The Power to Perform

You and your company have hired the best and the brightest to work for you, but for some reason your business is struggling to see the results these A players were supposed to be bringing with them. They have the required experience, the expectations have been clearly defined and shared and the team has all the tools they need to get the job done. So what is the issue? The players have not yet come together as a team! Before you can start driving for performance, you have to allow your team to develop. One of the best models for team development is Bruce Tuckman’s stages of group development. Introduced in 1965, the four stages are 1. Form, 2, Storm, 3. Norm, and 4. Perform.


Form: Just like it reads, in the form stage, the team is coming together. Individuals are not sure of one another so they are focused on themselves and what they are there to do. There is heavy reliance on the team leader for guidance and direction.

Storm: Here is where you will notice team members jockeying for position. There is tension, there are struggles and frustration as individuals continue to identify what their role is on the team. The healthy conflict ensures the team does not fall victim to group think.

Norm: Now your team is understanding the value of what others bring to the group. Ground rules have been set and team objectives are agreed upon. There is respect for the team leader as well as less reliance on them for guidance.

Perform: The awakening! Your team is now working as a collective unit. They have a shared vision and an understanding of the goals and what task will be done by whom. When conflict arising in this phase, the team can resolve it on their own.

You may find your team going though these phases multiple times as players come and go or new projects are introduced. My guess is you have witnessed it with your favorite sports team too! Why on earth aren’t these people winning any games? I’m sure there are a ton of reasons – and one of them is most certainly the fact that the right team dynamic does not exist.

Living in Minnesota, I know what it’s like to go far too long without a winning team. Until the Minnesota Lynx came along and won the WNBA Championship in 2011, it had been 20 years since Minnesota had earned a pro sports title. 20 years. But even that win didn’t happen overnight. There were tryouts, interviews, practices, player trades. More practices, more player trades.

David Goldman, Associated Press
David Goldman, Associated Press

I had the pleasure of hearing the Lynx head coach, Cheryl Reeve, speak about building a winning team. Not only was she a dynamic presenter, she is smart (and has a graduate degree in HR)! As she talked about the forming, storming, norming and performing of the Minnesota Lynx, three things she shared three things that contribute to her team’s success.

VisionMake sure there is a shared vision. Do not bring people into your organization if they do not believe in or support your organization’s vision.

AccountabilityLet the team set the stage for performance. Bring players on board who are not afraid of saying the hard things to other team members.

DriveThere are times when the coach has to push the team, and then there are other times you have to let them figure it out for themselves.

While your team may not be vying for a national championship, they do have the power to perform! As their coach, you need to provide them guidance and allow them to develop as a team.

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