In addition to the prerequisites previously mentioned, successful teams emphasize the importance of an organized infrastructure to support the work. This section discusses tools that facilitate ground rules for meetings and effective meeting processes, including use of agendas and discipline for documenting the work.
Ground rules are a code of conduct for meetings. This is particularly important for Quality Improvement Teams as members should participate equally, regardless of the hierarchical role they may have in the delivery of care. Putting these rules on the table in the beginning facilitates the team dynamics by making the expected behavior explicit. Typically, ground rules are discussed and agreed to early on at an initial meeting of the team. Again, there are no required ground rules, but these are examples of those that teams often adopt: (5)
Having a well-defined meeting process helps the entire team focus on the important meeting tasks.
In order to have an effective team meeting, the team leader should develop a meeting agenda that uses the above steps. Every team member should have a copy of the meeting agenda and agree with its content.
It is very important that the meeting agenda include the time that each agenda item will begin. The team leader estimates the amount of time for each topic when preparing the agenda. The ability to estimate the time improves with practice. Using the ground rules, the team members should agree to adjust the time whenever necessary to accomplish their goals.
The team leader can develop a template in Word or Excel for the meeting agenda based on the following sample:
Creating a record of the outcomes and actions from each meeting is a vital part of the team communication process. Unlike keeping detailed minutes of a meeting, the following form identifies three key components of this record:
The easiest way to prepare a record is for the team leader to make notes on his or her agenda related to each outcome, action needed, and improvement. Some of the information can also be collected from the items recorded on the flipchart by the recorder during the meeting. The following model works well for a record. The record should be distributed to each team member within several days after the meeting, so that team members are reminded to follow-through on the action items.
Even with clear guidance and an organized approach, difficulties may arise within a QI team that has a negative impact on the work. There are several resources available that provide insights into common situations within a team, although discussion is beyond the scope of this module. The number of successful QI teams is a testament that leadership support, a clear focus, and the tools to perform the work, enable most teams to overcome their challenges and achieve their aims.
|Team Building||This Web site compiles important concepts on motivation and team building.|
|Effectively Managing Team Conflict [PDF | 154KB]||Successful managers can effectively manage conflict. This ability is considered a core competency and required for leaders who want to grow and advance their organizations.|
|Teampedia||Teampedia is a collaborative encyclopedia of free-team building activities, icebreakers, teamwork resources, and tools for teams that can be edited.|
|SWOT Analysis Template [PDF | 42KB]||This a template for guiding the team's analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT).|
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In summary, an effective team includes members with diverse thinking styles, approaches, experience and knowledge. Diversity can support creativity through various viewpoints. When people with varying viewpoints, experiences, skills, and opinions are tasked with a project or challenge, their combined efforts can far surpass what an individual can achieve.
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