All teams cycle through four stages.
In the Investment Stage, teams get clarity about norms and direction while learning how to manage conflict constructively. This lays the foundation for collaboration. Differences are empowered as strengths.
In the Trust Stage, teams commit to respect and accountability. This creates a platform of psychological safety for connection and shared work. Trusting teams are better equipped to handle the anxieties of growth and change.
In the Innovation Stage, teams harness the stability of investment and trust to explore and discover. Finding solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems requires teams to capitalize on diversity and take smart risks. Unlike the comfort of the trust stage, the innovation stage relies on the development that arises from discomfort.
In the Distancing Stage, teams take a step back to evaluate the changes they have sparked. Change feels like loss for most people so emotional depletion is normal. Once teammates have refueled and gotten perspective, they can refocus on their new circumstances and move forward to the next investment stage.
All teams are always transitioning through or between stages. Like seasons, each stage is necessary for the evolution of the team. Whether setting the course, forming connections, creating change or adapting to stress, every teammate has a role to play. In what season is your team?