Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Technique 3.9 Four Stages in Team Development

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(Where are you and your colleagues?)


There are four stages in developing a team: orientation, dissatisfaction, resolution and production; each stage is part of a journey.


Answer the following statements with a "yes" or "no", if the "yes" answers outnumber the "no", then you are in that stage




You are in stage 1 (orientation), if the following applies to you


i) Feeling moderately eager with high expectations


ii) Feeling some anxiety


iii) Asking questions such as

- Where do I fit?

- What is expected of me?

- What are the rules and expectations?

- Can I trust these people in the team?

- How are decisions made?

- Is it safe to say what I think?


iv) Testing the situation and central figures


v) Depending on authority and hierarchy


vi) Needing to find a place and establish oneself


vii) Group is clear on its mission, goal and responsibilities






You are in stage 2 (dissatisfaction), if the following applies to you


i) Experiencing a discrepancy between hope and reality


ii) Feeling dissatisfied with dependence on authority


iii) Feeling frustrated: angry about goals, tasks and action plans


iv) Feeling incompetent and confused on issues such as

- What is expected?

- How are we to go about our job?


v) Reacting negatively towards leaders and other members


vi) Competing for power and/or attention


vii) Experiencing polarities: dependence/independence


viii) Experiencing conflict






You are in stage 3 (resolution), if the following applies to you


i) Decreasing dissatisfaction


ii) Resolving discrepancies between expectations and reality


iii) Resolving polarity and animosities


iv) Developing harmony, trust, support, co-operation and respect


v) Developing co-operation, self-esteem, cohesiveness and confidence


vi) Being more open and giving more feedback


vii) Sharing responsibility and control


viii) Using team language


ix) Team starting to run itself






You are in stage 4 (production), if the following applies to you


i) Feeling excited about participating in team activities


ii) Working collaboratively and independently with whole and sub-groups


iii) Feeling team strength and commitment to each other and the team's goals


iv) Showing high confidence in accomplishing tasks


v) Sharing leadership


vi) Feeling positive about the team's successes


vii) Performing at high levels


viii) Strong team identity and confidence in the team's ability


In summary, the characteristics of

Stage 1 - this stage is like 2 dogs meeting for the first time and, normally, productivity is low but morale is high.

Stage 2 - honeymoon is over and expectations are lowered.

(NB This is a critical stage when the team can either fall apart or lay the foundation for creativity and valuing differences, and people should be encouraged to express their frustration and confusion)

Stage 3 - group is learning to work together; with facilitation more than direction being the manager's role

Stage 4 - both productivity and morale is high; with the team functioning smoothly towards accomplishing well-defined tasks that everyone agrees on. Leaders adopt a more supportive role.

Another way of describing the different stages in team development is forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. This phase development model has been criticised as it does not take into account the background and situational context in which a group of people comes together; it has limited application outside white male of Caucasian background as the research conducted in developing the concept excluded women and members of minority groups. For example, the storming phase of males establishing boundaries that define power and identity are not the driving forces for women

"...who can more easily establish connections and relationships without the need for ego-boosting, pecking-order confrontations..."

Harry Onsman, 2005a

(sources: Kenneth Blanchard et al, 1986: Robert Kriegel et al, 1996; Harry Onsman, 2005a)


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