The Team Bootstrap

The definition of the word “bootstrap”: “To pull oneself out of a situation using existing resources”.

A team Bootstrapping session forms the team around the common resources that exists in the team with a strong focus on what everyone wants to gain from being on the team.

The root of all conflicts in a team is a value clash on a deep level. People that “check out” of the team do so because their values aren't being honoured.

This is the value of doing a Team Bootstrap. In the Bootstrap, we uncover personal values in use in the context of the team. Then we help the team to translate those values into statements of behaviour on a team contract.

The Team Bootstrap has the following outcomes:

  • The opportunity for everyone in the team to understand why everyone else is there.
  • What the needs are of everyone.
  • The behaviour that are expected from each other as a team.
  • A team / social contract that captures the discussions of the day.

The Team Contract answers this question: “What do you personally need to be in place, to be on this team?”. The contract is then used to help each other stay checked into the team.

The Team Bootstrap process is an indispensable part of forming a team into a cohesive unit that works well together.


During this session we each learned why the other was there, in that specific group. We learned what was important to every person, what made them angry and what made them effective members of a team.

The Team Contract accelerated a lot of the initial team building. Many conversations that could have caused future conflict was had right there, during the formation of the Team Contract. The things that usually irritate me in the teams I work with was dealt with and discussed in a safe space.

We walked out of the room with a deeper understanding and respect for each other.

The Team Contract was a crucial reason for us staying together as a team during this journey. With every conflict or situation that wanted to spiral out of control, we referred to the Team Contract to resolve that situation for the better.

I highly recommend the Team Contract sessions that Danie runs and know that they will make your team more effective.
— Genevieve Jaftha - Legal Risk Management at an Investment Bank

Consider this:

To some people, “coffee” means “black, bitter and hot”. To others “creamy and sugary with sprinkles”. To prepare the wrong coffee can be a personal insult. That is why we always ask “How do you want your coffee?”.

To some people, “respect” means “treat me as an equal”. To others “be quiet when I speak”.

Surprisingly, we never ask “how do you want your respect?”.