Start Your New Team Off on the Right Foot

Use the Team Canvas to get your team aligned on what matters

Cross-functional Teams
Team Morale

Inspired by:

Merissa Silk, Head of Product at fundingport


Start Your New Team Off on the Right Foot

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.

Running a Team Canvas Session

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:

1. People & Roles 🧑‍🔧

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”.

2. Common Goals & Personal Goals 🎯💭

Ask them: • What do we want to achieve as a team? • What are your individual goals or personal missions you’d like to share?

3. Purpose ❤️

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?

4. Core Shared Values 💎

• 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.

5. Strengths & Vulnerabilities 💪👻

Write down answers at an individual and team level for: • What makes us excel and outperform? • What hinders us?

6. Needs & Expectations 🙏

• What do we need from each other to be successful? • What do we personally need from the team to be at our best?

7. Ground Rules & Activities 📜

• 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?

💬 Reflect and review together

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?

🌱 Bring the Canvas to life

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.

Visual Summary

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