It is not just a matter of new members joining the group. It is also a matter of new task assignments being introduced in the group or Team. When a group or Team takes on a new project or is faced with new challenges, it must temporarily return to the forming stage. There are often renewed concerns about inclusion. “Do I still want to be a member of this group or Team given the new project/challenge?” In addition, there must often be a revisited review of how the group or Team will deal with conflict, establish norms, and identify best ways to perform. Never a dull moment!
We close by advocating for ongoing learning. Since groups are going through stages of development and this cycle of development is re-engaged with the introduction of new members or new projector challenge, members of the group should become Appreciative Learners. They should Identify ways in which groups and teams of which they are a member tend to operate and move through stages of development. Members of a group (and particularly its leaders) should Identify ways in which a successful group or team of which they are a member can operate and move through stages of development. They should also identify ways in which unsuccessful groups of which they have been a member have failed to move through stages of development.
There is much to be learned about how effective Teams are formed and maintained. We learn by examining and openly reflecting on past experiences and sharing current experiences – both good and bad. A Learning-Based Group can more readily become a Team then can a group that simply plunges forward without much reflection. In learning from the past, the effectively functioning Team establishes the precedence (and norm) of similarly learning from the present (the Team’s current functioning). Furthermore, in learning from the past and present, a successful Team will be learning into the future (preparing for the next challenge and task). This journey of collective learning among Team members becomes a wonderful traveling companion to the developmental journey taken by members of a group as they transform into an effectively functioning Team.
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