Sunday, March 7, 2010

Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing

For those of you with teams on the ground at client sites, permit me to share some group development-think that has inspired me and given me a basis for effectively moving my teams to higher levels of maturity and performance. I first learned about the Bruce Tuckman Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing model in MBA school, but as with many things we learned in school, it is easy to forget or believe there is no applicability to it.

However, I recently used the model as a touchstone for a team’s development and, at the least, it helped to assure me that some of the early-stage team “forming” actions involving feelings, insecurities and other such controversies are NORMAL. The model also helped me see where the team can go, if things are handled properly. I recalled all the teams I’ve brought together over the years for client work and, by placing our team development against the model, it proved to be a roadmap we’ve followed, even if unconsciously.

So why not follow it consciously? I’m going to keep it handy. Moving onward into the mature stage of performing takes mutual trust, respect, lots of communication and having all members treat team decisions AS THEIR OWN. So, whether you’re forming, storming or norming, pretty soon you can be PERFORMING.

As the model says, and my experience bears out, each team MUST go through each stage. No skipping! So be patient and guide your teams to solid foundations at each stage, all the way to Performing.

Here is the Wikipedia entry for “Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing.”

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