How to Restart a New Team

Published: June 14, 2016

Whenever you add or subtract a member, you have a new team. Depending on the role and profile of the transition, the change can be significant. To minimize the impact, most teams try to keep as much the same as possible. Let the new members join the old club. The healthiest teams recognize the window of opportunity to re-anchor mission, values, and engagement. Here’s how:

  1. Acknowledge what has been lost. Take stock in the team’s history and harness the gains of the current state.
  2. Refocus on the new circumstances shaping the team’s future state. The movement from the expression of pain to problem-solving is energizing.
  3. Inventory the team’s strengths. The delicate blend of talent dovetails differently with the change in membership.
  4. Clarify mission, values, and culture. Transitions are ideal times for challenging team norms.
  5. Enlist a commitment from everyone. Words and behaviors are the only true measures of accountability.

Healthy teams are always evolving. Usually, the changes are subtle. Occasionally, the shift is powerful enough to warrant a reboot. Seize the moment. Whether in a retreat or a strategic plan, bring the players together and walk through the exercise. Acknowledge. Refocus. Inventory. Clarify. Commit.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst College where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.