Building Strong Teams: Defining, Onboarding, and Thriving Together

Cuong Duy Nguyen

Hatched by Cuong Duy Nguyen

Jul 15, 2023

4 min read


Building Strong Teams: Defining, Onboarding, and Thriving Together


Building a strong and cohesive team is vital for the success of any organization. However, many teams often overlook the importance of defining themselves and onboarding new members with their values in mind. In this article, we will explore four critical questions that every team should answer and discuss the significance of onboarding with organizational values in a hybrid or remote workplace. By incorporating these practices, teams can foster a sense of unity, purpose, and productivity.

1. Defining the Team:

One common problem that teams face is the lack of a clear definition. Without taking the time to define themselves, teams can become disorganized, misaligned, and less effective. To address this issue, Penn GSE Prof. Zachary Herrmann recommends answering four critical questions:

Question 1: What is our purpose?

Defining the purpose of the team is essential as it provides a clear direction and aligns everyone towards a common goal. By understanding their purpose, team members can better prioritize tasks, make informed decisions, and work collaboratively towards achieving their objectives.

Question 2: What are our values?

Identifying and embracing the core values that the team stands for is crucial for building a strong and cohesive unit. Values such as integrity, transparency, and inclusivity shape the team's culture and guide their behavior. When team members share common values, it fosters trust, respect, and a sense of belonging.

Question 3: What are our strengths and weaknesses?

Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the team allows members to capitalize on their abilities and work on areas that need improvement. By leveraging individual strengths and supporting each other's weaknesses, teams can enhance their overall performance and achieve greater success.

Question 4: How do we communicate and collaborate?

Effective communication and collaboration are the lifeblood of any successful team. Establishing clear channels of communication, defining preferred collaboration methods, and promoting active listening are essential for fostering a productive and harmonious work environment.

By taking the time to answer these critical questions, teams can define themselves, align their efforts, and set the stage for a successful journey.

2. Onboarding with Organizational Values in Mind:

In today's hybrid or remote workplace, onboarding new team members can be a challenge. However, by incorporating organizational values into the onboarding process, teams can ensure that new members align with the team's culture and contribute effectively from the start.

Strategy #1: Introduce the Organizational Values:

During the onboarding process, it is crucial to introduce new members to the organizational values. This can be done through presentations, orientation sessions, or even one-on-one discussions. By emphasizing the importance of these values, teams can instill a sense of purpose and create a shared understanding among all members.

Strategy #2: Encourage Cultural Immersion:

To help new members assimilate into the team and embrace the organizational values, it is important to encourage cultural immersion. This can be achieved by providing opportunities for new members to interact with existing team members, participate in team-building activities, and engage in projects that reflect the team's values.

Strategy #3: Mentorship and Support:

Assigning mentors to new team members can be highly beneficial for their onboarding journey. Mentors can guide new members, answer questions, provide feedback, and help them navigate the team's dynamics. By offering mentorship and support, teams can ensure that new members feel valued, supported, and empowered to contribute to the team's success.

3. Thriving Together:

Building a strong team and onboarding new members are important steps, but for long-term success, teams must continuously strive to thrive together. Here are three actionable pieces of advice for teams looking to thrive:

Advice 1: Foster Psychological Safety:

Psychological safety is crucial for promoting open and honest communication within a team. Encourage team members to share their ideas, opinions, and concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal. By creating an environment of trust and psychological safety, teams can foster innovation, creativity, and collaboration.

Advice 2: Embrace Diversity and Inclusion:

Diverse teams bring a wealth of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table. Embrace diversity and inclusion by actively seeking out individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, and skill sets. By valuing and leveraging diversity, teams can enhance problem-solving, decision-making, and overall team performance.

Advice 3: Invest in Continuous Learning:

Encourage team members to develop their skills, knowledge, and expertise through continuous learning. Provide opportunities for professional development, training, and mentorship programs. By investing in continuous learning, teams can stay ahead of the curve, adapt to changing circumstances, and achieve sustained success.


Building a strong and cohesive team requires intentional efforts in defining the team, onboarding new members with organizational values in mind, and striving to thrive together. By answering critical questions, incorporating values into the onboarding process, and implementing actionable advice, teams can foster a sense of unity, purpose, and productivity. Remember, a strong team is the foundation of success in any organization.

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