Are you familiar with Tuckman’s theory of group development? In 1965, psychologist Bruce Tuckman defined “forming, storming, norming and performing” as the stages a group follows in order to become a high performing team. In 1977, Tuckman added a fifth stage, “adjourning” that involves completing the mission and breaking up the team.
The forming stage occurs when the team first comes together. Team members are learning about each other and the opportunities and challenges of the mission ahead of them. This is the team leader’s opportunity to start well and set the stage for success. Have a conversation with your team and discuss the following:
- Purpose – why does the team exist?
- Results – what are the expected outcomes and success criteria?
- Boundaries – how big is the sand box the team is playing in?
- Norms – what are the rules of engagement for describing how the team will work together?
Creating the charter with the team at the forming stage builds a shared understanding of why the team exists and what it is trying to accomplish. If your team has been in existence without a charter you can still discuss these topics and develop a charter.
For more details about the various sections, check out our sample Team Charter.