Is the team building stages
model (FSNP) helpful?
The traditional team building stages model
explains that teams have to go sequentially
through the four following team building stages
or phases (FSNP): Forming, Storming, Norming
We are widely using since the 1970s this
model of team building phases for many team
related activities, including to justify:
- Forming: the
stage where team members get to know each
other and discover their goal and major
tasks. As team members discover this new
context and tasks, they tend to focus on
their own personal interpretation.
- Storming: the stage where team
members have to decide on what exact problem(s) the team will
work, how they will handle conflicting views, how they will decide
/ implement / follow issues together... The worst, but very real,
scenario is that the team remain stuck forever in this contentious and
sometimes rough stage.
- Norming: the stage where team members
adjust collectively their behavior to each other and converge on
their rules, methods, tools and even some "undiscussable". Mutual trust and
performance grow significantly. The danger of
this phase is stifling the positive
creativity of team members with different
the stage where the team members are
handling conflict easily, are interdependent,
are collectively focused on the goal and do
produce great results.
But it has never been statistically validated !
Recent studies attempting to check its validity
came to the conclusion that the Storming stage
is not part of the sequence. The stages are FNP
(or FPN) and Storming can happen at any
time during the life of a team.
- answers to "why team building?" or "what
is team building?"
- the timing of many techniques
- the sequencing of specific activities.
So this model does not help us for team
building, beyond that Forming comes before a
combination of Norming and Performing. But that
you knew before coming here !
The key unanswered questions are:
- What does provoke Storming?
- How can we minimize the Storming
My conclusion is
that the root
issue of Storming are defensive
interactions in reaction to difficult
problems. And Storming disappears when
interactions become constructive.
team building stages to root team building
Return from team building stages to
team building results