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New Cruiser: Expeditions

The travels of an all aluminum Land Cruiser and its owners…

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Team Dynamics …

Written by Raenelle on Sunday, July 13, 2008

A good friend introduced me to the concept of Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing. forming-storming-norming-performing.jpgI can’t do it justice in one sentence, but essentially, it describes the different stages that a team transitions through in order to become a functional, efficient team that is able to effectively tackle problems and deliver results.

I had never heard of this concept / model before, but it makes so-much-sense! Looking back on our Central America Expedition in 2003, I can clearly recall Robin & me experiencing all of these stages during the trip. I distinctly recall the Storming stage and the lessons we learnt along the way. I would estimate that it took us about 5 weeks to get to the Performing stage. But when we got there – boy did we ever Perform ?!

teamwork1.jpgWe had our roles and responsibilities all figured out. We knew what to do when we entered a new city or town with busy traffic, obscure traffic rules, and unclear road signs. We understood the dynamics of border crossings – when to let Robin lead, and when to let Raenelle lead. How to let the other person handle a situation without interfering. How to deal with conflict. How to deal with decision-making. It was great!

Many people have asked us why we are driving ‘all theteamwork2.jpg way down’ to South America, rather than shipping our vehicle and flying down to join the vehicle in Ecuador / Chile / Argentina? Our answer has always been the same, but has been difficult for people to understand: “We don’t want to hit South America fresh off the plane”. We need to get back into the groove of being on the road; wean ourselves back onto Spanish; different cultures, food, driving conditions, border crossings, etc.

But an easier way to say it is that … we need to get through the Forming, Storming, and Norming … so that we can be at the Performing stage by the time we reach South America. I have no doubt that this time round will be alot quicker … and we will be Performing in no time!!

Further Reading on South America 2008:
Comment by Brady
July 13, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

Great post Raenelle. We are in the throes of forming and starting to storm as well. I don’t think you owe anymore of an explanation for your trip other than “I want to…”


Comment by Dad
July 14, 2008 @ 10:20 am

So true of couples and teams on a journey…after forty years of marriage, I would suggest that there is another arrow in the box, that returns the team from performing right back into storming, as individuals learn new things about themselves and dare to allow growth to really happen and change to be the actual result…we have seen it in our marriage, and recently in the two times we have been with our friends Pat and George on Blue Moon (gorgeous Selene 51, a motor launch with two separate staterooms, and state of the art navigational aids, and one of the best wine cupboards you’ll find anywhere). As a team of four we have transitioned a couple of times, just in two weeks, from performing back through the cycle. Marion and I intensified the whole cycle once on an eight day canoe trip. On a three hour paddle, storming (I mean between the paddlers, not the elements!) (although the elements could have a pretty total effect on the situation!) had better move quickly through norming to performing – sometimes there is no choice about the paddling in rhythm and balance part of performing even when you’d much rather walk down to the 7-11 for a coke. Tough to find one in the middle of Satellite Channel. Or a South American jungle.
It’s a helpful model of human dynamics. Maybe if the people of Israel could have been taught that instead of the Ten Commandments, they wouldn’t have taken forty years to get there…

Comment by Janet
July 14, 2008 @ 11:06 am

Hi Raenelle! I’m both excited for you and envious that you’re heading off on another grand adventure. What a great way to live life. The personal growth and team building that happens is one of the best benefits of a trip like the one you and Robin are embarking on – the chance to be challenged and to move through to ‘performing’ at your best, as individuals and as a couple. Great, I sound like Dr. Phil now! But what a good way to plan to allow the time it takes to get up to the performing stage…gradually…in an English speaking country…where frustrated abandonment at a gas station isn’t so much of a risky proposition! Then you’ll both have worked out the kinks, gotten back into your groove, and be up to operating speed by the time you reach S. America! I know you’ve both inspired me to realize that we all need to enthusiastically live this life we’ve got and I’m looking forward to following your trip online. Take care!

Comment by Davey L
July 16, 2008 @ 9:21 am

Hi there,

I’m a colleague of Raenelle’s at Dillon (sort of) who caught the site from an email, previously knowing nothing about her family nor their love of aluminum vehicles / DIY websites.

I like!

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