Establish Team Norms

Using the Design Thinking type and SuperPower, create some ground rules, or team norms, with your team. They should serve as guidelines for how you will work as individuals and as members of a cohesive team. We've provided some suggested points of discussion below.

Time Needed

30 minutes

Establishing Team Norms

Discuss your thinking preference results with your team members. Are you each in your own box or are you clustered around one area? Having this information will help you identify where your team’s strengths lie, and also where you may need to call on other types of thinkers later on.


Discuss your SuperPower. Why did you pick it? How do all of your SuperPowers come together to form a SuperTeam?


Discuss how you will work as a SuperTeam. What do you notice? How might your team’s strengths impact your collaboration and work? How will you make decisions and mediate conflicts?


Assign roles. Based on what you know about your teammates, align on roles and responsibilities.

  • Project Leader: If you began the project, you are automatically the project leader. You are responsible for keeping the team on target, tracking progress of activities, and entering your work into the platform.
  • Documenter: We recommend having a person responsible for taking notes, pictures, videos -- anything that helps capture and tell the story of your project as it unfolds.

Examples of Team Norms

Here are some examples of norms we like to use:


Listen. It’s not about showing off your expertise, but rather tapping into everyone’s personal base of knowledge. Everyone is equal in the process.


Speak up. Sometimes being polite holds back the team. Respond honestly but constructively. Ask clarifying questions if you don’t understand concepts.


Turn conflict into an area of exploration. If there are conflicting points of view, this means that there is some further exploration that needs to be done. Take note of the different perspectives and figure out what is needed for consensus - more information or time to reflect. Sometimes debate can actually stimulate ideas.


Build on each other’s ideas. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so if someone else’s comment sparks an idea, contribute your thoughts! Think of saying “Yes, and...” instead of “Yes, but...” to a teammate’s idea.


Keep an open mind. We all have our own assumptions. Forget what you know and look at teammates’ suggestions with new eyes. Experiment!


Critique ideas, don’t criticize individuals. Learning how to critique effectively makes us better communicators and collaborators. Have a discussion about how each team member gives and receives feedback in order to have constructive communication.


Think about context. Remember to consider both your in-person and online interactions. The tone that comes across in a face-to-face meeting may not come across in an email or text message.


Anticipate challenges. Focus on what your team will realistically face, like unexpected faculty meetings or a tough day with a student. Instead of reacting to these events at your own meetings, what can you do to actively get every team member on the same page? Do you need back up meeting times or a few minutes at the beginning of a meeting to check in on how everyone’s day went?

Guiding questions for team norms

The following questions can guide your discussion:

  • What previous team experiences have you enjoyed? What were the characteristics?
  • What previous team experiences haven’t you enjoyed? What were the characteristics?
  • How do you like to receive feedback?
  • How do you like to give feedback?
  • What will be your process for making decisions?

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