7 Questions Every Group Needs Answered

During the early stages of every new group—a committee, a staff project team, a board, et al—a handful of basic questions are on everyone's minds.

They are not particularly sexy.
They are not particularly challenging.
They are not difficult to answer.

Yet they often go unasked and unanswered, essentially inhibiting the ability of the people who have come together to do what caused them to convene.

That's a huge missed opportunity.

So the next time you bring together a group of people, make sure your conversations answer the following:
  1. What are we here to do and how does it fit with other efforts?  Clarify purpose and overall strategy.
  2. How will we know we are successful? Explore key metrics and feedback opportunities.
  3. Who’s here to do it (basic background info), what can they contribute, what are their interests, how to they engage?  We don't trust people we don't know.  Help us get to know each other.
  4. How does work usually get done?  Review structure, processes, systems, personal initiative.
  5. What agreements do we need to make with each other?  Calibrate individual preferences with group and organizational needs.
  6. What relevant “insider” info do I need to know? Help orient me to the existing culture.
  7. What should I do between meetings?  I'm here to work.  What should I do besides showing up for meetings?
Want to go to the head of the class?  Share all of this info prior to the first meeting being convened.  Or better yet … as a part of the recruitment process to make sure you are attracting the right candidates.

This orientation shouldn't be tedious and complex, but it should be done.  Consistently.

What other core questions would you add to this list?