Renewing is a phase that nearly all teams experience. It’s a point in team development that some change has occurred, and this kind of change can disrupt team dynamics with small ripples or full tsunamis, depending on the type of change.
As a team, you are likely to experience any number of changes, including:
- Team members
- Roles and responsibilities
- Goals and results
- Resources, like time and money
- A company reorganization
- A merger or acquisition
Here are three indications that your team is going through a Renewing phase:
1. Team membership is in flux
Team members come and go for various reasons—people leave or join the company, move on to another department or function, or get reassigned in an organizational redesign. Sometimes these changes are easily managed, but other times, teams may have to adapt to new personalities or new leadership or working styles.
2. The team’s purpose or alignment has changed
An organizational redesign means that an entire team has to shift its focus, goals, and approach. A shift in company resources or merger or acquisition could result in team change. Whatever the reason, the team feels like starting from scratch.
3. The team isn’t working well
For whatever reason, team dynamics could be failing to produce results. Perhaps certain personalities don’t work well together, or differences in work styles mean that the team has difficulty producing results. It’s also possible that a team might enjoy each other’s company so much that they have trouble getting work done! Whatever the reason, the team isn’t meeting its goals or requirements, and something needs to change.
The Renewing phase can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch or disbanding altogether. Here are five ways to help your team renew without losing too much momentum:
1. Clarify your purpose
When your team is going through some kind of change, clarifying and restating the team’s purpose can be an excellent way to ensure that everyone is starting from the same place. During an organizational change, clarifying the purpose is essential and may require input from leadership.
2. Clarify your goals and metrics
Along with clarifying the purpose, making sure everyone understands what outcomes the team requires can also help ensure that people are working toward the same ends. Again, in an organizational change, this process could require input from leadership.
3. Set ground rules
If your team already has a charter, a time of change might be a good time to revisit it, make revisions, and get new members to sign. If there isn’t an existing charter, it might be a good time to create one. This step can be beneficial if team dynamics prevent the team from achieving goals.
4. Check on the morale of team members
Change is hard, and many people don’t speak out when struggling with change. Check in on team members individually and as a group to make sure that morale is still high and people feel aligned with the purpose and vision of the team.
5. Remind the team of prior success
New faces on the team will appreciate hearing about previous success, and familiar faces or new leaders will feel renewed as they remember how their team has succeeded in the past.
Successful, high-performing teams may go through the phases of teaming for success many times. You can improve your chances of continued success by paying attention to which phase your team is in and carefully guiding members through it.