When Your Norm’s Not The Norm

04 03, 2018
Not the Norm

Collaborating with others can be great. Whether at work or for fun, I love myself a good group of minds to bounce ideas off of. Each one brings a unique set of expertise and perspective to the table that can help make an ordinary idea extraordinary.

But what about those few that hold you back? The scatterbrained friend that forgets to book the venue for a surprise party you’re planning together, or the work colleague that always shows up 20 minutes late for your meetings in sweaty gym clothes?

While you might not always be on the same page, setting common expectations or “norms” within a group can create an open environment where you feel comfortable to call each other out on any behavior that’s disruptive or negative. Sample norms could include something as specific as “meetings will start when scheduled with or without all group members present”, or something as loose as “there’s no such thing as a dumb idea”.

Ideally, your list of norms should be established as a group in your first meeting but flexible enough that the group can continue to add to it as needed. Keep in mind that something you think may be a no-brainer might not be for everyone. Does a meeting start exactly at the time it was slotted for or are people able to chat off-topic for the first 10 minutes while they settle in?

How you call each other out should also be agreed on. Do you make the culprit do 20 pushups? Recite a haiku? Does the team shout out NORM next time someone walks in to a meeting 10 minutes late? If you stay accountable and keep each other on track, you’ll have more time to create extraordinary things together!

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