Putting a Team Together - First Steps

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Meade

Once you have put together your own supportive personal safety network (see story below), organized what you might need and want in your life, and asked to be part of this network, a time will come to look at reaching out to form a team to help with some change or challenge that comes up for you or someone you want to help.

Sometimes you or those in need of help are cooperative and capable of enlisting aid from others. Sometimes, though you or they need someone else to take a lead role in organizing this team or network. A spouse, child, sibling or friend can step in to serve as leader whether asked, appointed or hired. At this time, asking for help is the first step.

The next two steps are to set ground rules (such as: keeping information from the meeting confidential, not using personal money, honoring limits, time, endings, and being respectful) and to set a working vision to reach clear and sustainable solutions.

Step four is to create a plan of care or assistance, and to break down this plan into a list of manageable tasks which need to be prioritized to match available skills, information, and individuals. Encourage people to start small by taking on only one or two tasks to begin, and then expand their role as is comfortable to build on success, and help avoid burnout. Don't let anyone promise too much!

To help your team get organized, you can try various websites like lotsahlepinghands.com, wiggio.com, caringbridge.com, whocanhelp.com, or use an old-fashioned calendar or letter. The important thing is that each person knows what is going on and how important their task is to the whole. The group should plan for what will happen if someone can't or doesn't handle a scheduled task: someone will need to cancel or won't come through - at least one time. It is important to know when tasks are being done, by whom, and who is the back up.

Before you have a change or challenge where you would want a team to support you, think about and honestly answer these questions for yourself: what do you like to do for others; what do you do well; when are you generally available; are you likely to be a good leader for your own team, or for someone else's; and can you take care of yourself by setting limits to what you say "yes" and "no" to?

With answers in hand, you're on your way to success!