Thursday, 22 November 2012

forming storming norming

There's a commonly known business model, first developed back in the 1960's, which describes the process that a team goes through to become effective -  storming norming performing et al has been evolved to include a few extra rhyming words but essentially talks about the teething problems, ''getting to know you' stage, boundary setting, and (hopefully) fully formed and healthy state a team can get into.

There's been some jokes around my house recently that the same model could be applied to personal relationships.   I'm not quite sure which bit I'm sitting in at the moment - in fact I'd argue that its a fairly fluid model (much like the grief process, it can be two steps forward and one back some times!), but when I found myself using the ''royal we'' a few days ago it did highlight to me that maybe there's less forming and storming going on and maybe a gentle incline (sounds better than decline!) into norming and performing.

I've read loads of stuff about the process of re partnering.  I'm the first to admit that the are a lot of potential challenges, and its as much about the rest of each persons team as it is about themselves - kids, extended family, friends, work, interests - there's a heck of a lot to negotiate and learn about.  For me, so far so good - or should I say, for us, and whilst the forming and storming is a lot of fun, I'm also looking forward to settling into the new way of normal that I have talked about here before.

Interestingly on the link above there's two extra stages - Dorming and Adjourning.  My guess is that this is probably more relevant to a time bound project, but it certainly highlights the need to remain focused on the well being of the ''team'' in order to avoid complacency (surely one of the death knolls for any relationship) and also to remain vigilant to the potential challenges and pitfalls that can trip up even the most committed of partners.

If you're in a new relationship, or even one that's not so new, where do you think you might fit on this continuum?


  1. When you review the statistics of child abuse (physical and sexual) the highest proportion of offenders is usually new partners/step parents.
    Some people are so desperate to get to the (as you call it) "performing stage", they allow the earlier stages to fly by quickly and in doing so do not actually get to know each other well enough at all. They may have niggles about the other parties behaviour but they push these aside as they so long for the happy outcome of coupledom. "He can be a bit quick tempered, but oh well, he is having to deal with three kids that aren't his etc" or "My daughter doesn't seem to like him much, but he is so keen to help out with her, sure I will let him take her hiking."
    I find it facinating that most people would never pick up a hitch-hiker for fear of what they will do in the car to them, yet people will date strangers and then intertwine them in their lives, expose their children to them etc with no concerns at all.

  2. yes absolutely and certainly most of the women I know are keenly aware of this. I guess many use the justification of coupledom as a way to involve children at an early stage? And I have done this myself with very negative outcome.
    This time it's rather different - yes they've met, but always in ''public well lit places'' and only a handful of times in the last few months. Baby steps and eyes wide open. This has also freed me up to enjoy getting to know someone without the added pressure of what to tell the children.