In the realm of organizational dynamics, the success of a team often hinges on its culture, particularly the way individuals relate to one another, the norms they follow, and the values they uphold. However, many teams find themselves navigating these waters without a clear compass, leading to confusion, inconsistency, and even some level of conflict and discord within a group. This is the challenge facing numerous organizations, including many clients that On The Edge has worked with in the past.


The concept of a Team Covenant emerged as a beacon of hope for teams seeking to chart a new course towards more positive and productive team cultures. Generally, a Team Covenant serves as a guiding document that codifies the key values and practices essential to fostering an uplifting and cohesive team environment. 

Specifically, the Team Covenant outlines the expectations for how leaders and team members will interact and work together in a positive manner on a daily basis, providing a source of truth and accountability within the organization.

The main objective of a Team Covenant is to articulate a shared vision of how a team will operate and the actions individual team members will take. Moreover, grounded in insights gleaned from experiences such as On The Edge’s Social Styles Workshop and Team Challenge Course, the Team Covenant establishes a set of expectations that clarify how team members will collaborate, relate to one another, and contribute to a powerful, positive, productive team culture.


In our extensive work with various organizations, we've observed a common pattern: team culture is often left to chance or occurs by default. In due time, without intentional design and clarity around values and practices, teams can drift aimlessly, with individuals receiving mixed messages about expected behaviors. 

This lack of clarity can enable actions and team dynamics that are inconsistent with or don’t model the values and spirit of the team. Overall, lack of alignment and clarity can create team or group dysfunction, hindering an organization's overall success.

The absence of a Team Covenant exacerbates these challenges, leaving employees to navigate the murky waters of team dynamics on their own. Without a shared framework for behavior and accountability, negative patterns can take root, leading to toxic, unproductive work environments and diminished team effectiveness.


The issue of unclear expectations can be particularly pronounced during employee onboarding, especially when new hires encounter discrepancies between an organization’s stated values and actual workplace behaviors. This disconnect can leave employees feeling adrift, unsure of how to navigate the complexities of team dynamics without clear guidance.

The consequences of this ambiguity are far-reaching, as conflicting behaviors and norms can sow discord and erode trust within a team. In the absence of a Team Covenant, individuals are left to fend for themselves, resulting in a fragmented team culture and diminished performance.

If the symptoms above are left unchecked for too long, a team can become dysfunctional. Dysfunctional teams often exhibit a strong lack of alignment on shared values and practices, rewarding unproductive behaviors and diminishing opportunities for growth. Dysfunctional dynamics enable toxic behaviors to thrive, undermining a team's cohesion and effectiveness.

Imagine a sports team brimming with talent expected to clinch the championship, yet falling short of their potential due to selfish attitudes and dysfunctional team dynamics. Despite their individual capabilities, these toxic group behaviors, left unchecked, infected the team’s culture, undermining team cohesion and thwarting each team member’s potential contribution. Consequently, this jeopardizes the team’s overall success, resulting in disengagement and underperformance, posing a significant threat to collective success. Even though each member is individually talented, their lack of team cohesion and camaraderie prevents them from winning the championship.


Amidst the challenges of dysfunctional team dynamics lies an opportunity for transformation. Rather than resigning themselves to the status quo, teams can seize the opportunity to enact intentional change through volitional actions and behaviors that are articulated in the Team Covenant.

Creating a Team Covenant offers teams the chance to align around a shared purpose and vision, laying the foundation for a more cohesive and collaborative culture. By identifying key values and practices that embody their ideal team culture, teams can bridge the gap between aspiration and reality, fostering greater alignment and synergy.

To begin with, team members must reflect on their past experiences of being on good and not-so-good teams to identify the dynamics that enabled the dysfunctional, poor performing teams and what dynamics supported the great, high performing teams. Drawing on these insights, they identify the core practices and behaviors that will guide their team culture, setting the stage for meaningful transformation.

Team Covenant

Once core values and practices are identified, teams engage in open dialogue to further refine their Team Covenant. Drawing upon their collective experiences, they pinpoint the fundamental behaviors that will shape their culture, ensuring buy-in and alignment across the team.

With core shared values and practices established, teams embark on the process of drafting their Team Covenant. Focused on distilling these principles into actionable guidelines, the team outlines specific behaviors and norms that will govern their interactions and give clarity to expected behaviors which team members would hold each other accountable for.

Upon finalizing the Team Covenant, teams celebrate this milestone and the collective effort invested in shaping their culture. Each team member commits to upholding the covenant, fostering a culture of accountability and continuous improvement. Additionally, many teams choose to sign their Team Covenant as a further demonstration of their commitment to creating a positive team culture. 

Monthly team check-ins provide valuable feedback and insights, guiding the team's journey towards a more positive and productive future. Further, many teams conduct regular assessments that rate how they and their fellow team members are doing in upholding the Team Covenant through their behavior and interactions, then identify areas that they are all committed to improving.


In the journey to building a high-performing team, the creation of a Team Covenant serves as a catalyst for meaningful change. By articulating shared values and practices, teams can overcome challenges, foster alignment, and unlock their full potential. The power of a Team Covenant lies in its ability to unite individuals around a common purpose and propel teams towards success.


On The Edge worked with a leadership team from University of New Mexico (UNM) Health to seamlessly integrate several new positions onto the team and accelerate the deepening of relationships between the existing team members. On The Edge’s Team Development program created a forum for the group to learn how to work more effectively with
all of the diverse personalities on the team.

The leadership team benefited from this program in large part because they had not previously built strong connections. In reality, the root of this disconnect stemmed from a lack of quality time spent together and divisions between isolated business unit functions and locations. All in all, the work that On The Edge did with this team helped them come together quickly so that they could more powerfully and collaboratively navigate the significant changes and challenges affecting their industry.

What was UNM Health Medical Group’s Team Development opportunity?


In 2019, UNM Health placed several new leaders onto a leadership team. These new leaders were joining an existing team in need of foundational relationship building. This need arose from a general lack of awareness and understanding of the diverse personalities on the team, as well as a siloed organizational structure. Additionally, UNM Health had recently put in place a new strategy and focus that this team would need to adapt quickly to and operate effectively within.


UNM Health saw the opportunity to accelerate relationship building and continue developing a strong, supportive, and high-performing team and organizational culture in the midst of this leadership transition and significant changes to their business.

Our Involvement

UNM Health brought in On The Edge to facilitate a Team Development program focused on aligning this newly assembled leadership team as part of the organization's annual leadership retreat. The objectives of this Team Development program were to get the team to: 1) work more effectively together, 2) build leadership and team skills, and 3) utilize collaboration to increase team cohesiveness and camaraderie.

What was the process to address this opportunity?



On The Edge began the process of working with the leadership team from UNM Health by conducting one-on-one discovery interviews with key stakeholders to identify potential opportunities and challenges within this leadership team and the overall organization. Additionally, our staff sent confidential surveys to all members of the team to create a clear snapshot of the current organizational culture and constraints. This discovery process provided both a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the current team status and highlighted which group dynamics were working and which ones were not.


Following discovery, On The Edge developed a custom-designed 1-day Team Development program that would accomplish the team's objectives and support the leadership team in strengthening relationships, deepening trust, and building a more productive team culture*. At this point, it was time to "get on the court" and bring the team together for a 1-day in-person Team Development program.



On The Edge initiated the 1-day Team Development program by presenting models of high performing teams and leadership. To begin, our presentation illuminated what optimal teamwork looks like and allowed the leadership team to identify which models the team would most like to adopt and implement moving forward. From this point, facilitators focused on addressing some of the key issues and challenges that were preventing the team from achieving the ideal outcomes shared in the high performing team and leadership models.

With a newfound and broadened understanding of high performing team and leadership models, we introduced methodologies that helped the group understand how to work more effectively with different work and leadership styles. These methodologies illuminated the underlying strengths and liabilities contained within the leadership team, and when experienced in a group setting served to unify and enable a more supportive and high-performing team dynamic.


Concepts in Practice

To practice and gain efficacy in these models and methodologies, On The Edge guided the group through hands-on activities that familiarized team members at a deeper level to gain awareness of how different leadership styles, personalities, and ways of working together can positively impact overall team cohesiveness and effectiveness. Since these activities were designed to simulate relevant business challenges the leadership team was facing in their organization, participants learned and practiced new concepts and skills that they wouldn’t otherwise have time for in the constant stream of day-to-day responsibilities.

The added benefit of these engaging, experiential activities is that they illuminated team members in a different light and showcased their unseen strengths, which established relationships and trust based on shared experiences and understanding. Moreover, this program put hierarchy and position on the org chart aside, which allowed everyone to contribute equally so some members of the leadership team could step up while higher level leaders let go of control and stepped back. This, in turn, helped the group identify and utilize the talent and contributions on their team at all levels.

What was the outcome of this process?

Team Transformation

As a result of working with On The Edge, this leadership team from UNM Health underwent a significant transformation in leadership effectiveness, team skills, and workplace collaboration in high-stakes business situations. The group not only learned about team and leadership styles, but unlocked breakthroughs in how these styles could translate to greater transformation in their teamwork, collaboration, and productivity through guided and relevant action-oriented activities.

This leadership team now had the tools to tap into everybody’s full capabilities. This lead to increased focus and efficacy when working with the diverse talents, strengths, and abilities on the team. As a result, the team and the overall organization became more productive and performed at a higher level through the creation of a culture that brought out the best in everybody. After the program many team members reported they felt like the leadership team’s focus had shifted. In essence, they felt more compelled and encouraged to do and
be their best.

Leadership Breakthroughs

Consequently, not only did the leadership team experience breakthroughs in collaboration and morale, but they also saw an improvement in the overall business performance and results. In time the entire organizational culture and ways of working together experienced transformation at the direction of this newly focused team.

Particularly, it created a breakthrough in how leadership showed up and the positive net impact that they made on the organization by bringing out the best in everyone. In short, this team came to embody the high performing leadership models that they had aspired to.

How did On The Edge ensure lasting success with UNM Health Medical Group?

On The Edge provided several follow-up processes and structures along with ongoing practical consulting and coaching to support the leadership team in integrating and applying the key learnings from the Team Development program.

Team Covenant

The first successful follow-up process was the co-creation of a team covenant which outlined the key elements and values of team culture that would support the leadership team in continuing to create powerful team dynamics. This team covenant clarified the expectations of how leaders and team members would show up for each other on a daily basis.

The team covenant was utilized regularly to rate overall leadership and team member performance based on established expectations. This structured feedback highlighted opportunities for further team and leadership development.

The team covenant created accountability in moving towards a positive, engaging culture where all team members are treated well. This was accomplished by identifying values and actions that would actively contribute to this new high-performing work environment. To assess the leadership team's performance, leaders were regularly evaluated against these values and actions.

Follow-up Assessment

The second process was a follow-up assessment. This assessment surveyed the impact of the program by acknowledging team growth and success. Effective follow-up and coaching were essential to ensure that this leadership team continued to improve. These follow-up processes demonstrate our investment in the long-term success of our partners long after the program has concluded. Our work with UNM Health was no different.**



Because teams often have busy schedules, our Team Development program has been streamlined to be delivered as a standalone 1-day program. This 1-day program will achieve positive and lasting impacts as a standalone experience. However, we believe the more time a team and leaders have to engage with these concepts the better. We have found that a 2-day program delivery allows for more time to understand and practice the program concepts. This leads to a more full integration into the organizational structure.

**Ongoing follow-up processes best support effective adoption of high-performing team concepts and models. While we have covered two follow-up processes here, there are many more options available upon request. Get in touch today to see what would be best for you and your team.