The Business Book

(Joyce) #1


educational psychology, described
these stages as forming, storming,
norming, performing, and
adjourning. During forming, the
group comes together, and
members get to know one other. It
then moves into a storming stage,
where members challenge each
other for coveted group roles, and
group processes begin to emerge
through trial and error. The middle
stage—norming—marks a period
of calm, where agreement is
reached on roles, processes, and
group norms. By the fourth stage,
members have become familiar
with each other, with their roles,
and with the processes involved.
At this stage, team performance
hits its most effective level. Once
their work is done, the group moves
to adjourning, or disbanding.
Businesses are eager for teams
to move quickly through the early
stages, reaching “performing” as
soon as possible. This is why
companies invest so much in team-
building activities, where teams
face and solve artificial challenges,
often in a different environment.
Many companies also use the
architecture of their building to
encourage team interaction. For
example, at Pixar, the movie
animation studio based in
California, the cafeteria, meeting
rooms, employee mail boxes, and
bathrooms are located around a
centralized atrium designed for
collaborative working. The building
design and layout encourages
members of teams to meet and
interact with one another, even
when they are based in different
departments within the company.
Research has shown that team-
building activities and collaborative
work spaces help to improve team

work because the most effective
teams are those where members
trust one another, share a strong
sense of group identity, and have
confidence in their effectiveness
as a team.

Effective team building
In 2005, US researchers Jon
Katzenbach and Douglas Smith
identified a series of factors that
seem to be essential for effective
teamwork. First, team members
must be chosen for their skills, not
their personality. The team then
needs to get off to a good start;

setting the right tone is essential.
The tone should not be too
casual—teams perform better
when challenged, so a sense of
urgency needs to be imparted.
The team should agree on clear
rules for group behavior and norms,
and meet often, both formally and
informally. If possible, the team
should be allowed to enjoy some
early success; a few easy wins
early on has been found to boost
performance later. Likewise,
the group—and its individual
members—needs to be lavished
with praise. Continuing motivation ❯❯

See also: Leading well 68–69 ■ The value of teams 70–71 ■ Effective leadership 78–79 ■ Make the most of your talent
86–87 ■ Organizational culture 104–09 ■ Avoid groupthink 114 ■ The value of diversity 115 ■ Kaizen 302–09


Effective teams
provide synergy.
2 + 2 = 5

are balanced
out in a team.

Teams provide
security, so
members feel free
to take risks.

Teams produce
more creative
solutions to

Teams provide
an environment
to manage

Mutual support
encourages team
members to
reach their

positive group
norms that
openness and
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