During the norming phase, teams start developing an identity. This identity consists of norms, values and principles on how people want to work together. A very simple but powerful exercise is to have teams come up with a name for their team during the Kickstart. I usually ask pairs to come up with as many good names as they can think of, and then let the team dot-vote on the best name. Although picking a name is always useful to promote a team identity, it works even better when there are more teams close to the team’s proximity. Teams start taking pride in their name.
This naming-exercise works because it taps into something that social- and organisational psychologists call ‘mere group membership‘. People more easily associate themselves with a group if you give them something small to identify with. Especially when there are other teams close by.
I once coached two teams who picked the names ‘A-Team’ and ‘Team Bae’, respectively. Although not highly original, it didn’t take long for fancy posters with the name to appear in the rooms of the teams. ‘Team Bea’ then decided to decorate the poster of the ‘A-Team’ with the addendum ‘From A to B(eter)’. Another team I coached picked the name ‘Rubber Duckies’ after multiple rounds of heated dot-voting. A few sprints later the team got an actual rubber duck for their team room (a much larger one than the picture below). These are small examples of the power of picking a name for your team.
A fun exercise that I often do as an extension of picking a name is to have teams create a team poster to pitch their team to potential new members. Teams decorate the poster with quotes, imagery and slogans that exemplify their team. I provide the team with magazines, newspapers, lots of paper, pencils and glue and let them go at it. Its a great way to end the team building that is part of kick start (usually the second day) on a high note, while making them think about what makes them a great team to be a part of. The posters tend to end up in team rooms. Needless to say, we always have a lot of fun with this exercise
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