« Leaders Who Don't Lead—A Cautionary Tale | Main | Intimations Of Mortality »

As Teams Go To Seed

By Art van Bodegraven | 04/20/2016 | 9:16 AM

Teams, particularly high-performing teams, don't necessarily close down at the conclusion of a focused effort. Bruce Tuckman's team stage model of Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing ends with Adjourning. I prefer, and use in its place, Transforming.

The team regroups, reconstitutes to whatever extent, and moves on to tackle the next challenge. Someone leaves the troupe to return to their day job. New people, representing the new assignment's constituency, get added. The team once again passes through the four active stages of Tuckman's model.

A preponderance of seasoned high-performing veterans will make the overall process shorter and smoother, but no omissions can be tolerated. And, each stage must reach closure - no shortcuts allowed and no status can be assumed. So, the odds of reaching the success level of Gen 1 are reduced (although they may be exceeded).

The magical enthusiasm may or may not get generated. But, the success history of the majority of retained team members says that trying to replicate yesterday's victories is worth the gamble. Imagine what is at stake when an NCAA football champion is expected to repeat, or worse, three-peat.

Every year sees the departure of 20-odd highly experienced team members, and the insertion of another 20 or so brand new (i.e., rookie) members. Some position coaches and coordinators may have departed for bigger, better positions at high-potential universities.

Trust me on this: athletic teams go through the storming/norming process, often more intensively than in business. It is no wonder that the repeats are so rare. Actually, a real measure of team success in that world is not a couple of consecutive championships, but years - even decades - of excellence at the highest level, contention for the top spot year after year.

Weeb Eubank, coach of the shockingly upstart New York Jets was criticized for cutting some players from the first Super Bowl-winning team led by Broadway Joe Namath. Weeb explained that a team is a living organism, one that flourishes with care and deliberate pruning on a regular basis.

In our workaday world, leading dynamic team structures and composition give us the opportunity to define - and achieve - our own national championships. Or Super Bowls, given care and the right pruning and shaping.



By submitting your comments, you agree to our Terms of Service.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven

Art van Bodegraven (1939 - 2017) was Managing Principal of the van Bodegraven Associates consultancy and Founding Principal of Discovery Executive Services, which develops and delivers supply chain educational programs. He was formerly Chair of the Supply Chain Group AG, Partner at The Progress Group LLC, Development Executive at CSCMP, Practice Leader with S4 Consulting, and a Managing Director in Coopers & Lybrand's consulting practice. Concentrating in supply chain management and logistics for over 20 years in his 50+ year business career, he has led ground-breaking strategic, operational, and educational projects for leading US and global clients. Art was principal co-author of DC Velocity's Basic Training monthly column for a decade, and was the principal co-author, with Ken Ackerman, of Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, the definitive primer in the field. His popular blog, The Art of Art, has been a staple of DC Velocity's web site since its inception.


Popular Tags

Recent Comments

Subscribe to DC Velocity

Subscribe to DC Velocity Start your FREE subscription to DC Velocity!

Subscribe to DC Velocity
Go digital