In many teams, fundamental questions of cooperation (Who? How? When? Where? Why?) are part of the culture in the form of unwritten rules. Individual ideas about seemingly trivial matters such as punctuality or linguistic etiquette often differ significantly in diverse teams. Research & development teams can define explicit rules of conduct in the form of clear dos and don’ts in the form of a “team contract”. An essential element is that all team members jointly agree on the team contract and endorse it. The results must then be displayed in a prominent place within the team’s workspace.
The team contract can help overcome intercultural differences, establish a healthy culture of feedback and discussion, and increase team members’ feelings of psychological safety. This enables members of different diversity groups to contribute their diverse perspectives and express their opinions without fear, even if they differ from the (perceived) views of the (presumed) majority. An open team culture prevents misunderstandings and wrong decisions and ideally contributes to a constructive resolution of underlying conflict potentials. In this way, a team agreement can improve the quality of cooperation and create favorable conditions for innovation.