In his book Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud observes that every team organization has four seasons. As King Solomon pointed out in Ecclesiastes, there is a time to be born and a time to die. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) This also applies to team development.
In between the life cycle of any organization (birth and death) according to Dr. Cloud there are four seasons. Here are the four seasons and their definition.
“The tasks of spring include:
- Cleaning out what is left over from the winter’s dying plants.
- Gathering seeds;
- Figuring out which fields you are going to work;
- Making sure you have the resources to take you through the year;
- Actual sowing and planting;
- Protecting seedlings from the elements and intruders; and
- Nurturing the vision of the harvest to guide the task.
In summer, things change again. It is time to tend to what has taken root. The tasks of the summer include:
- Directing resources to ensure the crops are growing;
- Preventing disease and keeping insects and other pests away;
- Watering, fertilizing, and pruning;
- Supporting the plants until they can stand on their own; and
- Monitoring, managing and protecting the crops for the future.
Fall is harvest time:
- Acting with urgency to get crops out of the field before they rot or are damaged by rain or the cold of winter;
- Gathering the harvest completely, not leaving anything in the field;
- Harvesting with efficiency and watching the costs; and
- Harvesting with care so you don’t destroy the field in the process.
In winter, everything dies, though preparations continue. The tasks of winter include:
- Getting the financials in order;
- Squaring accounts with lenders for the last years’ crops and lining up next year’s money.
- Repairing equipment and getting it ready for next year.
- Preparing fields for the upcoming year; and
- Reviewing the successes and failures of the past year and tweaking things to do everything better next year.” (Necessary Ending, Dr. Henry Cloud, pp. 41-42)
Do you know the life cycle of your organization? Do you know what season your team is experiencing?
Most teamwork fails when those on the team do not have a clear understanding of their team’s seasons.
How is your team doing?