4 Steps to Build a High-Functioning Team

Implementing Dr. Bruce's Tuckman's four stages of group development

While enrolled in SIG University’s Certified Supplier Management Professional (CSMP) program, Omar Khweiss was able to contribute his expertise  to help his distributed team grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work and deliver results.

The CSMP program exposes students to leading-edge training on contract administration, compliance, risk mitigation, performance, governance operating models, talent management support, transformation and more to help companies put effective governance programs in place.

During a recent visit to my company ‘s headquarters, I met some of my fellow senior buyers for a team project that we are embarking upon together. We all come from various regions of North America and this was our first time working together. Coincidentally, the meeting took place during my last week of SIG University ‘s Certified Supplier Management Professional program. I took the initiative to implement Dr. Bruce Tuckman ‘s group development process discussed in Module 7 to help the team dynamic evolve. As prescribed, I utilized the forming, storming, norming and performing stages from his theory to take full advantage of this prime opportunity to all share collectively in real time.

Stage 1 – Forming

We started off with the initial stage of forming. On day one, we asked our manager why we were selected to be a part of this team as well as what was expected of us. Our manager presented his vision for the team but also gave us the sense that we ‘d work independently since we all hold seniority within the procurement division of our company.

The forming stage, after the initial introduction, was successful and the team appeared to be a natural fit for the mission ahead. Although we all possess a unique skill set within different industries of procurement, we all shared a common amount of work experience and expertise in our respective fields.

Stage 2 – Storming

During the storming stage, we shared past experiences involving all the elements that we were assigned for the project. Furthermore, each of us presented the pros and cons of the current condition of our department and suggestions to improve the present state. All of us shared legitimate concerns about the direction the company wishes to move in, as well as what we can expect from our supporting agencies and internal customers.

At the end of this stage, we all agreed to develop an online workspace with our collected standard operating procedures and stakeholders ‘ information in order to enhance our knowledge of one another ‘s desk responsibilities.

Stage 3 – Norming

The norming stage came about on day two of this weeklong conference meeting. Our manager discussed our roles, potential contingencies for succession planning and backup protocol for those taking personal time off. The parameters and criteria for what we could expect from our internal customers were discussed in great detail. This portion of the meeting was crucial since we agreed with a universal approach to how we should address frequently asked questions and scenarios that arise on multiple occasions throughout the organization.

This particular stage took two whole days since we were developing a common template for procedures that were once handled differently at each individual site.

Stage 4 – Performing

By day four, we initiated the performing stage by simulating what the new system would look like once all of us returned to our home sites. We created a shared link within our server to grant access to one another ‘s key files and reports. We also met with all of the category managers (responsible for all of the key entities that our company produces) that we would be working with to build a rapport and discuss strategy.

This conference was essential in discussing how we can work in tandem to optimize our resources and provide the best customer service. Moreover, once our manager was confident in the blueprint that we established, he provided all of us with a strong level of autonomy and instructed us on providing updates as deemed fit.

The Way Forward

At the conclusion of the weeklong conference, our team agreed that the metrics we developed and the new parameters for success were in better alignment with realistic scenarios and attainable tasks than previous goals set. This new set of standards would also segregate outliers from common issues that arise in procurement (i.e., invoice payments, receipts placed in the ERP system, delays in logistics, etc.) in an effort to truly determine if the procurement representative is properly maintaining their day-to-day desk responsibilities.

By raising the standard for the senior buyers and evolving as a team to utilize Dr. Tuckman ‘s theory, all of our skills, key functions and interactions with our stakeholders will continue to develop optimally.

The Certified Supplier Management Professional program is a five-week course delivered through SIG University ‘s unique education platform. Visit our website to learn more about the discipline of governance and enroll for the upcoming semester.

Omar Khweiss

Omar Khweiss

Senior Buyer, J.R. Simplot Company

Omar Khweiss has worked in the field of supply, logistics, procurement and finance for over 25 years. Originally, from Brooklyn, New York, Omar interned at the United States Mission to the United Nations and worked in the Economic and Social Affairs Department. After his internship ended, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served 12 years. During his military service, he worked as a Fiscal Clerk, Warehouse Chief and Supply Administration Chief. He briefly worked in the Statistics Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco immediately after the conclusion of his military career. Omar now holds the title of Senior Buyer at the J.R. Simplot Company and has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, Finance Concentration and Master's Degree in Information Systems and Financial Management.