Forming. Storming. Norming. Performing … Adjourning.

I love using the stages of team formation as a tool to set expectations, preemptively address challenges, and point out what success looks like when a team assembles.

This tool became part of my playbook during my time at Lee Company. As a marketing team, we had a clear mission, rules of engagement, and communication style. Things clicked nicely. But none of that came by chance. It was intentionally crafted, tweaked, and maintained.

As roles or rules changed, we gathered, looked at the team formation curve, and discussed where we were and how new circumstances would affect us.

So much time and energy went to creating a safe and productive environment to form, storm, and norm. Oh, and norm and storm we did. We were intentional about sitting in those storms, building trust through conflict, bringing clarity in chaos, and dreaming in the thick of of it all.

As a result, we became a high-performing team. We knew exactly how to maximize each other’s strengths, how to kick the ball and when to pick it up, how to push and pull one another … we weren’t perfect, but we were pretty darn good.

Performing as a fine-tuned team is perhaps the most satisfying experience you can have as a professional. It has been for me.

The cherry on top, was that as we grew as a team, we also grew personally, together. We shared birthdays, family stories, heartbreaks, setbacks, losses, cafecito hours, books, cupcakes, creative writing sessions … life.

We revisited that curve often, always with our eye set on maintaining our place in that performing stage. Adjourning was something we would occasionally bring up, mostly as a punchline, because the marketing avengers had assembled for the long haul.

But all good things come to an adjourning point in life, no matter how well they have performed. And one Monday noon, in August 2021, our adjourning conversation took place. There were tears, hugs, laughs … and the promise to continue to seek excellence in our important life ventures.

I cannot properly express how formative my time with these amazing women was and how much they mean to me. I am proud to see how they roll with change, how they strive to revisit that team formation curve and press on to perform.

I am excited to see my new team look at the curve and joke about the storm as we set our eyes and hearts on what it takes to perform.

Marketing is marketing. And while I love the field, what makes me get up every morning are the people who inspire and challenge me to be excellent in the important things.

With all my love, this post is dedicated to: Alli Thompson, Bree Barnett, Emily Bonomo, Jennifer, and Magdalena Miśtak.

Let’s shock the world.

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