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The "4 S" Stages of Team - Starting

Where you live - the state of your team

This is the last of our 4-part series that unpacks the characteristics and helpful tips to navigate four key states teams find themselves in -

1. starting

2. stuck

3. shook

4. stoked

You’re Starting Out

Congratulations! Sounds like you're:

  • A newly formed start-up..

  • A new leader to an existing team.

  • A newly formed team due to a reorganization

On Your Mark

Or rather, make your mark! It starts with you. Before anything else happens, get clear about yourself. Who do I want to be? How do I want to show up? What is demanded of me to have the best performing team in the organization? Am I humble and curious enough to try new things, borrow from other disciplines, even? What resources must I have around me to allow myself to show up at this level?

Get Set

Before goals, KPIs, and task-focused activities, first focus exclusively on the humanity of your team. The goal is to establish rock-solid trust among team members before embarking on your adventure. And it goes deeper than collaboration and clear communication (as essential as those both are). This is where concepts of psychological safety, codified in an external model that the team can point to and abide by is the missing first step that will set you as a leader and your team apart. This is also where concepts of humor, playfulness, and creativity encourage expression of the unique talents of each individual contributor on your team.


With this strong base in place, the encouragement of everyone's unique talents will allow your team to perform more as an ensemble as you move toward the work at hand. Ensembles interact in more intuitive, fluid ways where other ensemble members know how to support the best in the other ensemble members, generating an outcome so much greater than the sum of its parts.

First Lap

Now that you've gotten going, your ensemble will inevitably face challenges, setbacks, and mistakes. With the strong psychological safety you invested in at the beginning, this is the time to master the art of rupture and repair. This is a concept referred to often in therapy that encourages the timely repair of ruptures in interactions, where the involved ensemble members will be able to come back to mutual understanding (not always agreement) where everyone feels safe, seen, and heard.

And the Crowd Goes Wild!

A strong ensemble has so much power well beyond the successfull attainment of KPIs, innovation gains or meaningful engagement. Your ensemble can be wonderfully contagious elsewhere in your organization. And it will be because you chose to be a different kind of leader, who used a different kind of approach, and ended up with a different kind of ensemble.

The VITAL5 ROUNDUP - The "4S" Stages of Teams - Starting

  1. On your mark – Introspection time. Who do I want to be and how do I want to show up? What conditions do I need to help create to have the strongest team possible?

  2. Get set – Trust first, KPIs later.

  3. Go – From team to ensemble.

  4. First lap – Learn from inevitable setbacks and master the art of rupture and repair.

  5. Crowd goes wild - Become a wonderfully contagious ensemble.

VitalConex is a connect-and-create company. To learn more about the "peanut butter cup" of successful teams, check us out at

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