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Team Cycles

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The 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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Four 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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Stay 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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5 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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Refreshing 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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