A key aspect of managing teams is ensuring they reach high levels of performance. Teams usually undergo several phases to make that happen. Tuckman’s stages of group development exemplify this process well.
I personally experienced Tuckman’s theory while developing teams at Scout24 and previous jobs. Consequently, it’s been absolutely rewarding to see our team achieving excellent results.
Reaching the Performing stage is an enormous accomplishment but it poses an interesting problem: over time the perception of great performance becomes the new standard. As a result, you’re again faced with the goal of boosting your team’s performance.
How do you do that? Read on.
One detail often missed in Tuckman’s work is that it’s not a one-time process. Changes such as the start of a new manager, moving to a new office or losing a headcount could trigger the Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing cycle again. As a manager, I exploit this concept to cause positive disruptions in my teams, allowing them to discover better ways to function as a group and individuals.
Below I would like to share 3 ideas that have enabled the teams at Scout24 to experience that:
Last year we launched the Engineering rotation program at Scout24. Newcomers and current employees had the opportunity to spend 2 (or more) weeks working in another team.
The rotation does a great job fostering Scout24 core values. The goal is to promote our engineers' success by helping them to build their social connections, learn new skills and broaden their business knowledge of other functions in the company.
Approximately 10 rotations have happened and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. It's also interesting to see how small changes can lead your team to quickly go through Tuckman's cycle.
As an example, my team recently hosted an engineer for 4 weeks. He suggested we changed the way we run our daily standups. That led to a short discomfort. Nevertheless, our team adapted to it and remained running standups in the new format.
Next year Scout24 will have a brand new office in the heart of Berlin Europacity. There, we will probably adopt a free-desk policy: employees could literally sit anywhere in the office. Its intent is to promote teamwork by having a flexible working space.
I was very excited about that idea but I didn’t want to wait so long. As we were moving to a new area in our current office, I suggested we could adopt the policy. The team was open to the idea so we decided to give it a go.
The setup was simple: every desk should have 2 monitors and 1 docking station. The guest just had to plug and play.
We had a few organizational and technical problems but they were quickly addressed. As the main outcome, the free-desk policy empowered us to find new ways of working together and build a sustainable work environment.
Life is about having fun. The same applies to your team. Celebrate your achievements together. Empathize with each other. Learn new things. Build a prodigious culture.
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Let me know what you think in the comments below. I’d also be glad if you share which ideas have worked for your teams. Cheers!