Training and Coaching
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Team life cycle - benefits analysis

Team life-cycle (after Bruce Tuckman)

Transition States has taken several approaches to organizational advancement, depending on issues to be resolved or new opportunities to be captured:


Team-building retreats and exercises
Assessment, including interviews and various psychometrics
Mission-Vision-Values elicitation and development
Distributed leadership
Organizational re-design


Many problems are resolved by simple coaching of a "difficult" employee or manager. These are often the people with the most to offer an organization: if everyone accommodates slightly, new thinking and operating styles can greatly enrich the whole. The best time to create alignment is of course, at the beginning. Some of our work has been with newly formed groups desiring to establish trust, respect and clarity before getting caught up in the stresses of a new mission.

One of the major performance challenges of times past was stagnation: the inertia of old habits prevented progress when new possibilities emerged. This is sometimes described as the "building better buggy-whips" problem. In the new millennium, excessively rapid change is often a bigger issue: teams never get a chance to stabilize in composition, activities and roles before getting new managers or assignments, being sold or spun off or merged. And it still happens that an existing group can grow complacent, needing to be re-energized around purpose.

In most cases, one of our main forms of assistance is to help clarify mission in the context of corporate strategy. (See also comments on shared goals and driver values in Negotiation and Facilitation.) Most corporate mission statements are about aspiration: who we want to be in the world. Really influential statements also address how we are going to get there—operational and market focus, decision-making procedures, corporate identity. It is easy to identify an effective mission statement: people who read it say either "Yes, that's me as I am and want to be; that's the company I'm proud to work for." Or if not an employee, "That's a company with which I want to do business." As Lao Tzu said of good management: the near are happy and productive, the distant are attracted.

An important guiding principle is distributed leadership. Managers are appointed and hold positional authority. But everyone in a workgroup—including vendors, customers and other partners—has the opportunity to lead in some way. That can mean manufacturing staff noting and reporting safety issues and ways to improve efficiency, secretaries noting means of improving work flow, etc. And it all happens when goals and values are aligned with reward structures that honor commitment, creativity and positive contribution to the long-term success of all.