Articles categorized as:

Team Cycles

  • August 22, 2019Change of Seasons

    Schools are back in session and professional football teams are beginning the chase for a Super Bowl ring. Education and sports provide lessons in the seasonal cycles of teams. There is a time-limited window to accomplish a specific set of goals. Teams ramp up in the offseason and try to get off to a good start when the campaign begins. They navigate midseason challenges and attempt to finish with strength as the year comes to an end. Whatever the outcome, they commit to another round of growth when the next opportunity resumes. What season is your team enjoying. Choose from these four:

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  • June 18, 20194 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.

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  • May 21, 2019Why Teams Get Stuck

    Please enjoy this excerpt from The 4 Stages of a Team: How teams thrive… and what to do when they don’t.

    The ideal team flows from challenge to challenge, moving over, under, around or through obstacles. Team members understand the purpose of their struggle and keep working on the problem. Because all living things move through predictable cycles, each transition provides an opportunity to get stuck.

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  • May 2, 2019Qualities of the Best Bands

    What makes a great band? It’s more than good music that resonates with your feelings. That part is easy. You write and perform songs that use the principles of music theory to generate physical and emotional changes reflecting the mood and message of your audience. Rock, rap, blues, jazz and reggae appeal to certain people at certain times because of the visceral and cognitive response the music generates. But keeping the group that composes and plays the music together requires a much different set of skills.

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  • April 16, 2019A Team of Two

    My guitar teacher has been honing his skills as a musician and educator for about 25 years. I have been working on my chops for about 50. It has taken me twice as long to get half as good. Face it, practicing thirty-to-sixty minutes daily will never achieve the results of devoting three-to-six hours each day. Even if I step up to his pace, there aren’t enough years remaining in a human life span to learn to play at his level.

    This is why I selected him for my team of two. I will always have new goals that seem nearly out of reach, yet attainable with hard work. This partnership has an unspoken recipe.

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  • December 26, 2018Team Renewal

    Beyond quarterly and annual performance goals, December 31st is an artificial renewal. New Year’s resolutions abound and businesses big and small reset strategic direction. Arbitrary markers of progress track movement but rarely refresh the system. Rebirth usually follows significant change. Norms are disrupted and teammates adapt. Other than calendar transitions, consider these drivers of team renewal.

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  • August 7, 2018Starting the Next Season

    Sports teams and schools measure their progression in seasons. The chance to regroup is built into the rhythm of the annual cycles. Players and coaches come and go. Teachers and administrators change roles. The off-season provides the opportunity to recover from the depletion of the past year and gear up for the beginning of the next round. Even if your team doesn’t have defined seasons, the need to refresh is just as important. Here’s why.

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  • March 20, 2018Finding Your Team’s Cadence

    The easiest way to understand the value of cadence is to think about the steady, calming effect of rhythm. Cadence takes on a different meaning in music. It’s more about movement as notes, intervals, chord progressions, and syncopations transition from a state of tension to a state of resolution. What movement brings cadence to your team?

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  • January 8, 2018The Quick and Easy Team Assessment Tool

    Take a snapshot of your team. Do you share closeness and connection or are teammates guarded and distant? Is your work built on collaborative interdependence or courageous independence? Depending on where your team falls in each of these quadrants, specific team dynamics are activated. This tells you both why you are struggling and what to work on. Let’s look at each quadrant.

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  • October 19, 20175 Windows of Opportunity

    Strategic plans age quickly. Conditions often shift within months of consensus and clarity. There are many drivers of changing priorities: talent, technology, financial pressure, acquisition, and loss to name a few. Any change opens a window of opportunity to rethink direction. Consider these 5 key places to invest energy following a disruption on the team.

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  • October 5, 2017The Personal Side of Work Friendships

    Most of our waking hours are spent with professional colleagues. Family and friends own the biggest portion of our hearts but work teammates win the quantity contest. While the setting and the stakes might be different, the recipe for building strong connections is the same whether at home or at the office. Let’s look at the ingredients.

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  • February 8, 2017Four Stages of Team Growth

    Adversity teaches us how to cope. Occasionally, we come up from an underground subway platform to street level and momentarily lose our bearings. Where am I? Which way is north? In that fleeting moment where nothing looks familiar, we are lost. The fear center of our brain gets activated as we fend off panic and search for direction. Of course, no one stays lost forever. Eventually, learning occurs. Consider what might happen if we got lost on purpose. A good crisis provides many lessons. Let’s look at how growth unfolds.

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  • August 26, 2016Stay Stuck or Move Forward

    If you take a snapshot of a team, you get a glimpse of the traditional forming/storming/norming/performing moment in time. If you film a movie of the same team, you get a series of cycles filled with obstacles, problem-solving, innovation, change, and adaptation. Teams rarely follow straight-line trajectories. Most often, they evolve through multiple iterations of talent, turnover, leadership style, and culture. As the story unfolds, team wellness and productivity rises and falls. How might this impact your team?

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  • January 28, 20165 Steps to Mending Divided Teams

    Leadership transitions stir anxiety in the workforce. Often, it’s not disagreement with strategic philosophy that makes teams uneasy, but the simple fear of change. Even when the organization isn’t healthy, it’s easier to normalize the pain than it is to brace for transformation. A typical coping maneuver is to create factions within the team. Choose your side by the way you expend energy – adapting to new circumstances or trumpeting how horrible it is that we’re not who we used to be.

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  • September 15, 2015Refreshing Your Team for the Next Round of Growth

    After 15-20 years of schooling, an academic cycle is built into the rhythm of most of our lives. There is a beginning, middle, and an end followed by a period of regrouping. Activities ramp up, achieve a cadence, and eventually prepare for the next transition. The hands on the clock keep spinning as teams navigate the challenges of their circumstances. The ebbs and flows of these seasons are barely discernible but the transactions that define each cycle drive the team’s evolution. What propels your team’s growth in each stage?

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  • August 24, 2015What Makes Organizations Thrive

    What is the most basic recipe for creating and sustaining a healthy organization? Not surprisingly, it’s not much different than the path to a strong relationship: 1) Make an investment. 2) Build trust. 3) Sponsor growth. 4) Adapt to change. Here’s a quick primer on these four simple steps.

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  • June 1, 2015The Trailer Park Theory of Teams

    Teams travel through cycles. Year after year, season after season, teams are recalibrated, repopulated, redirected, and redeployed. New talent, new leadership, and new goals drive the change. Amidst these constant transformations, some things stay the same. Consider the analogy of the trailer park. Families in trailers come and go inside this community ecosystem. Yet, the entrance, roadways, concrete pads and utility hookups remain in place. The infrastructure is steady and reliable. So, what comprises your team’s infrastructure?

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  • March 24, 2015Taking the Next Step

    Somthing is wrong. Diagnosing pain is the easy part. Figuring out what to do about it is harder. Following through with those actions is the hardest. For many businesses, the impending completion of a calendar quarter signals the call to check accountability. Did we do what we promised to do? Sure, the easy part (assessment and planning) was done. Now what? What exactly is my responsibility to this team?

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  • January 29, 2013You’re in the Big Leagues Now

    Professional sports teams kick off each season with a fan fest where loyal supporters mob a local hotel for a chance to shake hands or get an autograph from a hero. Optimism always reigns. Each new season is filled with hope and dreams of a playoff appearance. Behind the scenes, executives collaborate to put the best product on the field.

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  • August 2, 2011You Call That a Team?!?

    These days, everyone sees themselves as being a part of many teams. Beyond your work colleagues, families, neighborhood groups, garage bands, and recreational athletes, to name a few, all claim ownership to team dynamics. But really, do all of these “teams” actually qualify as a team?

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  • February 28, 2011Keeping it Simple

    In the new economy, the Team Clock Institute is one of many organizations seeking to model the qualities of an “employer of choice.”  With so many metrics for best places to work, how do we make it simple?  Why would the industry’s best talent wish to engage with my team?

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  • November 24, 2010A Tale of Two Team Clocks

    Welcome back to the team Clock blog where we invite readers to participate in the Ask/Apply/Act model

    Ask: raise a team challenge

    Apply: share a story

    Act: discuss action steps for consideration

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  • June 1, 2010Existing Teams Move Through the Team Clock Many Times

    Welcome back to the Team Clock Institute’s monthly newsletter. Each month, Breakthrough Teams will invite readers to participate in an Ask/Apply/Act model:

    Ask: this month’s team challenge

    Apply: example story

    Act: action steps for consideration

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