Establishing Ground-Rules


Key Messages

Establishing team ground-rules or protocols makes it clear how we will work together.


The team has an agreed set of ground-rules
Ground-rules assist the team to work well together
The idea of sharing views and differences is established as routine.

Look first at assumptions about people and teams, then discuss opinions and finally work out the ground-rules or protocols for the team.

Ask team members to read each statement on attached Worksheet and mark whether they agree (A) or disagree (D).

If the team is together:

Ask the team to form groups of 3 or 4 and discuss their individual answers and then reach consensus on whether they agree or disagree with each statement. Allow 15 minutes
Facilitate a discussion with the whole team to develop a shared understanding of the:

    - Rules that are commonly agreed

    - Areas of disagreement and why

Lead the discussion to reach agreement by consensus on the ideas the team wants to incorporate into its ground-rules. You might ask each person in turn to write one ground-rule he/she feels is important onto a flip chart.
Ask the team to consider whether there might be useful ideas other than those listed on the worksheet. Add them to the flip chart.
As a team, discuss the entire list, eliminating or changing any item until you reach consensus on a list of ground-rules for the team.

If the team is not together an alternative method is to:

Explain the task
Ask individuals to suggest ground rules (use the worksheet as a prompt)
Collate all responses
Ask individuals to identify all items they agree with
Collate a list of all agreed rules & put it out as a draft for comment
Gain consensus.

Get a copy of the agreed ground-rules to everyone.

Put up a big version of the ground-rules whenever the team meets.

Worksheet: Establishing Ground-Rules