4 Stages, 3 Questions

Every team is in a state of transition. Some are regrouping following a major change. Others are building a culture of trust and accountability. Still others are using that platform of trust to generate something new. Many teams are anticipating a transition and bracing themselves to cope. Whatever stage your team is managing, there are always three questions to ask.

Question 1: What stage are we navigating?

Investment: Resetting norms and goals following a transition and learning how to manage conflict productively.

Trust: Harnessing respect and connection to empower a culture of safety and accountability.

Innovation: Leveraging the foundation of trust to explore, discover and create new ways of solving problems.

Distancing: Embracing the change we’ve created or endured by refueling and refocusing on our new circumstances.


Question 2: Why are we in this stage?

Investment: Our team has cycled through a change and has a window of opportunity to reestablish norms and direction.

Trust: Our team has come together to achieve a common goal and we need to build a reliable platform upon which to grow.

Innovation: Our team is ready to stretch, experiment and explore.

Distancing: Our team needs to step back, gain perspective and replenish our energy to face the new challenges ahead.


Question 3: What actions will move us forward?

Investment: Gain clarity on workplace culture and shared vision. Learn how to invite respectful differences as fuel for future innovation.

Trust: Equip everyone on the team with an imaginary referee whistle to call a gentle foul whenever a teammate steps outside the agreed culture.

Innovation: Embrace fear as a normal emotion and allow it to fuel smart risk-taking.

Distancing: Take time to mourn what has been lost so the team can regroup and re-energize for the next round of investment.

The four stages are always cycling. Knowing here you are and why you are there enables you to chart a path forward. Whether proactive or reactive, always ask three questions.