The enormous value of an international development centre was brought home to me last week. We had nine senior managers from around Europe who were each to be the country manager of a new department formed by a multinational manufacturer. 

The programme was valuable as a team building exercise, as much as to help individuals understand the competencies required of their new roles and enable them to set development plans. The team building benefit was not an explicit aim but was certainly one of the great results achieved.

The delegates had mostly met before but did not know one another well. They had all had significant roles in the business previously. What struck me was how the development centre gave them an opportunity to work together and get to know each other free from the demands and challenges of the role. I could relate this to the well-used Tuckman team development model[1], ‘Form Storm Norm Perform’. In Tuckman’s model, the team must pass through all these stages to become a high performing team. In our development centre, it was clear that the team was at the first ‘Form’ stage and by the end were ready to move into the very necessary ‘Storm’ stage. 

As well as giving delegates outstanding feedback and development (which I will discuss next time), this experience for sure will have helped accelerate the team through the stages to get them to be high performing and therefore more productive earlier. Moreover, the team leader will have valuable information about people’s strengths and motivations to help him manage the team through the ‘Storm’ stage. 

Especially as these people were spread across Europe, this opportunity to work together in a neutral environment was invaluable.


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Janice Caplan

© Janice Caplan 2019