Picture of Stephan van Rooden

Stephan van Rooden

Team Trust Canvas


When starting a team you run into a variety of challenges. In a earlier blog series I stated that a group of people doesn’t make them a team. How do you create a team? Where do you start and do the same practices apply for a new management team? In this blog I will share with you an alternative to the often used Team Manifesto. Using this technique will get even a management team into a better, more clear and positive collaborative state.

For one of our clients, that after a period of rapid growth, started with a new management board. A few weeks later the new board members came to realise they were not operating as a unit due to different reasons. One of those reason is they did not have the same values for collaboration as a management team. This impacted not only the team’s performance but the entire organisation was affected. We were asked for help and our first thought was to apply the ‘Team Manifesto’ format to get them on the same page. However, when planning this session we came to the conclusion that this might not stick with a group of senior managers. To avoid the risk of testing this assumption we started looking for an alternative and we stumbled upon the ‘Team Trust Canvas’ by Alexey Pikulev. We translated the format in Dutch and got started in the session. And the result was an open session on shared values and working agreements.

Working Agreements

We started with the following working agreements

  • everyone’s opinion matters: be honest and respectful
  • Only one person is talking, the others listen
  • Confidentiality: Some things don’t have to leave the room
  • Do not leave the room without saying what you wanted to say

Definition of Done for each part of the canvas

  • No intentions but decision or actions
  • No vague use of language or buzz words
  • A statement has ownership

The canvas

This is what the canvas looks like


The Canvas has eight phrases each with a brief explanation taken from Team Trust Canvas

  1. Clarity. A Team experiences trust when they see transparency and mistrust when things are ambiguous. How shall we build and support the clarity, openness and transparency? How can we avoid the uncertainty and vagueness?
  2. Connection. It is natural for people to follow others and build relationships. How can we connect and engage with each other? How can we improve our relationships and reduce conflicts?
  3. Compassion. Team members need to care about each other. Are we ready to show concerns? Are we ready to be compassionate?
  4. Value. People want to trust those who support their values. How can we align them?
  5. Competency. We have confidence in those who stay fresh, innovative and competent. How do we grow our competency?
  6. Commitment. We trust only those who demonstrate a commitment to action. How do we take responsibility and fulfill it?
  7. Contribution. People are motivated and engaged when they deliver results. People trust results. Is anything getting done? How do our rules and policies promote getting things done? How do our organization’s culture reward results?
  8. Consistency. We like to see the things done consistently. Is our trust and confidence rising or falling each Sprint?
  9. The most important part. What else is important for us?

The result of this workshop was great. These agreements even are transferred to the rest of the organisation. These trust created in the team are now the agreements within the entire company.

And the result might look something like this:

More to explore

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