Form, Storm, Norm, Perform

I was outside with some friends over the summer, one of whom is a school soccer coach, and we had been talking about what it is that makes great teams great. I enjoy speaking to to coaches and those who have played for good coaches (just ask Ryan about how I always bug him for Coach K stories) — they always appear to have the greatest social hacks for people to work nicely together.

College teams can be especially tricky to handle since the playoffs is short and there is a good deal of player turnover — so the team dynamic is continually being reset.

My trainer friend described the procedure as”Form, Storm, Norm, and Perform”. At the moment, I took it to be another one of those witty and convenient coach-isms, but, alas, it turns out that this is an established set performance framework developed by psychology professor Bruce Tuckman back in 1965.

By way of instance, Plaid, which I mentioned last week, was obtained by Visa now for $5.3B — a excellent product and from what I hear a very positive and effective team culture. Definitely in the”Perform” stage:-)

What I particularly like about the frame is that it acknowledges the significance of, or the temporal presence of, the”storm” stage. The storm stage can be hard once you’ve never been through it before, as it contains conflict and you are unsure if it is going to end. But it will, and in the best scenarios, working through this is what empowers you, and your staff, to perform and norm.

Most importantly, what the frame reminds me of is that teamwork and achievement are about chemistry. Chemistry is difficult to define, but it’s a lot to do with confidence. It’s a beautiful thing when it comes together.

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