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One of my favorite starting points for helping a team become Uncommon is Baseball Cards. Just as a baseball card has a photo of the player and some basic stats about them, your baseball card has an image representing you and a few key facts. I suggest starting with at least:

  • Name you want to be called
  • Best way to contact you, and the address, number, or handle to use
  • Typical work schedule, if that varies from person to person
  • Preferred times for meetings

Bear in mind these are my suggested minimum! The most used baseball cards tend to also include:

  • The primary force that drives you, and any secondary forces you deem critical
  • The most important principles that guide your life
  • A goofy fact about you, especially one your team doesn’t already know

The intent here is to share a bit about who you are and tell your team what you need to do your best work, both in a safe and easily digestible way. You want to foster an open and honest discussion, so if you’re at all uncertain whether your team will be comfortable with a specific item, leave it off for now. You can always extend your baseball cards later on.

The best way I’ve found to introduce this idea is to present your own baseball card to your team. Then, ask them whether they’re willing to share their own. If they are, schedule a separate, dedicated meeting to do that. Give each person about 5 minutes; this generally seems to be a good balance between enough time to present without time pressure while also being short enough to maintain everyone’s interest.

After the presentation, post your baseball cards in a central, highly visible spot. In today’s virtual world this might be your team’s home page on your wiki or discussion board; if you’re all generally in the same physical office this might be your water cooler, break room, or team meeting room. You want your team to be able to seek these out on purpose, and also to see them incidentally as they go about their day. The more often someone sees everyone’s baseball cards accidentally while doing something else, the more likely the information will sink in.

When a new person joins your team, use your baseball cards to introduce yourselves to them. In turn, use their baseball card to get to know them!

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