Approaching Corporate Team Building from the Platform of the 5 Stages

When approaching corporate team building within a project management setting, those with leadership responsibilities should be aware of the 5 stages of team development. Identified by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, these stages are widely believed to be inherent to the success of any project team, regardless of the goal in question.

Stage 1 – Forming

In the first stage of any corporate team building process, the members of the team in question will form their initial bond. It is at this stage that leadership should be established, whether in the hands of one individual, or a number of group members heading sub-divisions. The aims of the project or task at hand should be clearly identified, and individual roles and responsibilities assigned to every member of the team.

Stage 2 – Storming

In terms of achieving success, the €Storming’ stage is the most significant of your corporate team building efforts. It is here that confrontation is likely to occur. As the team begins to develop and ideas are verbalised, conflicting points of view and personalities become apparent. Leadership must come to the fore here, resolving conflict and facilitating productive conversation to achieve problem solving results.

Stage 3 – Norming

Having survived stage 2, it is in the €Norming’ stage that group cohesion is attained. Having resolved their differences, team members share a collective purpose and strive towards a common goal. It is here that creativity and efficiency become the driving force behind the team.

Stage 4 – Performing

As suggested by the word itself, the €Performing’ stage is where productivity reaches its peak. As a well oiled machine, team members thrive in both their individual roles and as a unit. Problem solving has become diplomatic and communication is strong. Achievements will be made and goals reached. At this stage those in leadership roles, whilst still required to oversee the project as a whole, can take a step back, having successfully facilitated corporate team building within the group.

Stage 5 – Adjourning/Transforming

In Tuckman’s final stage, the team in question, if one established for a short term project, is disbanded. If part of an ongoing unit, this stage may refer to a time when roles and responsibilities are redefined. It is here that retrospection and evaluation are key. If the group achieved its objective, what made it so successful? If it failed, what lessons can be brought forward? Leadership comes back to the fore as team members are asked to evaluate and learn from their performance.

Tuckman’s stages of team development apply to any working unit, no matter what their objectives. Navigating your way through these stages takes time and, most importantly, strong leadership. With the right approach, your corporate team building efforts should result in a cohesive and effective group working towards success on a common goal.

By Stephanie Miers