Understanding Team Dynamics

Posted by on Apr 17, 2012 in Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Being on a Lean Six Sigma team can be a very rewarding experience and at the same time very challenging.  As a team member, you can experience highs and lows, good days and bad days.  Understanding this in advance and knowing that this is part of the normal team development can help you cope with these emotions.  Team development is often described in four stages:  Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.

  • Forming is a period when team members get to know each other and start to understand their responsibilities.  People generally have some anxiety about getting involved and are uncertain about how they’ll fit with the team and the role they’ll play.
  • Storming is where reality starts to set in and a team member may swing from optimism to uncertainty.  The task may seem overwhelming and energies may be channeled against one another rather than on the problem that needs fixed.
  • Norming is a time where team members start to understand that the DMAIC process will do the job for them and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Team members start to gain respect for one another and are more willing to help each other.  Norming usually occurs with the help of a coach helping the team to narrow their scope and getting them calmed down and settled on the task at hand.
  • Performing generally occurs when the team completes it’s analysis and starts to improve and control the process.  The team gets a sense of accomplishment when real changes are being made and can take satisfaction in their achievements.

Teams may go through several cycles of the four phases as they go through DMAIC, especially when they begin to improve things and it involves major changes in how members do their individual jobs.  These periods may not last very long, but it is important to realize that they may occur and the team needs to be ready to deal with them.

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