list of guiding principles. Principles are what we apply to decision-making. Covenant is how we function together.

Next: Day #20 – Meetings

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