We're finally on to Performing! But how do you know? What's the sign? In moving from one phase to the next, it's less of a binary switch and more of a gradual shifting over. In the Norming phase the team is working well together but relying on you as to how and what they should be doing. In the Performing phase the team is becoming self sufficient and self confident. Again your role and approach will change. You will now shift from being a teacher to a coach. As a teacher you train others how to do things they don't know how to do. As a coach, your team knows what to do. Your role is to enhance the performance of what they know how to do. You will provide the tips, tricks and words of wisdom to help them become more effective and efficient.
In this phase of the project, the team is at a point of conscious competence and there are several things going on to which you need be aware. First, while the team, "gets it", they haven't developed the experience and muscle memory to handle all situations they may encounter. You cannot let your guard down and need to watch the team and help them work through the one offs, every project has, that could get them discouraged and delayed. While you may not be required to be fully active with the team during this time, you do need to be fully attentive and engaged. This is often the time when you as the facilitator are getting really exhausted and it's easy to go sit in the corner and catch up on email and become quickly disengaged.
There's a second effect going on during the transition from Norming to Performing. This has to do with the cultural change you're driving and the team you need to help foster the growth. Watch your team during the shift from Norming to Performing. This is where you will start to see the combination of those who get it and will lead it. It's sort of an unintentional interview process. If one of these folks is on the team, they will assume your role and start leading the team. If you're trying to grow a lean organization, this is where you can find new recruits. This was how I was tapped at Toyota to become a Kaizen Circle Instructor.
One more phase, and I won't wait a year to write it!