- Photo credit Jim Hooper
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?
- Acknowledge that norms are behavior that works at that time to accomplish a task. Behavior changes as the goals, roles, procedures change.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.