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The 4 Key Stages Of Development: Where Are You?

I’ve always been fascinated by what it takes to become high-performing, effective leaders and teammates. I was first inspired by the work of the late Princeton and Ohio State University professor Dr. Bruce Tuckman, who taught that we function in groups to:
·         Gain better results as a high-performing team
·         Achieve tasks with cooperation, and
·         Gain a sense of belonging and acceptance.
He also suggested that we tend to achieve these objectives in stages, which he dubbed Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. 
I’ve talked to dozens of colleagues over the years about Dr. Tuckman’s teaching and interviewed lots of top leaders in our industry about their experience becoming effective leaders and teammates. What I’ve learned over those conversations has led me to borrow from, and put a fun, fresh spin on, Dr. Tuckman’s original four stages to create a new set of four I call Awakening, Rule-Breaking, Hand-Shaking and Piece-Of-Cake-ing. Here’s how they tend to shake out:
1.       Awakening:  During the Awakening stage, we’re learning about opportunities and challenges, working to agree on goals and then tackling the tasks at hand. At this stage we’re very motivated but not completely awake to the issues and challenges ahead.
2.       Rule-Breaking: We tend to form opinions about the character and integrity of the group’s other participants at this stage, and voice our opinions about those who are dominating or shirking their responsibilities. We begin questioning others’ actions, as well as the decisions of the leader. Disagreements and personality clashes arise in about half of teams at stage 2. Groups that get beyond those differences emphasize tolerance so they can move toward resolution and comfortable participation again.
3.       Hand-Shaking: Resolution and cooperation emerge at stage 3. Common goals are shared and team members take responsibility and work together to achieve those goals. Acceptance and an effort to move forward, while continuing to share controversial ideas, is the evidence of their greater cooperation.
4.       Piece-Of-Cake-ing: At the final stage of development, roles have been established and success is reached thanks to the motivation and knowledge of the team, and their ability to work together with competency and autonomy. Occasional dissent is expected and allowed if it’s channeled in a way the team deems acceptable.
This is not a fairy tale, obviously, so advancing from stage to stage isn’t always easy and doesn’t always lead to happily ever after. In fact, it’s likely teammates will feel discomfort and growing pains. When that happens, relax and allow yourself to embrace the moment. That’s when growth happens, and from that dissonance will come the resolution that leads to harmonious Piece-Of-Cake-ing.
If you’re working toward a personal or professional goal or are part of a team trying to achieve success, see which stage you think you fall into today. Then look beyond it to identify what it will take to get you to the next stage of growth. Chances are just a little more collaboration, communication and cooperation will help you reach your goals. 
Posted: 11/29/2017 11:02:21 AM by Andrea Masucci, CRPS® | with 0 comments

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