Tag Archives for " connections "

What is a team?

When defining "What is a team," the business dictionary says a team is

A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.

Team members:

  1. operate with a high degree of interdependence
  2. share authority and responsibility for self-management
  3. are accountable for the collective performance
  4. work toward a common goal and shared rewards(s).

A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.

Teams are not simple!

Gosh, that above definition sounds simple(ish) and seems to suggest “so come on what is your problem, this is all obvious and easy”.

When you look at teams there are functional to dysfunctional teams. There are once-was-functional to almost-there-functional. And there is everything in between.

So how do you assist teams to move into functional, whether they are new or old teams?

We will be discussing teams over the coming weeks, developing the four stages below in a more detailed manner.

A foundational theory of Teams

This theory is an old one and a good one - Tuckman’s theory of teams.

There are many others but this theory is practical. What I mostly love is that you can see it. And I know how valuable it is to go through each step with the advantage of not lingering in any of the early stages identified by Tuckman.

The first stage is forming when people are orienting themselves to one another, getting to know one another.

The second stage of storming is when people tend to become a little fractious

The third stage is when the team build roles and rules to bring great functionality to the team.

The ultimate stage in Tuckman’s work is the team is performing where people have defined their purpose, understand the presence of chaos, and are willing to embrace the edge of chaos because they understand the individuals in the team and what they bring.

What are the components of Performance?

I now appreciate that there is great value gained by understanding the components of the team stages. This understanding will provide movement of the team through the lower stages and seek the performing stage.

Forming, when done well, as the team above has done, allows people to get to know one another, to find common ground and understanding. Storming, if understood and identified, will ensure that a team sees it’s vulnerabilities, passions and sharp edges.

If, in the first two stages, honesty and openness have been confirmed and reinforced then the third stage, norming, will be about developing behaviours and unwritten rules that allow, rather than restrict, the edge of chaos activity that stretches a team into performance. A performance level that is not just doing the “job” but much more.

So to get to performance have a look at our tips below. Or register for the Affectus Teams Intensive Workshop

What about the personality layer?

It is important to see teams and personalities as highly connected. Because they are highly connected!

At Affectus we use the highly valued Big Five Inventory. There is so much discussion about the five big traits and we are pleased to have used this tool in our programs for the last 15 years. Our reading on the Big Five now informs significant portions of our work. In the future, we will be exploring the breadth of understanding this tool will bring to your teams.

Quick Tips – Fast-tracking through Tuckman’s Stages

Moving from Forming to Storming

Ensure that forming is done in a manner that allows people (everyone in the team) to actually get to know one another's personal insights and professional understanding. Develop some guidelines so that the team experiences “getting to know us”.

Getting through Storming

All teams need to go through this stage. Some teams get stuck here. The skill is understanding what storming is about and letting people know what is happening. Storming goes from people displaying their power and passion to dysfunctional behaviour if the displays are not acknowledged and discussed.


Norms are about conscious (and perhaps written) rules that make sense, to weird “accepted” behaviour. The latter need to be called out and addressed early and openly in a team that is going through the stages. In a team where norms are entrenched due to dysfunction then vulnerability in the leadership behaviour that may be of highest value. People willing to share in a vulnerable manner the “madness” of accepted behaviour that is undermining the opportunities for the team to reach for the edge of chaos...can help.


We all know what that feels like. If you observe a team at an earlier stage understand and acknowledge that is expected. If you see a team stagnating in one of the earlier stages then have the courage to explain and assist them to get to performing (not once in a while performing mind you) and stay there.

Invite your team to our Teams Intensive.

Why Your Why

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
- Cecli Beaton

When you have found your why the above quote seems to make more sense.

I recently had lunch with a woman who always gets me thinking…always. We spoke about our voices of doubt that still pop up. Her’s is mastering a particularly challenging landing in her plane. Mine when I am thinking of a particularly arduous walk.

As I contemplated our challenging lunch conversation that evening I realised how connected the voices of doubt are to our ability to function effectively on our purpose – to be in our Why – to work where we are most passionate and with all our gifts. I also realised that when we are firmly working in our Why space that the voices of doubt/ the sense of “I can’t” are silent.

Why Your Why?

Your purpose is important.

January Connections provided a starting point about the idea of why and and we continue to delve further about “why” in this edition.

Some of you will know that we, at Affectus, are pretty keen on the concept of purpose. Simon Sinek calls it “why”. Simon explains that people connect with us because they understand and connect with our why and to know our why is a valuable addition at any level. Simon talks specifically about how useful this is for businesses, here.

At Affectus, our purpose – our Why - is all of the above and more.

“Why” is a deep understanding of what drives us and this invariably is connected to our values and passions and gifts.

These three elements underpin our current reading and research.  Affectus’ current work has helped both us and our clients deeply connect with why we are all driven to do things. Or, in some instances why some continue to gaze over the fence and look at the greener pastures.

Affectus' Why is about transforming leaders.

Taking people through:

  • processes of values identification
  • visualising their passions
  • visualising their motivators
  • understanding the gifts and skills they possess

This ensures they are able to step into leadership with a sense of “this is my space, my leadership space”.

This takes great courage but if you are clear about your Why then your thinking will be less clouded by those “voices of doubt”.

At Affectus, we work hard at verbalising and therefore maximising the “Can” so that we are ALL able to work with others and shape the future.

But what does all of that actually mean?

What is your why and how can you find it?

It sometimes comes with a thud…

  • "I want to take people wandering through villages in the ancestral homeland”
  • “I see that I have been avoiding this really important and challenging and life-saving work now I have named it I must do something about it”.

These were two "thuds" from attendees at our recent Exploring Your Why Workshops.

Or perhaps you already fully understand your why and you are already in your leadership space because of that. Or because, even though it has never been named as your “Why”, it is what you love doing and you are pretty good at it.

Or perhaps you need to think through the three areas to consider:

  • Values
  • Passions
  • Gifts

So why is your why so important?

Well, simply, because it requires less effort to be spending your time there.

For me, when I am working on my purpose, it is not always easy. Actually most of the time it is really hard but I am focused on my Why, something that I see as important, and I am pouring my passion and skills into something that is valuable. So while it is hard being there it required less effort because I feel alive when I'm there.

"Oh come on"…the voices are deafening…"OH COME ON!" But, actually, I think I am right.

If you think about your last 5 days what made you:

  • Light-up
  • Feel alive
  • Make you hum

Was it something you love doing? Pretty likely.

You can actually hear people whistling, humming - there they are!