GUEST BLOGGER: Stace Williams, Executive Coach & Facilitator
When team members can articulate your brand, you'll see increased focus, alignment, and inspiration. A solid brand statement answers some big questions like these: What does your team really do? What is your team known for when you’re operating at your collective best? Whom does your team serve? What is the unique value that your team adds for them and the business?
A clear and compelling Team Brand Statement allows your team to…
- Coalesce proudly around an impactful, concise statement of mission and identity.
- Represent yourselves to those you serve and your organization as a whole.
- Differentiate your team from every other team.
- Inspire each other with an aspiration grounded in reality.
Here are a few brand statement examples:
- We combine our decades of practice, knowledge, and wisdom to deliver learning experiences that equip the business leaders who are our key customers to thrive in times of change and uncertainty.
- The Oncology Clinical Protocol Team helps patients prevail by applying best-in-class developments in science and medicine to early stage clinical trials that yield valuable new insights.
- Our track record of success over the past five years and our skilled, approachable people make the Business Analytics Team the first choice for finding answers to complex and important questions that enable business results for our colleagues and customers.
Team Brand Statements are simple to create if you and your team are willing to invest some thought, engage in dialogue, and experiment freely. There’s a straightforward process numerous teams have found helpful. It works best in four phases:
Phase 1: Set the Context.
Start with a team discussion (in real time, either face-to-face, via teleconference, or using a combination of both) about brands and brand statements. Explain what they are and what they can do for your team.
Phase 2: Ask for Individual Reflection.
Close the team discussion by giving everyone a copy of the Team Brand Statement Worksheet (separate fillable PDF). Instruct team members to take time over a period of several days to reflect on your team and to answer individually each worksheet question.
Phase 3: Develop Your Team Brand Statement.
Bring your team back together for a focused work session. Each team member should have their completed worksheet with them. Plan to spend up to 30 minutes, and use the following process:
1. Work on one Brand Statement Worksheet question at a time. For each question:
- Ask each team member to share one word or phrase from their response to that question. Record each response in a shared document, on an electronic board or flip chart, or on individual sticky notes.
- Call on each member in turn. (Repeat until all members’ responses have been shared.)
- Group related responses to identify themes for that question.
- From the themes, use multi-voting to gain consensus for the top 3 responses.
2. Once you have a consensus response for every worksheet question, allow a few minutes for each team member individually to draft a Team Brand Statement that incorporates the consensus responses.
3. Share each person’s draft and record it where it is visible to all. As one person shares, ask others to note what resonates with them, what’s most impactful, and what’s missing, but DO NOT have team members share their feedback just yet!
4. After everyone’s draft has been shared, ask the team to call out from their notes the phrases that most resonated and that were most impactful. Also ask what important elements were missing, and record those the group agrees are vital to include.
5. Work together to combine these phrases into a single statement. Encourage the team to experiment. Keep the conversation upbeat and focused and remind the team that it’s not important that the draft be perfect—it’s a starting point.
Phase 4: Test and Refine Your Team Brand Statement.
As you close your work session, instruct team members to share the draft Team Brand Statement with others in your organization. Ask them to discover what resonates with others, what’s most impactful, and what is still missing. At your next team meeting, spend a few minutes sharing the feedback received, and adjust/refine your Team Brand Statement as needed.
Regardless of the outcome, working together to create a Team Brand Statement gives every team member a chance to be heard and to contribute. Teams often find this process stimulating, challenging, fun, and enlightening. Equipped with a shared Team Brand Statement, your team will be able to see more clearly which efforts are truly important and aligned with who they are and whom they serve. The result will be improved focus and stronger pride, both of which can get and keep your team running smoothly.
1 Sincere appreciation to Mark S. Smith for his thought leadership. Find out more in his book, Distinctions: 52 Lessons in Leadership, available from your library, bookstore, and online retailers.
Team Brand Statement Worksheet
Instructions: Think about our team and answer the questions below. Don’t worry about what you think others on the team, including the Leader, will say for each question. Instead, answer from your own authentic point of view, and be prepared to share in a team discussion.
- What are the values that describe this team best? Think about guiding principles that the team seems to live by. Choose up to three.
- What are the strengths of this team when we are at our best? List up to three of our top areas of knowledge, skill, or expertise.
- Whom do we serve? Think about the most important consumers of the product we produce or the service we deliver. Describe our key customers as briefly as possible.
- What value do we add? This is about our impact on the business. As you think about whom we serve, consider how we use our key strengths and what those we serve are then able to do as a result. Record below the unique value we add for our key customers.
Please share your team's brand statement in the comments below!
Stace Williams is the Founder/Principal Consultant at InterActive Dynamics, LLC. Her firm is devoted solely to one purpose: Developing Leader Excellence. Stace is a consultant, executive coach, facilitator, and instructional designer who has 3 decades of practice serving organizations on 5 continents. Motivated by her own experience as a failed leader early in her software-development career, Stace brings her passion for leadership and learning to every engagement. You can find her on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stace-williams/7/280/885]