DEFINE – TEAMS & CUSTOMERS -conti- Performance/Stages and Dynamics

The critical goals/activities of the Team Meeting is to learn the team work process and to improve the work process.

Typical Team Operating Guidelines (IV-10)

Team Meeting Structure (IV – 11)

Sample Meeting Workflow


Sample Meeting Forms (IV – 12)

Agenda/Minutes and Meeting Attendance Log (IV-12)



LISTEN TO THIS AUDIO SUMMARY (-click to listen-)

Selecting Team Members (IV-13)

Upper management identifies those areas of the organization that are most closely associated with the problem  during the team selection process.   This identification process involves looking at the following four (4) areas:

  • Where the problem is observed or the pain is felt
  • Where sources or causes of the problem might be found
  • Among those with special knowledge, information, or skill
  • In areas that can be helpful in developing the remedy

In order to accomplish significant results in a short period of time, a cross functional team is frequently assembled.  While the best and bright are chosen, the primary requirement is that team members believe: two heads or better than one, diversity of perspectives is beneficial, and experience and knowledge are valued.  Six sigma green belts, black belts, a master black belts support the six sigma teams.

Adding New Team Members (IV-13)

  • Involve the entire team in the selection process.
  • Allow team members to advise about the skills they feel new team members should bring to the team.
  • It is important that candidates feel that they and the rest of the team have a reason to work together.
  • Involving team members in the team building process helps the entire team the much more committed to ensuring the selection decision is optimal.

Removing Team Members (IV-13)

There are many reasons why a member may need to be taken off the team.  For example, the member may lack the required skills; may show little interest in personal/professional development, there may be personality conflicts between members of the team,the team member may be too stretched or too stressed out or may even have personal problems which is preventing them from keeping his or her commitments to the team.

Team leaders or sponsoring managers and members of the team should have  a series of frank discussions with the questionable team member.  The conversations focus on what’s expected, what’s at stake, and/or what’s not happening which needs to happen, or even what is happening that shouldn’t be happening.  If the situation doesn’t improve, the team member must be removed.

Team Size

A team can consist of members from a single area or it can be comprised of a group of representatives from multiple parts of the organization.  Each person may be a subject matter expert (SME) who understands the processes and activities of concern.  It is usually not practical to include every person who could be involved thus, an optimal team size should be realized.

Conventional wisdom is that teams of more than 20 people, some rationalize over 15, become to  difficult to manage and render themselves ineffective because they weaken the active participation of all team members.  To the contrary, teams consisting of 4 people or less may not generate enough ideas in order to draw sound conclusions.  A significant change management principal embraces the notion that people will be more readily accepting and supportive of change, if they are included in the development of the solution.  Consequently, finding the  optimal  team-size  balance requires careful consideration.  This is decision-making process becomes even more critical when the group is extended to customers of the process.  Such extended consideration generates an even larger group of people whose collective buy-in is needed in order to ensure successful change.

special efforts must be engaged to involve the larger group in the understanding of the initial teams charter as well as the collection of required information.  Inputs and ideas should be sought from the larger group as the solutions set is developed.  Successful teams organize, develop, and implement a communication plan to gain the participation, support, and ultimately, the commitment of the entire department or operation.

Team Diversity

In order to achieve optimal performance, a team needs diversity in the orientation of its individual team members.  Some team members are needed who are primarily oriented towards task and target date accomplishment.  Other team members will be needed whom hold process, planning, and organizational methods in the highest regard.  Teams also need members who nurture, encourage and communicate well.  Teams need some members who are creative and innovative.  This quality is helpful when product design, inspiration, optimism, or humor is needed.

it is important to realize that the above characteristics are not normally an assigned role.  People naturally tend to orient their thinking along one or more of the desired traits.  A solid understanding of the above strengths, and the value each brings to a team, provides the much-needed guidance for team selection.  Productive teams are sensitive to each others viewpoints.

Team (Four) Stages

Most teams go through for development stages before they become productive: forming, storming, norming, and performing.  the stages can also be cyclical.  Individuals may be storming with one teammate and performing with another.  Bruce W.  Tuckman (1965) first identified the four stages of development as follows:



Forming is to beginning stages of the team life-cycle.   In the forming stage expectations are unclear.  Members are testing the waters.  Interactions are superficial.  This is the honeymoon stage.  When a team forms, its members typically start out by exploring the boundaries of acceptable group behavior.  As each member makes the transition from individual to team member, each looks to the team leader (or facilitator) for guidance as to his or her role responsibilities.


The second team development stage is storming.  Storming consists of conflict and resistance to the group’s task and structure.  There are healthy and unhealthy types of storming.  Conflict often occurs in the following major areas: authority issues, vision and values decimates, and personality and cultural differences.  However if dealt with appropriately, the stumbling blocks can be turned into performance later.

The most difficult stage for any team to work through,  teams realize how much work lies ahead and feel overwhelmed.  They want the project to move forward but are net yet expert at team improvement skills.  They often cling to their own opinions, based on personal experience, and resists seeking the opinions of others.  This can lead to hurt feelings and unnecessary disputes.  A disciplined use of the quality improvement process and the proper tools and communication skills can assist teams members to express their various theories, lower anxiety levels, and reduce the urge to assign blame.


In the third phase, a sense of group cohesion develops.  Team members use more energy on data collection and analysis as they begin to test theories and identify root causes.  Members except other team members and develop norms for resolving conflicts, making decisions, and completing assignments.  Norming takes place in three ways.  First, as storming is overcome, the team becomes more relaxed and steady.  Conflicts are no longer as frequent and no longer throw the team off course.  Second, norming occurs when the team develops a routine.  Scheduled team meetings give a sense of predictability and orientation.  Third, norming is cultivated through team building events and activities.  Norming is a necessary transition stage.  A  team can’t performed if it doesn’t norm.



This is the payoff stage.  The group has developed its relationships, structure, and purpose.  The team begins to tackle the task at hand.  The team begins to work effectively and cohesively.  During this stage the team may still have its ups and downs.  Occasionally, feelings that surfaced during the storming stage may occur.


In most since single projects the team disbands.  This step is called on adjourning to the rhyme with four other team stages (forming, storming, norming, and performing).  Adjourning is also a very common practice for non six sigma companies in regard to project teams, task forces and ad hoc teams.

Build Phase (Forming/Storming)

  • Group will be uncertain
  • Group lacks cohesiveness
  • Will not easily develop consensus
  • Leader exhibits a high task/high relationship style

Developed Phase (Norming)

  • Task related work is assumed by the group
  • The group must work to involve any non–participating members
  • Leader exhibits a low task/high relationship style
  • Team focuses on presentations, task and relationships

Optimize Phase (Performing)

  • Members prioritize and perform tasks
  • Members work out decisions in a caring way
  • Conflict is accepted, but cooperation is preferred
  • Team leader is a delegator and exhibits a low–task/low–relationship style
  • Team exhibits a high–task/high–relationship style

-Click Here for More Team Concepts (IV-13 they IV-16)-

Recognition and Reward

The ultimate reason that rewards and recognition are given his to provide positive reinforcement for good performance or correct behavior, with the expectation that this performance will be repeated in the future.  The effect of the reward will depend on the perception of the person receiving the reward.  Recognition and rewards for teams and team members can be grouped into the following types:

 Material Items of significant value or equivalent:

  • Cash or gift greater than $1,000
  • Vacation time or trip
  • Patent award
  • Bonus or percent of savings/profit

Material items of incidental value or equivalent:

  • Cash less then $1,000                                                  * Picture on bulletin board
  • Trophy, plaque, certificate                                          * A meal with the boss
  • Special parking space                                                   * Name on a list

Intangible items:

  • satisfaction                                                                               * Thanks
  • Pleasure                                                                                    * Admiration
  • Friendship                                                                                * Notoriety
  • learning experience                                                                 * Prestige

Recognition are best received when they are personal to the individual receiving them.  If the report is unique, it has greater value then the same recognition the second or third time.

Team rewards should be the same for all members of the team.  Intangible rewards are generally not given from one person to another, yet people may receive them as a result of their activities.  Probably one of the best rewards is “thank you “when it is sincerely meant.