You may not realize this, but every relationship or team you are part of is in the process of an evolution. Sometimes, you get stuck in the process, and can’t quite see how to get to meaningful connection with others in a way that simply leads to a high energy and high performance experience. But what if the answer is more simple than you know?

The truth is that it is quite simple.  In fact, it may be as simple as planning for it, and designing it. On purpose. With intention. After all, you create financial plans, strategic plans, and project plans. Why wouldn’t you create a relationship plan or blueprint, one that would become a roadmap for the way the team or relationship engages? Such a roadmap might provide just the guide that is needed in order to ensure the very behaviors and conditions that would allow for remarkable outcomes to be repeatedly produced.

The reality is that all teams/relationships move through predictable stages of maturity. They go through very typical stages, each of which can be expedited by a deeper and wiser understanding of both strengths and weaknesses. Consider Tuckman’s Theory of Group Formation, and these stages, as it relates to your understanding of yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and those you wish to be in effective relationships with:

  • FORMING: The team or relationship comes together and learns about the opportunities and challenges, agrees on goals, and begins to tackle tasks together. Individuals tend to behave quite independently. At this stage, you/others may be acting with or without conscious awareness of your own or others’ strengths and style, and how they may (or may not) readily coincide.   
  • STORMING: Different ideas compete for consideration.You or others address issues such as what problems you need to solve, and begin to open-up to each other and confront each other’s ideas and perspectives. Your maturity, and that of others, usually determines whether the team/relationship will ever move out of this stage. If you are uncertain of your own strengths and what they contribute here, and where you need to lean into others’ strengthsyou may try to demonstrate how much you know or convince others that your ideas are correct. You may also sit back and wait for others to make the conditions right so you feel confident and comfortable (and blame them when you don’t). The experience of weakness, evidenced by low energy and performance, will mostly be the driver of the interactions at this stage.
  • NORMING: Team members adjust their behavior to create fit with each other as they agree on rules, values, professional behavior, shared methods, working tools and even taboos. During this phase, you and others begin to design how you will be together in relationship, leveraging your understanding of your own strengths, and how they can be utilized for effective outcomes, as well as where you can draw on the strengths of others. The fear of weakness, or what others think is less important than co-creating from a place of strength.
  • PERFORMING: Team members are interdependent and functioning with a high degree of maturity and effectiveness. Here, you are leveraging your strengths to benefit the team, and confidently leaning into others’ expertise in areas where you are less inclined to perform with excellence. Dissent is expected and allowed, as long as it is channeled through means acceptable means.

True high performance, individually and collectively, requires that each person has a clear understanding of their strengths, along with these things: the conditions under which they flourish, the way they can triggered in to becoming weaknesses, and how to embrace weakness as a natural part of humanness. This requires letting go of ego, judgment of self and others, and allowing the “we” to be bigger than the “me.” If you, individually do this, you become a pathway for others to also to see differently, and you thus, create the conditions for Norming and the high performance that inevitably follows.    

You can accelerate your team’s movement into performing by also defining a clear, shared purpose. To learn more about team development, go to our Organizational Development Page at