The 3 Anchors of Team Growth

Published: December 2, 2014

1. Learn 2. Assess 3. Evolve Whether you are managing a championship caliber sports team, a global law firm, or a local school district, the recipe for healthy growth is the same. First, do your homework. Next, identify your strengths and vulnerabilities. Then, push or pull your team to the next level. First learn, next assess, and then evolve. Here’s how:


What is your model for team effectiveness? Perhaps you’re a disciple of Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing approach. Maybe you prefer Pat Lencioni’s 2002 Five Dysfunctions system. Many leaders have embraced the 2009 trademarked Team Clock methodology. Either way, take the time to absorb a best practice and embrace its language and guidance to shepherd your team in a deliberate direction.


Measure your asset and liabilities. To what degree is your team aligned with your mission? How effectively do teammates negotiate differences? What percentage of your employees is engaged and accountable? Does your workforce have the ability to take smart risks and innovate? Who on your team leads change with resilience and poise? Decide which of these variables will have the greatest impact on your strategic goals and make them targets for tactical attention.


Stability and wellness do not arise from staying the same. They are the natural consequences of the courage to transform. Teams reinvent themselves constantly in the lifespan of a thriving organization. Marriages reboot when children are added to the family. Workers reposition when teammates are promoted or let go. Businesses merge and acquire to respond to changing market conditions. The common thread is the willingness to keep moving.

It’s a three-step recipe. First learn, next assess, and then evolve. Once you’ve embraced the recipe, add a fourth step: “Repeat.”

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.