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Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing

Hank Czarnecki’s blog this week was entitled “Disciplined People-Disciplined Thought-Disciplined Action”.  As I read it, I thought about how true the message was…that “A culture of discipline is not just about action. It is about getting disciplined people...who engage in disciplined thought and...who then take disciplined action."


We’ve probably all been part of a process improvement team that has required us to think in a different way than we are accustomed to.  Some call it “thinking outside-the-box.”  My impression of thinking outside-the-box has always been to encourage your mind to think differently.  But maybe we shouldn’t be thinking outside-the-box, but thinking with discipline and structure.  It might be that in order to scan the environment for opportunities, we need to do it in a methodical way…with more discipline.


Lately, I have been thinking about the (unofficial) four stages of a project team…Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.  It would be great if we could go straight from Forming to Performing, but it might be that we are not using disciplined thought from the beginning.  There is so much emotion and energy lost as we try to get going in the right direction.


I’m not sure about the relationship, but it has caused me to think about it…Thanks for a great blog Hank.

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Comment by Robert (Bob) Petruska on March 12, 2011 at 5:11pm

Hi Mark.  Your insights are spot on regarding brainstorming.  I really liked this article from fastcompany on brainstorming, and thought it might be pertinent.  Please let me know what you think.


I also like John G. Miller's book "QBQ!"on personal accountability.  I actually use his approach to growing teams and increasing performance quite frequently. 

My focus is less on discipline and more on enabling, empowering, and nurturing talent by removing obstacles and liberating human potential.  All of this takes time and energy -- "starting slow to go fast" is needed for teams to perform.  I have also noted that teams do not necessarily march forward in a linear manner, and sometimes need time to take a step back and storm it out. 


All of this creates trust, and that becomes the foundation for good communication -- which is essential for high performance...


One final note is that I believe there may be a fifth stage "disbanding".  We spend so much time planning, less time on executing, and finally very little to no time is spent celebrating and mourning.  I like using the concept of an "Irish Wake", to relive the many trails, hurdles, laughter, sadness, and the joy that occurs with finally reaching our goal.  Disbanding is of course best done at a local watering hole!


Thanks for sharing,




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