The Circle of Life Within Any Group

It’s interesting the things I remember from college. One of my less-than-favorite classes brought up a concept that has been fairly important to me even years later. The theory was that every group goes through four stages. Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. They should be pretty obvious by the name, but what I have found interesting is how it’s applied to nearly every grouping of people I have ever known.

Just so that we are all on the same page, the stages refer to a group being put together (by any means) then experiencing conflict. Once the conflict has been resolved, the group can move forward and create results. In a personal example, you can see this when a family has a new child. This new group member causes roles and responsibilities for the existing group members to change. As we all know, nobody likes change, especially so when you’re talking about an only child that is becoming the oldest child!

Of course, this was intended to be relatable for businesses and when I managed an office of people I spent plenty of time reassuring people that any discomfort they felt at a new employee joining the company or even their department was all part of a normal process. Truly it was. Even I felt the discomfort of new employees. They shifted the equilibrium of the office or company as a whole, but in the end, everyone settled into their new roles.

This does make me wonder though, is there such a thing as hiring too fast? Maybe when companies experience a boom in activity and they go to hire new employees they don’t see the new employees performing as quickly as they should because the group as a whole has failed to move past the storming period. I would have nothing but anecdotal evidence to support any side of this argument, but I do think it’s fascinating to consider. After all, what a difference it could make if you knew employees were under-performing simply because they didn’t have a supportive environment.







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