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Tuckman’s Model – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing

Simple and Useful Team Model

Tuckmans model of team development

Greatest Tuckman Team Activity EVER!

Let Go My Ego

Overcoming frustration and resisting the temptation to blame each other will be key to moving the bar in the direction you choose. People can find themselves sacrificing their integrity and doing the opposite of their intention.

This activity is amazing for communication, leadership, teamwork, the PERFECT example of a team going through Tuckman’s model of a team – Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing. They go through each stage EVERY time.

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Forming

In this stage, everyone has their ‘organizational’ hat on firmly.  Most team members are positive and polite, ‘playing nice’ with everyone as they are feeling one another out.

Some people are anxious, as they haven’t fully understood what work the team will do and may not have chosen to be on the team. Others are simply excited about what the team might accomplish.

As leader, you play a critical role at this stage, as you help the team get to know one another, set clear expectations (or not) and define roles and responsibilities for each person.

This stage can last for some time, especially if you as the leader are not working hard at developing the foundation of the team.

Team Workouts here are critical to help the group develop informal culture, ‘this is how we do things here’, as well as begin to get the individuals to trust one another on a character level – “I like this person”, “James is a good person”.

Storming

Int the storming phase, many teams fail.

Storming often starts from conflict between team members’ natural working styles and disagreements about tactics – how to do something – and not the strategy – what we are doing.

Both of these kinds of conflict are GOOD, if resolved.  Resolving these conflicts helps teams move into the next phase of Tuckman’s Model.

If left unresolved, especially if differing working styles cause unforeseen problems, they may become more than frustrated with serious challenges coming for the team.

As the leader, you should welcome the storming conflicts as a good thing and make sure to make/take the time to resolve them.  When you do, you are also creating trust the team has in you.

Inexperienced leaders avoid this conflict and will never lead a good team that performs.

Storming can also happen in other situations.

Team members may challenge your authority or jockey for position as their roles are clarified.

If you haven’t defined clearly how the team works, individuals may feel overwhelmed by their workload, uncomfortable with the approach you’re using or paralyzed for fear of making a mistake.

Other team members may question the value of the team’s goal and may resist taking on tasks that will increase their workload.

This can get ROUGH.

Remember, Storming is absolutely normal and necessary for the group to become effective.  As a leader, make use of every Storming opportunity.  The ROI is exponential for you as the team moves into Performing.

Before you can get to Performing, you must go through Norming.

Norming

Norming is all about getting team members to appreciate their colleague’s strengths and lean into one another, resolve their own differences and begin to create real results – early wins are REALLY important.

Good leaders guide a team into the Norming stage from the Storming stage.

This is NOT a straight line.  Teams will move back and forth between Storming and Norming but a good leader is directly involved in the process of continually bringing a group back into Norming.  Until they get used to doing it on their own.  As you do this, you will gain great respect from your team because they can trust you to manage the team dynamics if they ever fail to do so.

Signs your team is norming is voluntary socialization outside the office, asking for and providing constructive feedback in meetings and building upon ideas in the group.

Performing

Everyone wants to be part of a team that is accomplishing BIG things, is ‘in the zone’, and work flows easily.  Any friction is easily overcome and ‘everything is clicking’.

This is Performing.

As leader in Performing, your role is to eliminate road-bumps and friction.  You delegate most of your work and you can concentrate on developing team members to help them be more effective.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Me-hi Chick-sent-me-hi) has written extensively about this stage.  He calls this ‘Flow’.

He speaks mostly on individuals achieving Flow but teams can achieve it as well.  There are some great videos on Flow and Mihaly has a wonderful TedTalk.

Ajourning

Some teams run in perpetuity and others are project teams.  So, this is natural for some and foreign for others.

As your team is ajourning, especially if you hit the Performing stage, a formal separation/celebration is important.  Deep friendships may have been formed and making the time to honor that is critical.

Workshop in a Box

If you are looking for a longer business simulation that covers these stages in more depth, check out our Fun Fluid Factory.

What is The Fun Fluid Factory?
The Fun Fluid Factory is designed to create a short-term, realistic simulation of building a business. The goal is to earn as much profit as possible and like all business, every aspect must be taken into account:

Soft Issues’:

  • Leadership
  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Teamwork
  • Risk Vs. Reward
  • Compromise

‘Hard Issues’:

  • Revenue Generation
  • Marketing
  • Finances
  • Quality
  • The physical building – the Fun Fluid Factory Prototype.

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