Usually, the team building process has to be done extremely carefully and has to be customized to the particular needs of each team. Well before any attempt has been made to build the team, it is critical to understand the stages through which a typical team will travel over time. A considerable amount of research has been done on the stages of team growth. This suggests that teams go through four distinct phases these are Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
FORMING: When any team comes together, or forms, its members continuously explore the boundaries of acceptable behavior within the group. For most teams, this is usually an exciting, if somewhat nervous, time for team members. Emotions such as anticipation, optimism, pride, and hope all mix with emotions such as suspicion, fear, and anxiety all at the same time. This needs to be slowly but effectively reconciled.
STORMING: Having tested the water several times with their toes, every individual now immerses themselves and tries to swim. However, the skills to swim together are not yet fully developed, and the water is deeper and the tide stronger than may have been thought. As a result, a certain amount of concern may set in. The team is often too immature for collaboration, experiences some value clashes and the group often operates less as a team than it did in the honeymoon phase.
NORMING: Here the team works out the basic operational ground rules within the group and learns how to swim in the water by learning to cooperate. Although the team maintains much of its critical questioning of the way forward, the new ground rules make this criticism more constructive and positive. At this stage, team collaboration and confidence grows, and the team develops a sense of identity.
PERFORMING: For those teams that make it, the performance phase is the pay off time. Relationships have stabilized, and group problem-solving is now crisp and effective. Strengths and weaknesses of the team are now well understood and cooperation occurs naturally according to needs. The team is now a cohesive, well-oiled unit, capable of achieving high levels of output and growth.
Within these four phases, seven competencies of team building can be derived. These are:
- Vision and directional focus (FORMING)
- Alignment of values (FORMING)
- Team role and competency clarity (STORMING)
- Ground rules determination (NORMING)
- Performance appraisal effectiveness (NORMING)
- Team learning and results focus (PERFORMING)
- Boundary management (PERFORMING)
Ideally, these competencies should be viewed as individual pieces in an overall Teambuilding jigsaw. Although no one piece makes for effective Teambuilding by itself, each piece does work in combination with the others to reveal a fully integrated model. By aspiring to improve our performance in all of these competencies, it is consequently suggested that we can improve our capacity to play our part in building a successful team.