Any leader is only as good as their team. 

This is no big secret. 

So why do we not spend more time talking about how to build the right team in the right ways. 

You don’t have to wonder anymore because I’m here to talk about powerful team formation strategy.

The development of effective groups through team formation strategy needs to include 4 pieces: forming, storming, norming, and performing. This strategy was built by the psychologist Bruce Tuckman.

I’m Kenny Chapman, and let’s help our teams reach their great potential together. 

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Where Did I Learn About Team Formation Strategy?

This is a concept that was taught to me back in the early 2000s by a consultant friend of mine that did high-level consulting with the Apples and the IBM’s of the world and the MGM Grands and just massive, massive companies. 

He taught me so much over the course of our time together, and he brought this concept to me that many of you may have already heard, but it’s always good to kind of go back and remember because we’re constantly evolving as leaders, as companies, and as teams. 

I believe that you’re running two businesses right now. 

Today, you’re running your current business. 

You’re also running your future business, and that means that you’re running your current team, and you’re running your future team.

Even if you don’t change any team members at all, your future team had a better look different than your current team does because the world is changing. 

Technology is changing. 

You are changing. 

Your customer base is changing. 

The market is changing, and therefore we’ve got to look at teams’ stages as we go. 

The 4 Pieces And Steps You Need

Now, the concept I’m going to talk about with you here today was written about by a psychologist by the name of Bruce Tuckman (learn more about him at the link).

In 1965, he authored an article called the developmental sequence in small groups. 

And we’re talking about four things here today, and they are: 

  • Forming 
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing

Don’t try to say it too fast. 

And you might want to talk along with me here, forming storming, norming, and performing. Let’s think about what this looks like. 

Taking these steps is a key way in investing in your company in a meaningful and effective way.

Forming Team Groups

If we start at the forming stage, this could look different for a lot of people, but you need to start at the same place. 

Maybe you’ve got a brand new team, maybe you’re reinvigorating a team, maybe you’re doing something new, or whatever. You’ll still need to start with forming.

I was just brought in for one of my purpose guided leadership live advisory programs into a business that already has a current leadership team, but I’m doing coaching with them quarterly on-site and facilitating what this team needs to grow into over the course of our time together. 

So we start off in the forming stage. 

In this stage, generally, you know, people are pretty positive. They’re pretty polite. 

Some have a little bit of anxiety, not really exactly sure what’s going on, and try to find their way because we all operate differently. 

We look at things differently. 

Some people feel a little bit of uncertainty because they’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen or take place with the new team. 

Some people are just super excited. They’re ready to rock and roll no matter what. 

Here’s what’s important: 

You, as a leader, play a very, very critical role in this phase. 

As you begin to form your team or form the new part of your team and form the new kind of mindset your team is going to take on, you need to make super clear that the roles, responsibilities, and communication we form at this stage can last for a little while. 

As people are kind of getting used to things and understanding how things are going to work moving forward, that’s forming. 

Create and establish how things are going to work clearly before moving on.

Storming Team Groups

Then we move to the storming phase. 

Now, when we get here, you’re starting to have teams start pushing boundaries. 

And you know, we establish boundaries in the forming stage. 

Now we’re going to kind of challenge those.

Here’s the reality. This is when a lot of people don’t make it. 

This is where a lot of teams end up having a big challenge because people work in very different ways for different reasons, and sometimes different styles create challenges. 

When we go back to taking things personally, when we go back to wanting to be right, rather than winning during the storming phase, this is when it shows up is when it shows its head. 

Hey, we’re out here to get things done. We’re out here to rock and roll. We want to make it happen where you know. 

It’s possible we might step on toes. We might have different things.

This is where it shows up. If we, as leaders, haven’t been super clear about who’s responsible, it will fall apart.

What are the different roles? What are the responsibilities that we created in the forming stage?

Pushing The Boundaries

Now all of a sudden, we’ve got a driven team that is “going out of their way,” getting out of their lane to doing things that weren’t part of their original understanding because we’re storming baby. 

This is what it’s all about. 

Be mindful of these things and be very, very cautious of what takes place here and check in on these because sometimes you can have a lot of stress during this stage, and people handle and deal with and communicate stress very differently. 

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Norming The Team Groups

Then we go to norming. 

Now in the norming stage is where we kind of started hitting that exactly what it is. 

We start to find a new normal. People start resolving their differences. 

We start understanding how we communicate better with each other. We really start to kind of know each other individually and may start socializing together.

Some might go grab a beer or a drink after work. We might go to the movies on the weekend. 

We might get our kids together for a play date, whatever that looks like. 

As a group, we start developing more interpersonal communications, as well as team communications, and seeing things for the greater good of the greater goal. 

This is where some constructive feedback might come in. 

Check out my post on how constructive criticism can really work.

There’s no such thing as constructive criticism, you’re there trying to help, or you’re not. 

So let’s not, you know, dance around it, but let’s make sure that we’re clearly helping people. 

That’s what’s happening in the norming stage.

There can be an overlap from the storming to the norming part because we’re still going out and getting things done, and we’re finding a new normal within that within the team. 

Let’s Clarify A Team Group

Now don’t make this mistake. 

If you’re a smaller business, you only have a team of four or five people that could be your entire team. 

You might have a team of 400 or 500 people, and we’re talking about forming, storming, norming, and performing at the leadership level. 

Team groups run any company regardless of size. 

And so when I say that, I want you to realize this happens at every level within the organization. 

So don’t check out on me and go:

Well, I’m a small business. I’m just starting to grow. Kenny, that’s fine. You have all of this taking place, every size of the company, forming storming norming.

This is for you too. It’s for all leaders in every field, in every niche, in every market. 

Performing With A Team Group 

Now we move to performing. This is where we start to reach. 

We’re working hard; we’ve got leads going.

We’ve got less friction in the business. 

We’re all rocking and rolling performing goals. 

We’re hitting goals.

The group is performing at the highest level. 

The roles and responsibilities and the processes that we set up, the systems that we set up, are running and going. 

Everything’s having the best result that we intended and we saw possible. 

This is where, as leaders, we’re able to delegate a lot because the team is performing at a super high level. 

We really want to be mindful of this stage as well because now it’s easy to be a part of it. 

To have a rockstar team now, we’re getting it done. 

And this is where some people can join the team, and other people can leave the team without disrupting the performance result because we’ve built the core of it.

4 Pieces In A Nutshell

I say no more than six people run any company regardless of size. 

So certainly, if one of those key six might leave in a hundred million dollar company, that might have some effect, but it’s not going to stop everything because we’ve got a team that performs at the highest level. 

So let’s think back through these.

Forming is where you really need to direct the team. 

You’ve got to make sure that you’re establishing objectives and making sure that you’re clear about what you want to see happen, both as an overall team as well as the individuals on that team. 

Clarity is critical.

It’s why it’s the first dimension in my new book, The Six Dimensions Of Change 2.0. 

Clarity is key. 

When you’re forming teams or reforming, clarity is super important for the team and individual team members. 

Then when we think about the storming phase, this is where as a leader, you’re facilitating the building of trust and good relationships. 

Some people are afraid of people having personal relationships. 

I think it’s important for people to be able to build trust. 

I don’t care whether they hang out outside of work or not. 

What I care about is the ability to resolve challenges, resolve conflict, resolve lack of communication, and make sure that those things take place as a leader during the storming phase. 

You need to remain positive.

Be a “cheerleader” during this time because people are finding their legs.

They’re kind of seeing what’s going on and make sure that you’re sharing with them. 

This process like, Hey, this is what we’re doing right here. We’ve got this intentionally we’re forming right now, so we can be storming and rocking here in this stage that we’re in. 

Moving Toward Success

Now, we’re going to move on to norming and really take a step back and understand everybody’s standing on their own here. 

Everybody is responsible for their own things, handling their own objectives, creating their own results. 

Now we hit that norming part. 

And then ultimately we go to performing where you’re able to delegate the top leaders in your organization are able to delegate your frontline team is able to delegate more to technology to each other in unique ability opportunities. 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, here’s the reality. 

You will always be in some stage of these; you will always be forming new relationships.

You’ll always be storming, certain projects, goals, and new areas of the business that you want to grow and improve. 

You will always be creating new normals and norming certain things with new relationships, different relationships, new markets, new technology, or whatever that looks like. 

You’ve always got to be focused on performing when you do these things, and you keep team members focused on what their purpose is, making sure that people are in alignment with purpose. 

First and foremost, I’d like to talk about in purpose, on purpose, and doing the very best that you can as an organization to keep people thriving in unique ability. 

My mentor, Dan Sullivan, says where we think about what are you the very best at, let’s rock that let’s keep that in that lane. 

Those things lead to ultimate fulfillment. 

When you have fulfillment, now you’re onto something.

You don’t have turnover. 

You’ve got higher profitability. 

Everybody on the team can earn more, be happier, contribute more, and ultimately be more successful. 

That’s what everybody wants. 

Don’t miss out on these blogs or anything else from me, and sign up for my email list above! 

Now go make it a better-than-fantastic day! 

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