Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing

30 czerwca 2022


How to tell if your recent hire was a mistake


What’s difficult when stepping into a new environment and into a new way of doing things is often having to unlearn everything and start again. 

When teams form at their foundational level, let’s say as a brand new start up, they develop their way of doing things from scratch often with their people having to wear many hats. Their systems, policies and way of doing things seem to find their way to growth to the point where more people need to join for them to grow.

What’s interesting is most people will have developed their experience in other environments and when exposed to a new environment no doubt have to adjust. This is often where things can go wrong causing the relationships to fail too soon and the potential value to be lost early.

This is where the philosophy of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing comes into the picture, let’s break it down.

1. Forming
This stage is usually met with excitement! The feeling of a positive future, the vision and the imagination of what’s possible sets everyone a light, decisions get made and people start. 

2. Storming
The storming in the team usually starts when things don’t go according to the initial plans and differences in opinions and expectations become apparent, hence there could be clashes.

3. Norming
Norming begins when the dust settles and everyone agrees to the place and work and begin to accept things the way they are. Basically it means starting to get on with it!

4. Performing
This is when everyone has figured each other out, figured out what they need to be doing and how to do it, off they go and do it! This a great place to be!


Psychologist Bruce Tuckman came up with the memorable phrase „forming, storming, norming, and performing” in his 1965 paper, „Developmental Sequence in Small Groups.” 

What you have here is a pattern, and over the years many successful companies have all experienced this pattern which proves it’s something natural, something that happens in due course on its own.

It’s obvious that we need to get everyone performing, the key is to know what to do when things start to fall apart. 

The first step is to understand that everyone is different, yes there may be some that naturally get along and others that clash, but how do we adjust early to maximize the team’s skills and abilities.

Ray Dallalio, one of the world’s wealthiest men, a Billionaire believes that it’s more important to figure out what’s true over what’s not true. True meaning what it actually is over what it is not.

So in order for something to work it needs to function according to certain processes and rules. It’s better to know what they actually are over something that’s obscure or uncertain. He then forms this understanding as part of the team’s culture to always look for what’s true over anything else.

So when “forming” a team, he forms the team’s mindset according to certain principles. Once formed, things begin to fall into place early and naturally the team begins performing.

This is one example, there are many. What’s fundamental is it’s a structure basically.


In Summary:

So much effort goes into getting someone onboard and started, everything from recruitment to interviews, going through offers, to starting them up, investment in their tools, having to put work to one side. It’s often a shame to think that all that time went to waste.

The Forming to Performing concept can help any business with their expectations on new hires on whether or not they’re likely to perform in the future.