Tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change

By Elisabeth Goodman and Lucy Loh

This is the third in our series of blogs on “Enhancing Team Effectiveness in a time of change” based on our forthcoming publication in Business Information Review, and other publications and seminars in progress.

In our first blog (Enhancing team effectiveness in a time of change – an introduction), we described the challenges being faced by organisations, teams and individuals and the impact that these changes have on them.

Our second blog (Recognising reactions to change, and responding to them) explored how people (either as individuals or teams respond to change and how to help them through their journeys in a positive way.

This third blog in the series will introduce five more specific tools for supporting teams during their journeys through change.  As it will take some time to describe each of the tools, we will just summarise them here, and hope that you will come back to find out more about them in our future blogs. (Of course if you’d like to find out more sooner, do please let us know.)

It’s natural for teams to go through a ‘storming’ phase to get to ‘high performance’

Tuckman(1) and Hersey-Blanchard(2) amongst others have developed models for describing the stages that teams go through in their development. We have used a version of their team development models with teams that are just starting up, as well as with already established teams.  It helps leaders and team members to understand where the team is in its evolution, and what they could do to help it develop towards a stage of ‘high performance’. Teams are often relieved to realise that it is natural and in fact desirable to go through a ‘storming’ stage in order to get to high performance.

There are check-lists of activities that teams can use as pre-requisites for success

We have coached team leaders in using variations of a list of prerequisites as a checklist for effectiveness.  We have encouraged them to involve members of the team in its success, through workshops that explore best practices from other teams that they have been involved in.

Team temperature checks are a great way to monitor and enhance team effectiveness

We use team temperature checks as a diagnostic tool combined with the list of pre-requisites, at a time of change (including team start-up).  It helps teams to determine their status, and to actively engage all their members in a discussion on the priorities to be addressed going forward.

The relative importance of each prerequisite will change during the life of the team, as will the team members’ perception of how well they are performing and of what they can do to improve their performance.

Lean and Six Sigma tie in with change management

The Lean and Six Sigma process improvement philosophies and tools will trigger off change for teams and organisations, but can also be an extremely useful support for a team undergoing change.

Many organisations now use a combination of both Lean and Six Sigma tailored to their own culture and needs, and we have worked with some of them to develop strategies and implement change for continuous improvement.

Dilts’ “Logical Levels of Change” can also be a useful support for change

This last team tool is one that can be used both as a diagnostic, and as a planning tool in a time of change.  Robert Dilts is a leading figure in the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) who recognised that it is important for team leaders to address multiple levels to achieve change.  He developed the Logical Levels of Change model, as a helpful way of understanding the elements of effective team performance(3) and so we can and do use this too to help teams and the individuals within them through change.

Our next blogs in this series will explore each of these five tools for supporting teams during their journeys of change in more detail.


  1. Tuckman, B. and Jensen, M. (1977) Stages of small group development revisited, Group and Organizational Studies, 419-27
  2. Hersey, P and Blanchard, K Situational Leadership.  See for example :
  3. O’Connor, Joseph (2001) NLP workbook.  London : Element

Elisabeth Goodman is the Owner and Principal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, a consultancy that helps business teams to enhance their effectiveness for greater productivity and improved team morale. Elisabeth has 25+ years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry where she has held line management and internal training and consultancy roles supporting Information Management and other business teams on a global basis.  Elisabeth is accredited in Change Management, in MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and in Lean Sigma and is a member of CILIP (Chartered Institute for Library and Information Professionals), and APM (Association for Project Management).

Lucy Loh is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Lucy Loh Consulting, a consultancy that helps businesses and organisations develop their business plans, and manage change in their organisations and teams to be able to deliver those plans.  She is also a RiverRhee Consulting Associate.  Lucy has 25 years’ experience in BioPharma, where she has held management roles in strategy development and all aspects of performance management, as well as extensive internal consulting.  Lucy has expertise and experience in organisation development, benefits management and in designing and leading business change. She is a certified Master Practitioner of NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP), which enhances her work in change management and individual coaching.  She is also an accredited trainer with the Institute of Leadership and Management for Strategic Leadership.