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Every business has a desire to grow. Growth is what results in more customers, more products, and efficiencies in how work gets done.
Businesses grow by striving to continually improve internal operations.
For instance, let’s assume you have a small retail store. To grow your business you will strive to continually improve how your employees interact with customers. To improve the customer experience, you will need to perform consistent training and monitor how employees interact with consumers.
Organizations that aspire to improve their systems and processes often form teams to work on improvement efforts.
An improvement team for the above example might focus on learning ways to make a memorable and positive shopping experience.
Successful teams are driven by directives of the organization and are steered by a Team Charter.
What Is A Team Charter Statment?
According to High-Performance Teams, a team charter statement is “a written document that defines the team’s mission, the scope of operation, objectives, time frame, and consequences.”
Organizations that spend the time to develop a team charter and purpose statement can help ensure team support and resources are available.
For instance, teams often need financial resources to support team efforts. A charter statement will be shared with the team sponsor and help to ensure the necessary resources are available for team activities.
A charter helps clarify support and resource allocation from management.
This formal document legitimizes the team’s efforts and supports the team so they can accomplish what they are charged to do.
6 Building Blocks of a Team Charter
1. Purpose Statement
Successful teams understand how what they do affects how the organization performs. Team members have a clear understanding of their responsibilities in helping the organization succeed.
The purpose statement explains why a team exists and how its charge lines up with the organization’s global goals.
For example, “The purpose of the customer satisfaction improvement team is to improve customer satisfaction scores for ABC Corporation.”
This simple statement provides the team with a goal. Specifically to improve how customers experience their products and services.
2. Mission Statement
A mission statement clarifies what the team’s responsibility is.
Every team has a very specific mission that is articulated through its mission statement.
For example, “The mission of the Customer Satisfaction Improvement team is to identify customer expectations and develop a plan to improve the customer experience.”
This mission helps the team focus on learning. The team’s charge is to determine what customers want and to develop a plan to ensure customer requirements are met.
This may be accomplished in any number of ways including customer focus groups, satisfaction survey data, or customer comment cards.
Regardless of the source, customer feedback is crucial in determining improvement efforts.
3. Scope of Operation
The scope of the operation details the boundaries and parameters that the team operates within.
The team needs to understand the boundaries in which they work. These boundaries provide team members with parameters for collaborating and getting things done.
For example, “the customer satisfaction improvement team solicits feedback from all customer groups and develops tactical steps to improve the customer experience.”
This scope of operation helps the team understand the boundaries and parameters that they are working in to learn about the customer experience by acquiring and studying customer feedback.
4. Team Objectives
The best way to achieve team objectives is to put measures in place.
The objectives of a team should be tied to very specific and measurable results.
These objectives should be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the team 6 months or a year down the road.
For example, “the customer satisfaction improvement team will increase customer satisfaction by 10 points within the next 12 months.”
This measurement will allow the team to determine if their efforts worked. In this example, the team should see a customer satisfaction score increase by 10 points within a year.
Goals and objectives need to be time-based.
The team needs to have very specific time frames for achieving what they were charted to do.
The time frame for any team project should be clearly defined so the team understands the deadlines and urgency for completing their commission.
For example, “the customer satisfaction improvement team will solicit customer feedback, create an improvement plan, implement improvements, and measure effectiveness within a 12-month period of time.”
This timeline helps the team understand the urgency in staying on task and working toward the measures in team objectives.
There is a cost to chartering improvement teams. Teams utilize work hours to work on team projects.
Sometimes there are financial resources used as in the example of collecting customer feedback. Each of these costs the organization valuable resources.
Chartered teams use organizational resources and the team should be held accountable for producing the results outlined in the team charter.
There should be very specific accountability outlined in the document so team members understand the importance of their commitment to the project.
For example, a team may have a celebration once the team’s objectives are met. Or the performance appraisals of team members should highlight team successes as well as where the team did not meet objectives.
Very clear expectation communication helps team members understand the rewards and the consequences of not achieving its mission.
Teams Are How Work Gets Done
Organizations use inter-departmental teams to get work done by drawing on the unique perspectives of each team member.
This diverse group of people can help the organization achieve results by working together to achieve an objective.
These crucial newly chartered teams need to understand why the team exists, what they are charged to do, the time frame by which they need to accomplish the tasks – as well as accountability for meeting team objectives.
This very clear communication and process on the front end of chartering a team can help prevent miscommunication issues throughout the team process.