A team culture firmly based on a cooperative value system will prevent many team problems from taking root from the outset. For example, hiring the right employees becomes less subjective. If you look for the applicant best suited to fit into the team’s culture based on past cooperative performance, you will have useful criteria for choosing new employees.

In the same way, look at your present team members in terms of their values demonstrations as compared to the ones your team has adopted. The stronger the match, the stronger your team’s dynamic. When personal values do not line up with your team’s culture values, problems arise that must be addressed sooner or later. The values that match and values that diverge predict the strengths and weaknesses of your team.

Dianne Crampton, founder of TIGERS Success Series, uses the acronym TIGERS to present cooperative values she encourages teams to adopt when looking for high functioning group behaviors. In her book, TIGERS Among Us – Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive (Three Creeks Publishing, 2010), she includes case studies of extraordinarily successful businesses that demonstrate the cooperative values daily in how the company treats employees, employees treat one another and how the company and employees treat their service base or customers.

The following are examples of ground rules Teams have developed from the TIGERS cooperative value system:

  • We will always do what we say we are going to do.
  • We will always request permission before we use another person’s things.
  • We will neither cheat nor steal.
  • We will try our best to be predictable and consistent.
  • We will always strive to do the right thing.
  • We will be transparent in our dealings with each other.
  • We will keep confidences.

Teams that attend to procedural guidelines with ground rules like the ones above experience more cooperation and less conflict than those teams that leave procedures to chance.