How to align your team before the brainstorming session

During this exercise, we'll focus on three key aspects; expectations, goals and criteria.

Team size
Include everyone that will be involved in the session. If your team is extensive, try dividing them into smaller independent groups and conclude with a common goal.

Time
Between 15 to 60 minutes. It depends on the importance of the session and the aligned your team is already.

Introduction

It's important to clear some key points before you start a creative meeting. An aligned team will perform better than others that didn't prepare for the ideation workshop. The simple reason; they will all push for the same goal.

It's important everyone in the team speaks up and feels listened, so make sure they all have time to participate.

Set up

Grab some pen and post-its. As an alternative, everyone can bring their notebook.

Steps

1. Explain to everyone why you are doing the exercise and the importance of having a clear common goal.

2. Ask all team members to take 5-10 minutes to answer the following questions individually and in silence;

- What do you expect from the session?

- What do you think is the goal of the session?

- How would you define a successful session?*

* You can clarify this question explaining that they can say things like "finishing on time with a clear conclusion" or "having a good feeling".

3. When the time is up, ask everyone to share their notes with the big group. Encourage members to ask questions if they have doubts.

4. Finish the meeting by grouping the most common answers. Write this list somewhere visible (an online document, whiteboard or piece of paper) and keep it for the rest of the session.

Conclusion

With this simple exercise, you'll have your team warming up before the session and sharing some key points that will help them perform better together.

It's very common that teams think they are working towards the same goal, but the truth is, we might have very different things in our heads. By making members reflect individually and share later on, you'll be able to spot differences and similarities.