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Entrepreneurs Vehicle for Success – Part 1

In the previous article we determined the opportunity. You have to make good use of this wonderful opportunity. You cannot do it yourself. You need a vehicle to achieve this. There are two components which are equally important for the success of the opportunity.

The first is the formation of a team. Please let me draw your attention to the fact that team formation is totally different from team building and team work. The first step is formation of a team then building it and then team work.

There are many team theories but in this article we will explore the theory “Tuckman’s Stages” which in my humble opinion is the most successful theory. This theory was developed in 1965  by Bruce Tuckman, an American Psychologist with four stages and added a fifth stage in 1977.

Before we explore this theory let me emphasize the following points. The team will drive a venture forward more than the product or services. The team will transform a creative idea into a commercially viable one. Venture Capitals prefer a first class team with a  second class idea. The team needs a leader and a legal vehicle.

At the onset of forming a team you should ask the following questions first. What are the tasks that need to be completed by the team? What skills does the team need to complete these tasks effectively?  What, exactly, does this team need to do?  Which people have the necessary skills?  How long will it take to complete the task?  How will the team know when the task is completed?  How will the team measure the ongoing progress?  How will the team recognize and reward team members?  How will the team actively exploit individual ideas and skills?

Bruce Tuckman’s original model had four stages Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and he later added a fifth stage Adjourning.

1st Stage Forming

This stage is highly dependent on leader for guidance and direction. There is not much agreement on team goals other than those received from leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are uncertain and need to be defined. The Leader must be prepared to handle lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships. Leadership style is likely to be the “tells” type.

 2nd Stage Storming

This stage involves a lot of contesting and debating on team decisions. Team members will be seeking positions by attempting to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader. The leader may receive challenges from the team members. The aims become more defined but uncertainty will still exist.

Cliques and factions may be formed and there may be power struggles.

Leadership is likely to have moved to a more “sells” type.

3rd Stage Norming

In this stage agreement and consensus tend to have been reached, with minor disagreement. Roles and responsibilities should be defined and accepted. Big decisions are made collectively by group agreement. Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within a group. The team discusses and develops its working “guidelines”, processes and working style.

4th Stage Performing  

In this stage the team is clear about its function. The team has a shared knowledge and understanding and requires little input from the leader. The team starts to focus on achieving goals, and the team makes the most of the decisions based on agreed criteria with the leader.  Disagreements still occur but  they are resolved positively by the team. Team members look after each other and share common “bond” and group individuality.

This theory was amended by the original theorist (Bruce Tuckman) and a fifth stage called Adjourning, which is also referred to as Deforming and Mourning was added.

5th Stage Adjourning

This stage is the break-up of the group. Hopefully the project is fulfilled at this stage. The team can move on to new things, feeling good about what’s been achieved.  Feelings of insecurity would be natural for people with high ‘steadiness’ attributes.

During the Forming Stage

You need to allow time for team members to get acquainted. Review the team’s purpose and goals, and share individual goals. Share strengths and challenges related to working on teams. Create initial guidelines for working together. Determine task-related details. Develop team communication and conflict management skills proactively. Conduct a group check-in at the end of meetings. Provide active task and process leadership.

During the Storming Stage

You need to promote open and constructive communication. Allow conflicts. Manage conflicts collaboratively. Focus on short-term goals. Encourage a positive and supportive atmosphere. Provide empowering leadership.

During the Norming Stage

You need to maintain open communication. Increase focus on performance goals. Acknowledge team members and celebrate team achievements. Encourage shared leadership.

During the Performing Stage

You need to encourage innovation. Conduct periodical team assessments. Continue to acknowledge and celebrate successes. Share team leadership roles.

During the Adjourning Stage

Adjourning is arguably more of an adjunct to the original four stage model rather than an extension. It views the group from a perspective beyond the purpose of the first four stages.  The Adjourning phase is certainly very relevant to  people in the group and their well-being, but not to the main task of managing and developing a team, which is clearly central to the original four stages.

In the next article we shall look at the second part of success vehicle.

6 comments to Entrepreneurs Vehicle for Success – Part 1

  • Ravi

    get the articles coming

  • Lim

    Good to know how to build a team

  • Kumar

    Is it really that easy?

    • Entrepreneur

      Hi Kumar
      Thanks It is not that easy at all. It requires alot of hard work but what this tells us is that we can build a good team as long as we are willing to do so.

  • Anupama Gopal

    Interesting reading Prof.Muthu. J.Richard Hackman’s ‘Leading Teams’ lists corporate strategies for successful teams as 1. They must be real 2. Need a compelling direction 3. Require enabling structures 4. Need a supportive organisation and expert coaching.

    Personally for me Obama’s team from its inception is an interesting study. Quick to be formed, it had people with strong temperaments and contrasting views, with the likes of Hillary Clinton and Jim Jones. Obama has displayed unusual certainity, in his ability to work with team members who shared different opinions. Probably, it was his belief that competition brought out their best performances!

    In sport the Australian Cricket Team is another favorite. Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist, had probably the worst personal differences, but together in the team, their contributions made the Australian team, a Superpower in Cricket world for over a decade and a half!!

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