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Using Ground Rules

Ground rules, or group norms, are used to set an agreed-on level of behavior that guides how the participants will interact with one another. Although some teams have worked together for some time and have established their own functional, unspoken ground rules, I have found that most groups benefit from a deliberate process of identifying in-bounds and out-of-bounds behavior. Over time, ground rules can help a group become self-correcting. Group members will begin correcting themselves on the basis of the norms that they have established and reinforced.

Sample Ground Rule List

1. Everyone speaks


Constructive meeting behavior is an acquired skill. Establishing ground rules, and gaining commitment to them, can encourage effective meeting behavior and help you refocus the group when meetings start to get off track. Learn an efficient process for involving meeting participants in developing ground rules. Also review a short case study to understand how applying ground rules during a meeting will keep it moving in a positive direction.