The functioning of high performance teams requires special attention to the processes by which they operate. This is particularly important in the initial stages of team formation of team building, but should be periodically examined as part of ongoing team development. The following 12 question areas are recommended to help teams explore their resources, styles, and constraints; they are designed to help the team consider important aspects of each stage of development. Clarification of these areas enables a team to more quickly establish trust, increase open expression and feedback, align efforts, and deal constructively with problem areas when they arise. This is a comprehensive version of team building discussion, and questions can be revised as needed.
Stage 1: Forming– acquaintance, assessing resources, and setting a direction
- What are our names, backgrounds, resources and skills we bring to this team, and our expectations?
- What is our understanding of the goals and objectives, which this team was organized to achieve? How can we ensure we are all going in the same direction?
- What structure, format, and style do we prefer for our meetings? What schedule structure will work for us
Stage 2: Storming– positioning for influence, constructive conflict, and complementarily of styles
- What roles do each of us prefer on a team? What are our strong and weak roles? Which do we overdrew utilize?
- What are our preferred styles of working and relating? How can these differences be used to complement each other, and be sequenced more effectively for problem solving?
- What stresses each of us? How might our typical styles change under pressure? What can we look for as signs of stress? How can we give useful feedback and support at these times?
- About what are we most likely to disagree? What are our preferred modes of conflict and conflict resolution? How can we use disagreement constructively?
Stage 3: Norming– developing cohesion & esprit; developing ways to monitor and modify norms
- What can we do to enhance the identity and cohesiveness of this group? How can we develop our own team culture?
- What norms (unspoken rules about what is (un) acceptable) do we bring in from other team experiences? What norms would we like to explicitly include or avoid in this team?
- How can we ensure a team culture in which we can freely question and update restrictive norms?
Stage 4: Performing– ensuring continued high performance
- How can we best monitor and discuss our team processes so we can continue to develop and improve?
- What team processes should we reflect on during team debriefing (e.g., participation, decision making, norms, etc.)?