A lack of clarity about purpose is a major cause of team problems and failure. The first team meeting should be used to establish the purpose of the team. The team leader should present relevant background information such as the forces and conditions that led to the decision to launch the team, the business challenges the team will address, and the ways the team and the organization will measure progress toward the team's goals. The team also needs to know the deadlines for accomplishing its work, what resources are available, and any challenges or constraints it faces.

Successfully setting purpose and direction for the team at the first meeting and beyond hinges on several factors:

A team's first meeting should define and ...

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