No More Touchy Feely Team Building Workshops

All too often, leadership wants to jump ahead to strategic planning before stabilizing the infrastructure of their teams. In the classic Tuckman group theory of Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing, they prefer to skip the “storming” and “norming” phases. They’re uncomfortable – too touchy feely. Let’s just form and perform. Unfortunately, teams can’t sustain performance without storming and norming. The conflict and diversity that characterizes these phases are necessary ingredients for team effectiveness.

In the cycle of team development, the hard work of hammering out rules, roles, boundaries, differences, philosophy, mission, values, and vision is the foundation that supports creativity, exploration, discovery, and innovation. When teammates go out on a limb with a new perspective, they need to know the safety net beneath them is secure. When colleagues manage significant changes in the workplace, they rely on the closeness and collaboration they forged with coworkers to refocus on the road ahead. In short, the discomfort of the touchy-feely stuff eventually becomes the fuel for successful navigation of growth and change.

Take the time to build the foundation by answering these questions as a team. Make sure to allow for respectful conflict and disagreement in the process.


  1. Why do we exist? Why do we believe our work is important?
  2. What do we do? What are the products and services we aspire to deliver?
  3. How do we do it? How do we go about our work that distinguishes us from our peers?
  4. What is our goal? What is our long term vision for the team?

The vision pyramid becomes the filter through which all future actions can be evaluated. It anchors your team’s footing. Once it is in place, feel free to move forward with strategy. Your team’s culture will support it.