FIRO* – a theory that describes a team's development in three stages – from inclusion to control to affection. Our goal for 2000 was to go from inclusion to affection – a trip that would take us almost one and a half years.

FIRO is a theory developed by the American researcher Will Schutz.

The three stages of FIRO can be summarised as follows.

When a team is formed or changed, it is in the inclusion phase – a phase that in general is about belonging or not belonging to the group. Relationships are of great significance and it is important that the individual feels significant and that he or she can be included in the group. The inclusion phase is often quite pleasant and the group members enjoy each other's company, but the relationships are superficial and it is common to put the lid on the pot as soon as things start to heat up and boil over in order to prevent unpleasant conflicts.

In order to move from inclusion to affection, you must go through the unpleasant and troublesome phase called control. In the control phase, the group is in conflict and hierarchy is determined – who will be on the bottom and who will be on top. The group divides and requires responsibility. The members' attitude and skills are put in focus, tested and questioned. The group is ranked best to worst – not in general but in different situations and with different work tasks. For the individual, it is about self-determination, taking control of the situation and feeling competent and needed in the group.

When or if the group finally reaches affection, the group is once again in balance. Roles, skills and individual behaviours in the form of strengths and weaknesses are mapped out and accepted. The group focus is now on achieving clear and defined goals. Energy is put into handling allocated tasks instead of energy-draining discussions. For the individual, it is a matter of finding your own level of openness and liking yourself for the person you are and the person you can be. At the same time, you have accepted and clarified yourself and your own abilities as well as become aware of the abilities of your co-workers. It is through affection that everyone is liked and accepted for the individuals they are.

*Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation, Will Schutz