Do you use Team Charters to kick off your alliance or new alliance initiative?
What is a team charter? It is the Cliff notes of what is important for your alliance. It summarizes the vision, key objectives, and value proposition(s). A charter defines and documents the measures by which you judge success. It establishes the values and operating principles that drive collaboration and set expectations of constructive behavior. (Yes unfortunately, many people don’t know how to play nice.) And it identifies the key players and stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities.
When everyone is on the same page – This is the Page!
The very process of developing the charter builds trust and creates alignment. Through discussion and collaboration in developing the charter each partner becomes aware of the others needs, interests, and intent. Hidden agendas and unspoken expectations begin to emerge and can be addressed so that they don’t become landmines in the future.
We recommend that the team charter is created early in the alliance formation process, even before you have a contract! It sets out the basic premise for the alliance and begins to align stakeholders even as you begin the negotiation process of who is committing what resources to the alliance. Along with a business case summary, the charter can serve as the top sheet for the alliance business plan or an executive summary.
As most alliances managers will attest, alignment is not something you do at the beginning of an alliance and then it is done for all time. Were it only so! Gaining alignment to an alliance vision is a constant an on-going process. And so the team charter is a useful tool to help establish initial alignment and to go back to to refresh memories on what was envisioned as well as a starting point when the alliance needs to be rechartered to address a new future.
Check out the sample of a Team Charter in our online Tool Box.