Step by step towards effective teams


You and your team are interdependent, or you wouldn’t be a team

Team building – a term often used to describe group activities and games used when it’s time for kickoff. To get off to a good start in the coming period, we are challenged to compete against each other in teams, often gathered without logic to mix, get to know each other and lighten the mood.

Team building with a scientific basis

Maybe you recognize yourself – or even plan an activity like this. You see that you need to do something extra for the employees to feel included and engaged and are looking for what can help.

Team building in the form described above is often a waste of time and money, according to Dr. Susan A Wheelan, creator of today’s only scientifically validated group development model IMGD (Integrated Model of Group Development).

She and her team, who have devoted 30 years of research specifically to group development, have taken all the research available in the field, compiled it, and tested it.

Today, they have huge amounts of data about groups that work and are continuously measured to get answers about how the group is developing and what actually makes them effective teams. In her research, she has been able to prove that all groups, without exception, go through the same four well-defined stages before winding down to a fifth.

IMGD Stages

Stage 1: Dependence and inclusion

The group members focus on feeling a sense of belonging and creating security. A lot of time is spent getting to know each other and fitting in. At this stage, they avoid conflict and express unwelcome opinions and perceptions that risk standing out.

Stage 2: Counterdependency and fight

Group members in the second stage tend to go in opposition to each other. At this stage they question each other and the formal leader. Conflicts arise.

Stage 3: Trust and structure

In stage three, the group’s members know each other’s competencies and how they complement each other. They know what others think of them and conflict management takes place constructively on an ongoing basis. Everyone takes responsibility for their role based on what the task requires.

Stage 4: Work and Productivity

The groups that have reached the fourth stage are, according to Susan Wheelan, “high-performing teams”. They understand and accept their roles and spend their time working on the main mission. They have a unified view of the group’s goals and have effective methods for solving tasks and conflicts. Everyone has a high responsibility and trusts each other’s contribution and competence.

Efficient and productive teams

Susan Wheelan and her team believe that team building in the sense that at a conference we are sent into various chaotic exercises is quite useless and can even be harmful to the team by helping to create conflict.

What they have been able to show is that some important prerequisites and methods need to be in place for teams to take the steps forward and leave the stages characterized by getting to know each other, inefficiency, conflict.

The research group has developed and scientifically validated tool GDQ (Group Development Questionnaire) over several decades to determine how a group’s stage of development can be determined.

Here you get an insight into what conditions the team needs and some different methods to use to make groups into efficient and productive teams.

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