How to Become a Dysfunctional Team… or Not

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EdisonsProjectTeamPerformanceCurve

Source: Edison T. The Team Development Life Cycle: A New Look. In: Defense AT&L.

Back in 2008 Tom Edison put this Project Team Performance Curve on paper as an expansion to Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing model. Edison describes five additional stages that characterize a tipping point, a trans-formative opportunity and the dysfunctional road some teams take to extinction.

Informing
At the pinnacle of a team’s success Edison suggests a team is at its informing stage where they should be sharing their experiences, both successes and failures, with the larger organization.  This helps to keep a free flow of ideas, experiences and potentially prompting brainstorming’s piggybacking.

Conforming
Next the team moves into a mental state rampant with Group Think, fewer fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. This is what is referred to colloquially as the doldrums or what I like to call the mental state of boredom where you are so busy doing nothing you want to slam your face into the keyboard just to change things up for a few seconds.

Transforming
This is where team transformation happens if dysfunction is identified soon enough. The team’s leadership needs to inject a fresh perspective and its associated new innovation into the team.  They can do so on their own by leveraging external resources such as another team in its informing stage or perhaps an outside facilitator like the trusted experts at Thought Ensemble. Come on, you had to see that coming.

I’ll leave it to Edison to talk about the other dysfunctional stages and melding of face and keyboard, but needless to say it’s bad and you don’t want to go down that road. However, the task left to you is figuring out where your team is in Tuckman and Edison’s team development life cycle. I challenge you to be honest with yourself and your colleagues and get the help you may need to transform your team before it’s too late.

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