launch a new team



This series of short posts explores more deeply the Nine Team Moments that Matter when you, as a team leader, may need to pay extra attention to the needs and performance of your team. We identified these moments by blending our review of the research into high performing teams and our more than two decades of working with teams as internal and external consultants / coaches. 

Moment 8: Team mid point review

“Oh damn, the end is now closer than the beginning”.

This realisation can be a wake-up call to some teams, especially if they are slow in delivering or are under performing. “Halfway through a cycle, a meeting, or a project, teams tend naturally to reorganise and reorient their processes in preparation for the second half.” (Wageman et. al., 2009).

The literature refers to this as the point of punctuated equilibrium. Others refer to it as the “oh shit” moment. The theory, and what has been observed, is that as groups and teams work towards completion of their task, they will experience or exhibit long periods of inertia. This is punctuated by ‘revolutionary’ changes, usually triggered by a growing awareness of running out of time. (Gersick, in Hurt et. al, 2007).

This is reflected in the graphic below.

The Value of a Mid Point Review – 4 key questions

The mid point review is the critical moment in time to course correct. A great way to achieve this is to pause and reflect on the following questions:

  • What have we achieved so far?
  • Where have we been successful and why?
  • What do we still need to deliver?
  • What do we need to change, or do differently, in order to achieve our objectives?

It is also a great moment to revisit the Before Action Review that the team may have completed at the start of the project or piece of work.

We all know the value of data. For those teams who have already completed the Team Diagnostic Survey, a simple pulse version is available and provides insights into where the team might want to course correct. 

A member of a project team that I recently finished working with sent me the following message. It sums up better than anything I could write about the value of a mid-point review.

“Your influence and experience certainly paved the way for our successful project but, as I think you mentioned at the outset, the key for our group was our mid-point catch up. It really did change things and focused our minds on the job at hand!”

Getting a bit academic....

I am a follower of Associate Professor Laura Hauser, particularly her work on Shape Shifting and coaching teams (2014). Like Wageman et. al (2009), she looks at the importance of timing from a coaching perspective.  At the mid point, the role of the coach shifts from being directive to more dialogic, “negotiating conflicts, dealing with problematic group dynamics, and organisational hierarchies”. The role of the coach, or observer, is to inquire, name observations, evoke and provoke reflection.

For the more adventurous, you may wish to use an Emergent Learning Map (Stroh et. al., 2007). Emergent Learning (EL) maps offer a simple yet powerful approach to recognize patterns and come up with more systemic solutions through capturing data or results, framing hypotheses, and articulating next steps. Reach out of you would like to learn more about EL and using them with your team.


Hauser, L. (2014). Shape-Shifting: A Behavioral Team Coaching Model for Coach Education, Research, and Practice. Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture, 5(2), 48–71.

Hurt, C.A., Trombley, S.M. (2007). The Punctuated-Tuckman: Towards a New Group Development Model. Retrieved from

Stroh, D. P., Blass, E., & Kofman, F. (2007). Growing Knowledge Together: Using emergent learning & EL maps for better results. Reflections: The SoL Journal, 8(1), 1–11. 

Wageman, R., Fisher, C. M., & Hackman, J. R. (2009). Leading Teams When the Time is Right:. Finding the Best Moments to Act. Organizational Dynamics, 38(3), 192–203.

Teams and changes in context mater.

are you about to hit the mid point of your project?

Reach out and we would be happy to explore how you can leverage the opportunity that this creates.

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