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team charter
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leadership skills
all ears
piece of paper
first meeting
code of conduct
good time
motivation
twenty years
boss
health care
Teambuilding: The Six Parts Of A Good Team Charter
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After a team has been formed one of its first functions should be to develop a team charter. A team charter is a collection of papers that provides motivation and purpose for a team as it tackles its job. I have over twenty years of successful senior leadership and entrepreneurial experiences in health care, and I have found that a good team charter can focus and motivate a team to extraordinary success. Below is a narrative that will provide the components of a good charter.

I was in Elliott's office again. He is my director of rehabilitation. Some time back, I had worked with him on his leadership skills, but today I was in his office discussing the value and parts of a good team charter. He had put together a team from several departments to tackle the challenges of decreasing the time that new total joint patients stayed in the hospital. They had only met once.

"So, how's it going?" I asked after we swapped our usual lies about our golf games.

"Good," he said. "I think."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, I met with the team, and we had our introductory meeting. Everyone introduced themselves. It was pretty informal, you know, as the group is forming and feeling each other out."

I nodded.

"Basically all I did was provide them with a copy of the code of conduct that I want us to follow as a team."

I nodded again.

"That was it for our first meeting," Elliott said. "Our next meeting is tomorrow, and I am not quite sure how I should start with the next meeting." He paused and looked at me.

"This would be a good time to have them work on your team charter," I said.

"Team charter? You mean a set of papers that defines the team?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered. "It should have six defined parts. It will ensure that your team has focus and continued motivation."

Elliott took out a piece of paper and pen. "I am all ears, Boss. Let me have it."

"The first element is to have a compelling business case," I said. He wrote this down.

"The business case should describe what the project team is doing. In your case, trying to reduce lengths of stay on total joint patients well preserving high quality care," I said.

Elliot continued to write, nodding his head as he went.

"It should," I continued how your project team is going to affect the business objectives of the organization."

"It will save money and resources, while preserving quality care," Elliott interjected. He scribbled even more furiously.

"Exactly," I responded. "You will use the business case as a motivational tool. It tells why the project is worthwhile and it should explain the consequences of not doing the project now."

Elliott looked up, "We will continue to lose money on our total joints," he said.

I nodded. I waited until he finished writing and looked up. "The second part of a good charter is the problem statement."

Elliott again began to write.

"The problem statement should," I said," be specific and measurable."

"Number of days and cost," Elliott said not looking up from his paper.

I nodded and continued," It should tell how long we have had the problem. It should describe the impact to the hospital. It should describe the gap between where we are now, and where we want to be. Finally, you want to use neutral language."

"I can answer these right now," Elliott said, "But it would be better if the team addressed them, right?"

"Yes," I answered. His pen was posed, so I continued, " The third part of a good project charter is to define the project team's scope. These are reasons that the project could fail."

"By identifying them, we minimize them?" Elliott asked.

"Yes." I answered. "Project scope should first define the boundaries of the project. We want that well defined. A focused group is likely to be more successful."

Elliott nodded and wrote.

"Next your project scope should really be defined by the team leaders or champion, which in this case is you." I said. "We do this to minimize the chances for scope creep."

"Scope creep?" Elliott asked.

"Yes, that is when a project expands outside of its boundaries and tries to bite off more than the project at hand," I answered. Elliott nodded.

"The fourth part of a project charter is to establish some goals and objectives. We have data on how long our total knee patients are staying in the hospital now, but we don't know how we can get really. I would start with some generic goals of 25 to 50 percent improvement and as data comes in define them more clearly."

Elliott finished writing. "Is that it for goals and objectives?"

Yes," I answered. "The next part of the charter is to establish some realistic milestones. Each goal and objective should have its own milestones to keep the team focused. Since this is the first team you have led, and it is the first time many of the group have been on a team, we would expect things to take a little longer. It is the usual for first time team leaders".

"As the group gets forming and storming, right" Elliott said looking up from his paper.

"Yes," I said. "Which brings us to the last part of a team charter, roles and responsibilities. Describe the project team champion's duties of allocating resources, removing roadblocks, and identifying the team. You have already done that one, but identify it as a role anyway."

Elliott nodded and continued to write.

"I will attend the meeting," I said. "Not to overshadow you, but to let them know my role is as coach for you. We should ask the hospital's quality director, Cecelia, to come as well. Her job is to set the strategic tone for the project team."

Elliott nodded again, noting to call Cecelia. "That's it," I said.

"That's it," Elliot said. "So let me review. There are six parts to a good charter."

"Yes," I said.

"They are the compelling business case, a problem statement, the project's scope, goals and objectives, realistic milestones, and finally clearly defined roles and responsibilities," He said.

"Yup. Sounds like you got it," I said standing up.

Elliott nodded. "I can't wait. I think this will really help focus the team and keep us motivated."

"If done right, it should," I said. "I will see you tomorrow. I am looking forward to watching you lead this team to greatness, Elliott."

"Thanks, Boss."

"No," I said. "Thank you. No further questions?"

"Nope," Elliott answered.

"Then have a good day," and I left.

Thanks for reading.


Street Talk

I find your narrative format an entertaining, easy read, yet informative. Am I alone?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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