When examining the readings this week for some inspiring material, I came across a graph of interest to me from the Greiner reading. The graph was titled 'the five stages of growth' and really struck a chord with me in regards to my Mikesbikes experience. In it, the graph notes the phases of revolution and evolution occurring throughout a business life cycle and describes the causes of such upheaval. It made me smile to note how accurate it was in regards to my and I team up until this point...
The first phase of business (according to Greiner) includes growth through creativity, followed by a crisis of leadership. Yip, safe to say we were pretty creative in the early days, trying things out, finding out what worked well and what didn't. Fair too to say there was a crisis of leadership. Reminiscent of Tuckman's forming and storming phases, questions arose over the capabilities of our leader quickly followed by some personality clashes with said leader. I remember wondering whether I should have put my hand up for the CEO roll and thinking 'this is going to be a long semester!' I'm glad I didn't as our CEO has done a good job (despite the failures of the team) and I cant help but feel the effect of such a move would have detrimental effects in any situation. Phase 2 included growth through direction and a crisis of autonomy. This 'growth' was scheduled to occur for us when the trainer wheels came off after the practice rollover. We must've missed the memo. I believe this was a key turning point for our team as we failed to accurately single out any one direction for our team to follow. We've all heard the rudderless metaphor before... well, that was us. That ins't to say we missed the crisis though! Autonomy became sought after through ideas such as " I don't need to come to the meeting do I? I can just do it from home". Boundaries were pushed and questions were asked of which, from with our team, no answers could be found. Lo and behold our savior stage three! This stage included growth through delegation and a crisis of control. This crisis saved our business. By week 9 we were down and out and happy to hand our 'crisis' to another team as we were taken over. At this stage we were more than willing to say goodbye to autonomy at the cost of oversight. Delegation became key as we were pointed in the right direction and told unequivocally to make it happen! This directness was a startlingly fresh concept to our group and breathed life back into our Mikesbikes assignment.
This whole concept has challenged my perceptions of failure in teamwork. Does it mean that we failed because we were taken over by another team? Did we fail because we didn't work well together? Or is failure simply an absence of success? Did we perhaps succeed in some small measure because we are now slowly making our way back from the brink? At this stage, I don't think im ready to make a final decision on that. I doubt even when its time for my summative learning journal to be due ill be ready. It makes me feel better to think however that our team still has 2 stages of growth remaining. I hope we make them count.
Greiner, L. E. (1972). Evolution and revolution as organizations grow. Harvard Business Review, 50(4), 37--46.
Tuckman, B. W., & Jensen, M. A. C. (1977). Stages of small-group development revisited. Group & Organization Management, 2(4), 419-427.