Use the Team Canvas to get your team aligned on what matters
Merissa Silk, Head of Product at fundingport
You’ve just taken a role as a team lead. While most leaders double down on setting clearer goals to rally the team, this is only half the picture. The underlying elements – like values, strengths, and behaviors – are what you really need to address to bond and perform as a team.
But what if you’re rushed for time? Here’s where the Team Canvas comes in handy.
Set up a 2-hour call and get your team set up on a virtual whiteboarding tool like Miro. Use the template - get it in the deep dive section.
A few tips: • Add stickies for each section and give 2-3 for each • Encourage adding green and red dots for things they agree and disagree with.
Now let's go through a few prompts for each section:
Ask everyone to jot down their name on a sticky, and what role(s) they play in the team. They can think metaphorically, adding things like “cheerleader”, “coach”, and “peacemaker”.
Ask them: • What do we want to achieve as a team? • What are your individual goals or personal missions you’d like to share?
This is the “why” behind our goals • Why are we doing what we’re doing in the first place? • What gets you out of bed in the morning?
• What do we stand for as a team? • What are our guiding principles? • What values do we want to be at our core?
Give them time to write down what values matter most in how they do their work.
Write down answers at an individual and team level for: • What makes us excel and outperform? • What hinders us?
• What do we need from each other to be successful? • What do we personally need from the team to be at our best?
• What rules can we agree on? • How will we communicate and give feedback? • How will we share risks and make decisions? • How will we reflect on how we’re doing?
After going through these categories, you’ll have a much better sense of what matters most to your team. Go box by box, and ask everyone to share their thoughts or feelings about what’s written down – especially if there are red dots.
To close the session, ask:
• What were your biggest realizations or a-ha moments? • What do we want to hold ourselves to moving forward?
Upload to a tool like Confluence or Notion so it lives with other team processes and documents.
In the next 2 team meetings or retrospectives, ask everyone to take 5 minutes to review it, then ask: • How are we living up to the Canvas (what examples do we have)? • If we’re not, how can we change the Canvas or make an action plan?
Repeat this exercise with new joiners, or when there are significant team changes.