Team Story

Tracing the evolution of your teams.
Contributed by

Shabnoor Shah

Mary Provinciatto

Edited by
Published July 25, 2023

What Is Team Story ?

Team Story: Tracing the Evolution of Teams, is an engaging exercise designed to explore the evolution of teams within your organization. Participants are asked to recount the story of a specific team, from its inception to its present status, by incorporating significant events that have shaped its journey.

Why Do Team Story ?

The purpose of this exercise is to encourage participants to reflect on the process of team formation and development within their organization. By recounting the journey from a team's inception to its current state, participants will gain insights into the dynamics of successful team building and effective collaboration. Moreover, this exercise aims to foster a deeper understanding of how teams operate within the broader ecosystem of their organization, promoting a sense of interconnectedness and cohesion among teams.

By engaging in this exercise, participants will:

  • Gain insights into successful team formation and development, learning from past experiences and challenges faced by the chosen team.
  • Develop a deeper appreciation for the interdependencies and connections between teams within the organization, recognizing the importance of cross-functional collaboration.
  • Discover effective strategies for managing team workflows and responsibilities, drawing inspiration from the experiences of their chosen team.
  • Foster a culture of knowledge-sharing and mutual learning, as participants can draw lessons from various team stories shared during the exercise.
  • Strengthen their abilities to analyze team dynamics, identify areas for improvement, and apply the knowledge gained to enhance their own team-building efforts.

How to do Team Story ?

Materials Needed:

  • Wall space or a large board for displaying posters
  • Posters with the following sections: a) Team Creation Process, b) Forming, c) Storming, d) Norming, e) Performing, f) Adjourning
  • Marker pens or sticky notes for participants to write their team stories

Step 1: Set up the Wall

  1. Find an appropriate wall or board in a well-lit and easily accessible area.

  2. Create a flip chart , slide or poster with the following question on easy display "Tell us how you form a new team by adding events from when the team was created to where it is now.

    (say or write: Think of a team in your org, tell us the story, how this team came to be, where are they now, how they manage their work, and how they operate within the other teams ecosystem)

  3. Arrange the posters in a linear manner, following the order of team development stages: Team Creation Process, Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning.

  4. Remember to create two quadrants/ that sections with the Title Poster on top : "Things that are working well" and the Title Poster at the bottom : Things that are not working well

Step 2: Introduce the Exercise

  1. Gather the participants and explain the purpose of the exercise: to explore the evolution of teams within the organization, their journey from inception to the present, and their role within the organizational ecosystem.
  2. Emphasize the significance of learning from each other's experiences and fostering a collaborative environment.

Step 3: Start Exercise

  1. Allow each participant some time for individual reflection.
  2. Encourage them to capture their thoughts and observations related to a specific team within the organization on separate sticky notes.
  3. Instruct participants to place each sticky note under the relevant section on the posters. It is okay if they do not have thoughts or observations for every section.
  4. Cluster any common themes or topics under each section

Step 4: Recall Team Journey

  1. Instruct participants to recall the team's journey from its creation to its current state.
  2. Encourage them to think about significant events, challenges, and achievements the team experienced during each stage (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning).
  3. Participants should also consider the team's role within the larger organizational context and how it interacts with other teams.

Step 5: Write Key words or short sentences

  1. Provide marker pens or sticky notes to each participant.

  2. Ask them to write keywords for each stage on the corresponding posters.

    • For the "Team Creation Process" poster, they can describe how the team was formed and the reasons behind its creation.
    • For the "Forming" poster, they can outline the early stages of the team's development, initial challenges, and the process of familiarization among team members.
    • For the "Storming" poster, they can highlight conflicts and struggles the team faced as it started to work together.
    • For the "Norming" poster, they can describe the development of team norms, improved communication, and the emergence of team cohesion.
    • For the "Performing" poster, they can showcase the team's accomplishments, successful collaboration, and high productivity.
    • For the "Adjourning" poster, they can share how the team managed its conclusion or transformation, and the lessons learned from the experience.

Step 6: Display Team Stories

  1. Invite participants to come forward one by one and stick their written summaries on the respective posters.
  2. Encourage participants to share their team stories with the group, highlighting any unique experiences or valuable lessons learned.

Step 7: Group Discussion

  1. Facilitate a group discussion after all team stories have been displayed.
  2. Encourage participants to ask questions, seek clarifications, and share insights gained from other team stories.
  3. Prompt discussions about similarities and differences between various teams' journeys and how they operated within the organizational ecosystem.

Step 8: Reflection and Closing

  1. Conclude the exercise by emphasizing the importance of learning from past experiences and fostering collaboration among teams.
  2. Encourage participants to apply the knowledge gained from this exercise to their own teams and team-building efforts.
  3. Thank the participants for their active participation and contribution to the exercise.

Look at Team Story

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Team Story practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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