When we reach the end of any relationship, we start to regret the first step in that downward spiral. And in many cases, that could have been avoided if the parties involved had known to design a team alliance (DTA).
Close your eyes for few seconds and think of a person or colleague or partner with whom you had a mild conflict. How did you feel? What did you wish to do? What did you want out of this relationship? One common lesson learned from a conflict is what we wish we had said or did from the beginning – rather than what actually happened.
We are all aware of DNA, but fewer people know about DTA, and why it is important in our lives.
As coaches we learn that in creating any relationship within a team, with partners, within a couple or in a family, we must first openly discuss and set solid behavioral agreements. When designing the team alliance, it’s essential to begin to find alignment on the team’s purpose and set a variety of ground rules.
DTA is a very powerful tool to create culture, and to help each member be clear about what their responsibilities are in relation to that agreement.
For example, when it comes to teams in the workplace, what are the agreements in relation to accountability, punctuality, cell phones in meetings, making decisions and handling conflicts? These agreements are the behavioral expression of the culture the team wants to create and maintain.
Similarly, families are always designing behavioral ground rules and agreements, but may not be clear that this is what they are doing. Agreements about when and how to have dinner and how to have respect are a core part of the DTA for families.
So how to design your own team alliance, whatever team that might be. Here are questions to consider.
Below are six useful questions that will help you design a team alliance:
- What is the space or culture you want to create in this relationship?
- How do you want to feel? (For example, supported, happy, empowered).
- How do you want to behave together when things get difficult or when there is conflict? What conflict protocols would you like to create?
- What would help the relationship to excel and flourish?
- What can your partner/family/team count on from you?
- What will you each commit to for one another?
The DTA is not only a tool for better functioning relationships, but also events. For example, a company may create one around a meeting. A family might design an alliance for when a guest visits.
Regardless of what it’s used for, DTA is a living agreement that should be reviewed and updated as circumstances change.
Finally, it is critical that the DTA is printed and posted, where it can be seen by all members on a regular basis. A DTA is only effective if it is honored.
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