Norms, or ground rules as they are often known, are the “rules of engagement” for team members. Norms tell you how you are supposed to conduct yourself as a team member. Teams establish ground rules because if they don’t, norms will develop anyway, and some may be counterproductive.

For example, people often tell me, “Our meetings always start late.” What they have just told me is that an informal ground rule about showing up on time has developed and people are living by it. So, the preferred course of action is to establish a set of positive rules that you want to live by.

Norms tell each member of the team that you are expected to act in a certain way. And if we all live by these rules, there is a good chance we will ...

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