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How Tuckman's Four Stages of Team Development Apply to YOU

This past week, I was listening to our Pastor share a sequence of insights about Tuckman’s 4 Stages of Team Development that were downright revealing. In the context of taking “extreme ownership” of our lives, which is a concept I am quite familiar with; he was talking about commitment in our relationships.

It didn’t matter what kind of relationship— to your body, your life, your lifestyle, your spouse, your work…

Now, as the founder of a lifestyle company that is helping people bridge the wide gap that exists between living healthy and being successful with Performance Lifestyle training, I am always on the lookout for complementary ideas that are process oriented.

By that, I mean ideas that explain natural processes the can help people gauge the phase of development they are in.

Well, in making his point about commitment and why a commitment to anything can be challenging, our pastor again, introduced us to Tuckman’s 4 stages of team development model. Originally created for team development, I noticed how these stages are experienced personally in just about everything we do.

For example, we’re going through these stages right now with the development of Performance Lifestyle Inc, internally in terms of the development, management, and operations of a new type of company that is conveying a whole lifestyle model for human performance, and not simply focused on just nutrition, or fitness, or sleep, which are very common in the market.

We are also working with customers and clients who are taking our new training, utilizing our coaching and consumables to optimize the way they live.

Needless to say, that’s a pretty tall order, but we feel a necessary one which is why I started the project, to begin with for personal and professional reasons. The forming of it has taken a great deal of energy, time and money to say the least and I can tell you there has been a lot of storming. 😉

It’s our primary aim to help our customers and clients learn how to live with optimal energy levels, healthy and capable of performance at higher levels—finally free of the hidden lifestyle challenges. And doing so with the PL approach I’ve been developing with a lot of help from some very smart people for more than 20 years as an in-the-game entrepreneur suffering but wanting to overcome the same lifestyle challenges.

When I heard the stages I thought how complimentary they were for people going through The 3 Levels of Lifestyle Transformation that all everyone goes through as we go to the “next level.”

The 3 Stages of Lifestyle Transformation

Here are Tuckman’s 4 stages. How might these apply to your life?

  1. Forming— High dependence on leader for guidance and direction.Think about how challenging it can be just to learn a new way of eating, let alone developing a whole new lifestyle.
  2. Storming— Decisions don’t come easily within the group. Your don’t yet have your head wrapped around all the facts, or methods essential to your success, so this creates fear, doubt, indecision, and conflict as you’re just getting things working.
  3. Norming— Agreement, and consensus largely forms among the team,As you start “firing on all cylinders,” with a degree of proficiency, you start getting more functional and things smooth out.
  4. Performing— The team is more strategically aware; the team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing.You now know what to do, why you’re doing and how to do it, so you do it, at the right level and intensity, consistently.

These stages apply to top business professionals, athletes, anyone, in any profession, male, female, at every age…

Now think about how Tuckman’s four stages apply to you personally and professionally in your living proficiency (lifestyle) including how you work? Do you know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how, so you do it?

That would be the performing stage. Are you there?

Or, are you in a forming stage where you are understandably following someone else; storming where you are struggling with something new like making a lifestyle change (up-leveling some aspect of how you live) or in the norming phase where you are not quite as quick on the uptake as you know you care capable of, but you understand your present situation, and the stage you’re in, well enough, to arrive at a good decision.

Don’t worry about being in the Performing stage if you’re not. What you want to worry about is thinking you’re in the performing stage, when you’re really in the forming or storming stage. This is a treacherous place to be because you’re expectations are higher than your energy, ability, and capacity can achieve.

Performance addicts can find themselves living in that place, for at least a period of time. I know this first hand.

The key here is understanding your present situation to know what “level” or phase you’re at so that you can honor the stage you’re in, and be ok with that, with the struggle because the struggle is one thing, being at odds with struggle, thinking you shouldn’t be, is another.

Why is that so important? It’s simple. You don’t want to enter Tuchman’s fifth stage when it comes to your commitment unless it’s a short-term project that would naturally adjourn.

5. Adjourning is when things end. We see this all the time in lifestyle fields, for example, increasing energy (overcoming fatigue), eating healthier (losing weight, reversing disease, improving health) and exercise (getting in better physical condition). People give up all the time (adjourn) prematurely, thinking they should be experiencing desired results overnight or faster than is normal or natural.

In reality, they are just in an early stage of transformation and they would get the result if they just allowed them to go through the stages will inevitably take them to the level of results they want.


It’s a beautiful thing when you’re performing!

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