Change in team norms from crisis to stability Create-Learning team building and leadership

In an earlier post, I listed 5 challenges in creating and sustaining team performance.

This post is looking at changes in team norms.

Changes in Team Norms

Team norms that develop during a crisis are likely to be dysfunctional during periods of stability.

During a crisis, what is normal, within boundaries, is very different than when a team is stable. Team norms in crisis will be dysfunctional during stability.

During a crisis, management teams often develop the norm of individual managers completing their tasks & reporting their progress in team meetings. The overt feeling of conflict & frustration between managers & teams is minimized by deferring resource allocation decisions to the most senior manager. These norms work & make sense when the company’s survival is at stake & deadlines are tight. These norms are no longer helpful when the management team needs to set a strategic direction for the company & revise how resources + authority are allocated.

What’s the management team to do with this challenge?
  1. Acknowledge that norms are behavior that works at that time to accomplish a task. Behavior changes as the goals, roles, procedures change.
  2. Consider changing team members from the time of crisis to stability. While the management team may stay consistent, inviting other people & stakeholders will change the team composition & behaviors.
  3. Meet in a different location than where the meeting & planning happened for the crisis. Locations carry psychological weight, if the team met in a ‘War Room’ during the crisis, making that same room the ‘Collaboration Location’ with the same team members is tough. It is better to have separate meeting rooms.
  4. Be cautious about creating unnecessary crisis when it is not needed. We can become adrenaline junkies from the crisis & power drunk off the authority to make unilateral decision to get things done quickly.
  5. Enjoy & accept the ambiguity that stable sustainable teams create. This is a good thing & can be used to move into innovative & different product/service improvements & ideas.