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A High Performance Team Fights For Human Rights

Hundreds gathered in lower Manhattan’s Washington Square Park to attend the 2015 New York City Anti-Street Harassment Rally, hosted by Hollaback!.

The weather was picture perfect.  Everyone in attendance was energized. The event flowed seamlessly, despite featuring 17 speakers, five workshops, countless performers, and a giant inflatable cat named Hiss. And behind it all (well, all but the good weather) was a high performance team.

Why This Event Was No Easy Accomplishment

Producing an event of this scale and quality is quite a feat. Hollaback! partnered with 32 co-sponsor organizations, adding to the power of the event, but also greatly increasing the planning and coordination complexity. Beyond the partners, there were also speakers and workshop facilitators to secure and manage, as well as all the day-of volunteers and logistics.

To pull it off, a core team of 5 people gathered to begin what would become an exceptional undertaking.

How The Team Exemplified High Performance

In a previous post, What It Takes to Create A High Performance Team, we described the various aspects of a high performance team, and Hollaback! exemplifies one.

From the very start, the core team set themselves up for success. They used a charter, a foundational plan that encourages deep, collective thinking, to create a shared vision. According to one team member, “the ability to respond to the specific charter questions helped us be more strategic.”

The core team had already established a strong culture of respect, mutual accountability, and learning. They used the RACI model to clarify accountabilities including decision-making authority. As one team member explained, “checking in on our responsibilities on a regular basis helped facilitate an honest dialogue and made me feel secure because the small details that could fall through the cracks were being addressed.”

The team used a number of processes and collaboration tools to support effective teamwork. Google docs enabled the team to keep all 32 partners informed of the most up-to-date information. Standing check-in meetings followed a consistent structure. During each, they reviewed the entire timeline and milestones plan like a checklist, helping to raise concerns and potential roadblocks early.

What Your Team Can Learn From HollaBack!

It helps to start with a team that has already developed a positive team culture, but even still, much of how the core team operated can be applied to your team.

  • Use a charter to clarify the work before jumping to action

  • Set up standing check-in meetings with a structured agenda

  • Use cloud-based tools so everyone can access the most current information

The Meeteor Team wants to thank Hollaback! for allowing us to write this post. Hollaback! was our very first beta site and we learned so much from them. We welcome you to share your story of a high performance team in action in the comments below.



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