Musings of the FAcilitator
Since the turn of 2022, we’ve tightened the sails and steadied the helm to cruise through a challenging but rewarding year, with organisations yearning to shake off the rust of COVID-19 times.
In the last 2 quarters, we have delivered 199 number of programmes for MNCs, SMEs, Government Agencies and Non-profit Organisations.
Reviewing the data and experiences, we observed four focus areas of teams who have walked through our doors in 2022:
Referencing Bruce Tuckman’s Team Development Model, there are five stages in a relationship – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. The model states that everyone will start from the Forming stage when there is a new relationship. From there, teams move progressively towards the Performing stage where they are then able to execute with synergy.
The Covid Babies
The turbulent covid times threw the workforce into disarray with huge turnover, redefining of workplace roles, and murky confusion matching skills and productivity. New hires coming into the scene went straight into working from home and though they were comfortable, a good portion could still feel the jitters.
Many organisations saw themselves back to the Forming stage with these new members joining in, with the challenge being to claw their way out of the Forming stage and cruise into the Storming stage. The lack of physical interaction meant that teams were unable to have face-to-face conflict resolution opportunities.
This phenomenon has created two scenarios, 1) everyone stays at the Forming stage and remains ineffective as a team and 2) teams having a pseudo Norming false preset that they are all working together well.
The lack of physical interactions had eliminated the Storming stage and left teams stagnant.
The silver lining is that some leaders have recognised this phenomenon in the early stage and they started creating small group gatherings virtually and/or physically. They created mentorship programmes for onboarding processes that allowed the new hires to feel welcomed and created a sense of belonging.
Since Apr 2022, we saw an influx in teams coming for physical teambuilding, it was evident that many organisations needed to break away from the Forming stage to become effective and efficient
To combat a lowered sense of belonging and purpose, organisations have started to return to physical teambuilding.
Being a teambuilding provider, our role is not to make the team members feel the sense of belonging or give them their purpose. We have customised and curated programmes to get teams to acknowledge what is lacking and formulate action plans. The outcome of the programme is for the teams to acknowledge the gaps and to have them derive their own action plans to move forward as a team.
Through the interventions, we have noticed that leaders have acknowledged this phenomenon and made arrangements for the individuals to have the sense of belonging to the Organisation, such as arranging team dinners, having team retreats and arranging for face to face sessions to build their purpose to align with that of the Organisation again.
The observation of the team moving back to the Forming stage, they are forgiving for mistakes and each other’s different perspectives.
Seniors are more patient and willing to help out the juniors. Interestingly some juniors could have been with the organisation for nearly three years now, and getting this excellent treatment makes the working atmosphere pleasing.
Yet, this forgiving nature could be temporary since everyone is still in the Forming stage. The actual test happens during a Storming stage when people become comfortable working with each other and start sharing their opinions and emotions.
One of the interventions we did in FOCUS Adventure was to quicken the process from Forming to Storming at least by the end of the programme to ensure that teams do not stay in the pseudo-norming stage where everyone thinks that they are performing well as a team, when in fact the lack of storm creates silent frustrations which might build, and explode with time.
Finally, we have seen how the new employee has been bold and willing to build bridges with the seniors. In the olden days, juniors would not take the step to take this action but silently followed instructions. This created the phenomenon of the “Monkey Experiment”, where sometimes people don’t know why they are doing what they are doing. But today’s new hires are well aware and came prepared with the “Why” question.
This “Why” question they asked is not to put down their seniors in the organisation but to build bridges, to understand the seniors and the organisation better.
Some teams welcome this movement as it gets everyone to move into a new dimension and start thinking differently. But there is also the team dominated by the seniors, who still have the older mentality of “listen to instructions first before giving ideas”.
Of course there is debate as there is no right or wrong, the answer depends on the situation that we are in. What matters is to see the other perspective and to remember that at the end of the day, to build bridges between individuals.
This year has been exciting, with teams back physically. The question now will then be, is this new phenomenon helpful and effective?