Creating Your Team’s Charter The Paranormal Defining the Team’s Purpose, Boundaries and Agreements A charter is nothing more than a document that describes the purpose, boundaries, limitations and agreements of your paranormal team. It should be co-created by whomever is sponsoring or forming the team, as well as those who are on the team. The power of this document is basically derived from open conversations with your team, of what everyone agrees to, that becomes a recorded document adopted unanimously by you and your paranormal team. Because the power comes from the agreements that are reached by everyone, the format of the document itself is less important than the conversation itself. Whatever your format, the components in the next section should be considered. Just What is a Charter? Team charters should address the following areas and answer the related questions. Goals and Expectations What are the specific goals and tasks for your paranormal team? When will you know we have accomplished the goals or tasks? Who are clients and how do we document the cases? How do we identify the client’s needs and expectations? What are obstacles or challenges can be seen from the beginning? Make sure to state your teams goals and expectations clearly with measurable outcomes and time-lines. Roles What are the identified roles and responsibilities of each team member? What about team leads or case managers? Who is responsible for facilitating and coordinating cases, clients, budgets, advertising, etc.? What is our defined logistics. What about case data and evidence management? Who will be responsible for communication to clients and team? Do we have any team sponsors? How will each person be involved in decision making processes? Approach  How and when will the team meet? Who is invited to meetings? What are the norms or ground rules that the team will agree to? How we make decisions? How will we hold each other accountable for these things and for task assignments or completion? Who will communicate team progress, to whom, and how? Your charter should also include a high level look at the major phases or milestones in the life of your paranormal team and outline those so you know if you’re on target with expectations. It could be the number of cases investigated, raising capital, meeting training schedule, internal team certifications, etc. Skills and Expertise Make a listing of the skills and expertise that will be required for by each team member, and what would make that role successful. Identify each individual(s) on the team and how they fit into the defined roles. This can provide a method for identifying gaps in skills and perspective on how and who to pair team members up during an investigation. After you’ve identified the gaps or skills of the individuals and the team, determine how they will be rectified through training, one-on-one, or team. Adding these skills doesn't mean you have to add people to the team, it means that subject matter experts can best be identified and invited to participate from other paranormal groups in your area as you begin your organization. The charter simply helps you to make that happen. Resources Needed What budget of time and money will be needed for the group? What other resources or equipment will be required, wanted, and available? Authority What level of authority does each team member have? What authority do require for their internal assignments, duties on the team, or with a client on a case investigation? What approvals and legal documents will need to be in place, signed by whom, and to who do they get delivered to? Who should be responsible for this, and who will have access to the information? Agreements Once all of these questions and items have been documented, your charter should be signed by the entire team. This will cement the agreement and make it easier to hold everyone on the accountable, including yourself as the founder or leader of the group. It also ensures that every team member understands and is on board with the complete charter. Especially if they were part of the process! Implementing the Charter Because there is some structure required, typically the leader who is forming or initiating the paranormal team would. Regardless, whatever your role is on your team. everyone can gain support by having a conversations that lead to the clarification of duties agreements with the charter constructed. Providing everyone recourse when there are any questions. Get the team together along with the leader forming the team, and have a conversation about the items listed herein, use an audio recording during the meeting which will help settle and document the agreements so that they can be documented, Be sure to file that digital record with the original charter for reference. If you’re lucky, you may be able to finalize a charter during one single meeting, or it might require people to gather more information before finishing it up – do what makes sense for your team, given the size, complexity and importance of the team's output. Remember all time invested here will be repaid many times over. Resist the urge and tendency to ‘ just get this done and move right into the investigations!’ If you do, you’ll be doing yourself and the team a disservice. Once the document has been created, have all parties involved sign it as a way of signifying compliance and commitment to each other as a team. Then keep the document fresh by referring to it in team meetings and making sure that you stay on- track, verifying the team has reached its milestones, and everyone has maintained their boundaries and limitations as agreed. Recognize too that as time moves forward you will more than likely need to make adjustments, clarifications or changes to the charter. This is perfectly fine as long as the entire team and all its members and leadership are in agreement and "sign on" to and new additions or modifications of the charter. Be Warned Creating a team charter will take time, no doubt about it, and there will be some people will definitely want to stop talk. Be sure to keep the meetings moving, and return to difficult processes at a later time. Often it will cool down enough to make a consensus. However, recognize these facts, and remember an even bigger one – it’s a time well spent, as collaboratively building a charter will be repaid to everyone in reduced frustration, improve credibility, and produce a well-oiled paranormal investigative research team! What Should Be Included? How many times have you been on, or heard about a paranormal team, or any other team for that matter, that got very frustrating? It just wasn’t going anywhere, or making any progress at all? Could it be that they weren't completely about their expectations, as to what they’re expected to do, or how to act? Or possibly that the team was discouraged, because there was definition of who was supposed to do what, and when? If you’re like most, you are nodding yes to one, and possibly all of these questions. There is however one single thing you and your team can do that will most likely alleviate, and possibly eliminate these challenges as you get the your team started. Steering you right direction, before you sail and end up piling up on the rocks. Just as you wouldn’t set sailing in real life without a captain at the helm and a planned destination, neither should you begin setting off into the world of the paranormal without knowing where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there, and what your crew is going to do to get you there! So what’s a better way to give you and team piece-of-mind, other than a team charter? Well, there really isn’t any.  A charter will provide you, and your team, a solid start, and piece of mind that objectives have been set, defining your team’s purpose, boundaries, and agreements. Your Well on Your Way Not to worry. In the Shadows Paranormal Project will be sharing with you ALL our project’s documents. Including: Guidelines, Rules, Charter, Waivers, Legal Forms, and much, much more in the pages that follow, for you to adopt or modify to fit your ‘Paranormal Team’s’ needs or requirements.
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