"We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience." - John Dewey
The planning is over, the assignment handed in and immediately the next task on the to-do list is taken on. An often overlooked, but integral part of teamwork is “adjourning.” it is the celebrating, the reflecting and the debriefing in the journey of team learning.
Adjourning is the final stage of team development, a term coined by psychologists Bruce Tuckman and Mary Ann Jensen in 1977. Tuckman introduced the first four (forming, storming, norming and performing) in 1965.
In team coaching practice at Royal Roads, adjourning is where time is taken to examine processes and results, sifting out what worked, what did not, exploring strategies to implement next time and taking time to celebrate and share appreciation for each other. When a team has completed all of their work together, adjourning also refers to closure and preparing to move on.
Team coaches remind and encourage student teams to adjourn with excellence. As a small team ourselves, we regularly practice this using a variety of exercises. In-depth assessments from itp metrics provide a robust analysis or even short, round table sharing and acknowledgement exercises support how we adjourn our projects and tasks.
The adjourning stage can range from eye-opening and transformational to celebratory and satisfying. Whatever the result, it is where true growth happens.
"When we had our feedback meeting at the end of the class, I realized that others were as nervous as I was in speaking up however, there seemed to be a sense of relief in this too, to say it out loud and ask each other to speak up more. It was difficult to hear our shortcomings but also wonderful to know how others really felt, and what we could do better in the future," says one Royal Roads student.