After proposal kick-off, proposal team members quickly get over their initial politeness and conflicts emerge. You cannot avoid the storming stage. Real teams are made up of real people with varying personalities and viewpoints. You may not like them; they may not like you. How do you progress more quickly from storming to norming?
- Use an agile, iterative approach with coaching. Monitor work in smaller agile increments (daily stand ups, individual status checks, and written iterations) and talk to people – and not just in team meetings – to avoid miscommunication and correct invalid assumptions.
- Insist on clarity. Conflicts often arise from a lack of clarity. Review daily iterations, communicate using honest feedback, and recommend corrective actions. With work divided into smaller increments, re-writes will be easier.
- Resolve conflicts as they happen. Confront problems, conflicts, and morale issues. All conflicts and misunderstandings require clarification for resolution.
- Deal with jerks and know-it alls. Avoid being defensive or blaming, and call time-outs as needed. Circumvent team grandstanding and speak to offenders offline in less stressful settings.
- Take a breather. Storming is most stressful for you as the team leader. Take time out for yourself. Try daily meditation, yoga, or a walk – even for just 10-15 minutes.
With these strategies and tactics, you can turn storming into clarifying and team building.
What strategies do you use to move your proposal teams from storming into to high-performing proposal teams? Send an email to me at BWingate@LohfeldConsulting.com with your suggestions!