Friday, June 20, 2008

Block, Lencioni & Tuckman

Every since Tuckman (1965) published the stages of group developmen (Forming-> Storming-> Norming-> Forming), leaders have known the path to team development and been searching for tools to help their teams become successful. I want to recommend two resources that ease the journey.

  • In 2002, Patrick Lencioni published "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" and laid out for leaders, the barriers or bumps on the Tuckman model (See my earlier post on Lencioni's work). Lencionia's work, while not significantly innovative (it is built on work that others have done) presented a simple model that framed the path to failure; and more importantly, framed the steps to avoiding failure as a leader of a team. The model is a simple "to do" list for navigating through Tuckmans Storming state and ensuring a strong norm set. The linear model is:
    1. Build Trust
    2. Create an environment of constructive conflict and debate
    3. Ensure commitment
    4. Hold each other accountable
    5. Focus on Results
  • This year, 2008, Peter Block has published what I believe will be his best book. The book, Community, The Structure of Belonging, resonates with leaders seeking to build a culture of success, but also paints a road map for leaders seeking to be high performing teams. Of most significance in the book, is Blocks careful examination of the conversations teams need to have to be successful. The series of conversations (and questions to ask the group) are a tool kit for leaders who are seeking to navigate Tuckman's team development journey. This is a must read. I will encourage you by asking a few of Block's questions:
    • What have I done to contribute to the very thing I complain about or want to change?
    • What story am I telling myself about the team? What is the payoff to me to keep holding on to this story? What is my attachment to this story costing me?
    • What has someone done on your team that has touched you or moved you or been of value to you?
Both of these resources are good starting points for leaders who are frustrated with their teams. Much of what I do now when working with teams begins with these two authors and the questions: "What does this team need to focus on?" and "What conversation do we need to have?"
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