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The Four Stages of Team Development – Part 2

An example of a team moving through the four stages – Part 2: Storming

Read Part 1 of the case study.

Stage 2: Storming

Prior to the second meeting of the Committee, I reviewed the postings on the SharePoint® site. While overall the conversations were professional, in a few cases, committee members seemed to shoot down others’ ideas. In fact, one posting from a clinician in response to an idea from a laboratory employee noted that “it is as if you don’t even work in this organization and have no idea what is going on.” There was very limited sharing going on. Some committee members had not even responded to any of the discussion topics posted on the SharePoint site. Undoubtedly some did not feel confident or comfortable contributing given the prevalent “attitude” of others on the site.

While I was somewhat surprised about some of the tones in the discussions given the fact that the initial meeting had gone quite well, I did not expect all would be perfect right from the start. This was, after all, the “storming” stage of team development. The committee members had to get comfortable with each other and were still figuring out where they fit in to the group overall. I expected that some of the more vocal members would be speaking up and that some of the quieter members would need a bit more prompting to share.

The second meeting was coming up within a few days and I wanted to be prepared to do what was needed to move the team past this stage so they could begin to be productive. This would be a 4 hour planning meeting. The agenda for the meeting would include the following topics:

  • Determining ground rules for meetings of the Committee as well as ground rules for participation in discussions on SharePoint®
  • Developing processes and procedures for resolving conflicts and solving problems
  • Discussion around types of communication channels that might be used to reach out to the entire organization as well as what needs to be communicated, when and by whom

These conversations would lead to three deliverables from this meeting:

  • Collaborate and agree on ground rules for working together (which would resolve some of the initial issues seen in communicating in the SharePoint site)
  • Documented processes and procedures for conflict management and problem solving
  • A Communication Management Plan to be used by the Stakeholder Committee to communicate on the project

Additionally, we planned for another team building activity to continue to build relationships and get to know each other on the board.

As a group, we worked together to develop ground rules for working together and collaborating on the SharePoint site.

We broke into two groups to focus on how we’ll manage conflicts and solve problems that arise.  One group focused on processes for managing conflicts and the other on processes for solving problems. Then, each group reviewed the other’s work and provided their input. Once that was completed, the entire Committee got together to finalize processes and procedures for working together. We were beginning to get past the storming stage! These collaborative activities enabled individuals to begin to figure out how they would work together. Of course, it doesn’t mean I didn’t have to redirect on occasion when it got a bit “engaging;” but overall the group was beginning to gel.

For the communication management plan, the group worked together to focus on the best way to communicate to the masses with each individual on the committee sharing what works for them. As individuals brought up ideas on how they liked to learn about what was going on in the company, it became apparent to the group that the diversity on the team would be of great value in fulfilling their role on this project.

Initial communications were planned for the first 3 months of the initiative with various Committee members taking the lead on generating communication components to share with the others for feedback/input. I reiterated that it was important to build on others’ ideas when they were posted and to remain professional with each other. I told the group that every idea was a good one and the diversity of this group would enable for some really outstanding ideas.

One week later

Let’s jump ahead to one week after this second meeting. A few of the Committee members put out on the SharePoint site their ideas for initial communications on the project. The feedback was great! There were no negative tones in responses or outright comments of “that’s a bad idea.” Everyone remained professional and offered a number of ideas to fine-tune what Committee members have shared. We were walking together well and well on the way to getting to the “norming” stage of team development.

In Part 3 we’ll share how the team functioned in the “norming” and “performing” stages and what they accomplished when they got there.