What creates high performance teams?

‘What creates high performance teams?’ – I often get asked this question but there is not a proven formula: if you do a + b + c = ‘a high performance team’. Teams are dynamic, calling a group of assembled people a team does not make them one. Telling employees they need to collaborate does not translate into collaboration. Teams do not just happen naturally. Successful teams have great leadership and a shared vision:

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centred and that gives their work meaning.”
– Warren G. Bennis (Have a look at ‘What makes a great leader?”)

Great leaders inspire us!great leaders

  • Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart. It’s about inspiration of oneself and others.
  • It’s about human experiences, not processes. It’s not a formula or a program, it’s about human activity that comes from the heart and considers the hearts of others…
  •   It’s an attitude, not a system:
    • They want to see their people shine
    • They care about them to want them to achieve the best they can
    • They have strong beliefs that drive them to do things really well
    • They understand the truth about ‘tough love’ – it’s  a sign of real respect
    • They want to enjoy their work 

We can look at the characteristics of successful teams to guide us:

Strong focus on long-term achievement: the whole team’s energy and drive is focused on achieving the overall “big picture” i.e. what the organisation is aiming to achieve in the longer term and there is a clear understanding of how the team will achieve this goal in the short, medium and long-term.

Clearly aligned team roles: each team member has clearly defined responsibilities for team issues as well as their own functional role or specialism, and these team roles are assigned based on their strengths and preferred behaviours for working within a team. For example, a team member within the sales function may take on responsibility for liaison with customer service on behalf of the whole sales team as they enjoy networking with others and are good at building strong working relationships. Above all, in a high performance team, every team member is very clear of who has responsibility for which task.

Shared leadership: although the leader of the team clearly holds the vital leadership role, in a high performing team, team members complete some tasks that a traditional leader holds, for example, chairing the monthly team meeting. Team members also accept far more responsibility for resolving issues on behalf of the team when there is a sense of shared leadership and ownership for the business.

Clear open lines of communication: within high performing teams, foundations are not only in place for team members at all levels within the organisation to ask questions and provide feedback on how the organisation is performing, but also simple methodology for team members to share ideas and propose potential solutions to growing the business or increasing the effectiveness of the organisation’s systems and processes. Whatever system used for this, the key is to ensure that there is a quick method for providing feedback to the team member after submitting their question, feedback, idea or suggestion. An “open door” policy along with regular team meetings and feedback sessions with senior managers also supports this approach as its face-to-face two-way communication that wins hearts and minds not notice boards and emails!

Utilisation of team members’ talents: Playing to your strengths is key if you wish to be successful. The same applies to teams. Leaders of high performance teams recognise this and ensure they are aware of all the team member’s talents inside and outside work and continuously look for ways to utilise these to benefit the organisation and its people.

Regular evaluation of the team’s output and effectiveness: High performing teams schedule and spend time frequently reviewing their team objectives to ensure they are on track to achieve their goals within the original time frame set. By doing this they are also able to effectively manage any difficulties that arise and plan additional resource to achieve the goal. In this type of environment, team members are very clear on their responsibility to deliver results whilst feeling supported by other team members when challenges and issues arise. Time is also set aside to review the effectiveness of each goal or project to ensure sufficient learning is acquired and applied for future goals and projects.

Shared recognition of team’s success: At appropriate and relevant times such as the end of a large project, winning of a new contract etc, the leader of a high performance team will arrange for the team’s work to be recognised in the most appropriate way. This could be, but not limited to, internal or external publicity, nomination for an internal award, a “thank you” meal, a personal “thank you” at the team meeting, an email copied into the senior leaders of the organisation. Whatever the method chosen, it should be relevant to the level of achievement, how teams are rewarded throughout the organisation, and above all, pertinent to what really motivates and inspires the team members to produce outstanding results in their next piece of work. Each team member may be different in terms of what motivates them; so taking time to learn about what motivates your team members will ensure you get this recognition stage right.


References and further reading on High Performance Teams:


Thanks to KSL Training for permission to use the above content. KSL Training  is a West Berkshire based training provider which operates across the UK.

Read more: http://www.ksl-training.co.uk


Please help me in 2013 and answer the following question in the comments below, I will be collecting your answers!
What phrases do you use to make people feel more comfortable, motivated, and appreciated?

How can we achieve our optimal health?

I have always been interested in health and nutrition, being an ex-nurse and medically trained it’s always been a priority of mine. I spend a great deal of my time now travelling the world and helping to spread the message of health (with my Juice Plus business), my particular passion is helping children with ADHD without the use of drugs!! But that is another story; the purpose of this post is to answer the question I often get asked….

How can we achieve our optimal health?


We have to change our bad habits.  Seriously, in our fast paced modern lives we need to really take some time to get our priorities straight.

You can’t perform at your top-level if you don’t look after yourself from the inside out!

Today our biggest enemy is our lifestyle, an unbalanced diet eaten in a hurry, lack of exercise, sitting for hours at the computer terminal, and smoking and other environmental toxins as well as mental and emotional stress.  We ask our bodies to deal with many burdens and then we wonder why we get sick.

Well, you cannot control all these factors, but certainly we can become more thoughtful about some of these choices.  Optimal health comes from making optimal choices.  It is a journey.  One has to begin somewhere….

The most important actions that impact your health are daily exercise and eating more fruits and veggies – but you knew that right?

I recommend you start with looking at the food you currently eat and start looking at the nutritional content, unfortunately food produced today lacks the nutrients of food produced 30 years ago. Here are some nutrition top tips!


Tip 1 – NEVER TRUST THE FRONT OF THE PACKAGE – look for hidden truth in the ingredient list

Tip 2 –  THE FIRST INGREDIENT IS ALWAYS THE BIGGEST – product contains the most of this

Tip 3 –  IDENTIFY HARMFUL INGREDIENTS – The Dirty Dozen (Experience Life Mag., Jan. 2009)     


  1. Hydrogenated Oils (Example:  Peanut Butter)
  2. Artificial Colors (Red, Blue, Yellow, Caramel Color)
  3. Nitrites and Nitrates – can be carcinogenic
  4. Artificial sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame K, Sucralose, Saccharin) or High Fructose Corn Syrup
  5. Preservatives (BHA, BHT, EDTA etc.)
  6. MSG (Monosodium glutamate)
  7. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein/ autolyzed yeast extract
  8. Potassium bromate (additive mostly in breads)
  9. Propyl gallate (additive in baked goods, desserts etc.)
  10. Sulfites(sulfur dioxide, metabisulfites, and others)
  11. Sodium nitrate(hot dogs, deli meats)
  12. Sodium benzoate or benzoic acid


Tip 5 – LOOK FOR A SHORT INGREDIENT LIST – usually means it is a much healthier choice

Tip 6 –  FIBRE IS YOUR FRIEND – lowers cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, prevents colon cancer, constipation, hemorrhoids, obesity.  Adults need 25-50 g each day!  Add 5 g to child’s age for child fibre intake. Fibre is not in processed foods or meat, milk, eggs or cheese.  If possible, choose Antibiotic/Hormone Free Dairy & Meat – means it can’t come from a farm animal treated with antibiotics or growth hormones. The use of genetic engineering, irradiation, and sewage-based fertilizer is also prohibited. Avoid Enriched foods – “Manufacturers may be overloading cereals with isolated vitamins that break down over their shelf life and can provide too much iron, folic acid, etc which may increase risk of heart disease and cancer.” (US News & World Rpt, 2001)


For the next best think to eating fruits and veg take a look at the Juice Plus Concept.


Using Emotional intelligence to progress towards your goals Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my blog on using emotional intelligence to progress towards your goals! This final post will include a list of questions to ask yourself to become more emotionally intelligent. I understand for many people reading this that it might be a new concept to understand so first I want to share a study that looked at Emotional Intelligence in education to illustrate just how important it can be!

create the life you want

Emotional Intelligence in Education

“We are educated in school that practice precedes effectiveness, whether in reading, writing, computers, or whatever. We are rarely taught how to practice care, compassion, appreciation or love-essential for family balance.”

  • Our educational systems focus on honing children’s cognitive skills from the moment they enter the classroom.
  • But virtually no emphasis is placed on educating children in the management of the inner conflicts and unbalanced emotions they bring with them every day to school.
  • As new concepts such as “emotional intelligence” become more widely used and understood, more educators are realizing that cognitive ability is not the sole or necessarily the most critical determinant of young people’s aptitude to flourish in today’s society.

Proficiency in emotional management, conflict resolution, communication and interpersonal skills is essential for children to develop inner self-security and become able to effectively deal with the pressures and obstacles that will inevitably arise in their lives. Moreover, increasing evidence is illuminating that emotional balance and cognitive performance are indeed linked. Growing numbers of teachers are agreeing that children come to school with so many problems that it is difficult for them to be good students.

The Impact of an Emotional Self-Management Skills Course on Psychosocial Functioning and Autonomic Recovery to Stress in Middle School Children thru Heart Math

Integrative Physiological and Behavioural Science. 1999; 34 (4): 246-248.

In summary:

  • Students felt more motivated at school
  •  Were more focused in their school work
  • Able to organize and manage their time, both at school and at home.
  • Their leadership and communication skills improved
  •  Harmful behaviour problems decreased
  •  They felt more supported by their families and friends
  •  More comfortable with their teachers and showed increased compassion with their peers.
  • The children also felt more comfortable with themselves, were more assertive and independent in their decision making, more resistant to the demands of peer pressure, and better able to manage their stress, anger and negative internal self-talk.
  • The children showed increased satisfaction and control over their lives while with friends, at school and around their families. 

The positives demonstrated in this study shows the power of Emotional Intelligence and why you should use it to reach you goals! As promised here are a list of questions to ask yourself:


Purpose    –   To add new resources and new references and to make a Radical shift in focus (interrupt pattern)

Definition –   Problem solving Questions shift our focus from a  problem to its possible solutions. They are the way of   Accessing and mobilizing our resources.

In a ‘problem’ situation use the following questions:

1.  What’s great/right about this problem?


2.  What’s not perfect yet?


3.  What am I willing to do to make it the way I want?


4.  What am I not willing to do to make it the way I want?

5.   How can I enjoy the process?


Q. What is making my life a masterpiece?

Q. What’s going to get me there?

Q. What’s the easier/best way I can get this done?

Q. How am I going to Thrive?

Q. What do I need to ‘let go of’ that does not serve me

Q. What do I need to pay attention to?

Q. Are we our ‘drama’… our Story?

Q. What’s important information do I need to know?

Q. How can I be certain when I do not know what to do?

Q. What decision could you make right now to move you closer to your goal?

Q. What are you grateful in your life right now?

Q. What am I committed to in my life right now?

Q. What do you need to focus on right now?

Q. Which emotions do you need to strengthen?

Q. How could you enjoy this even more?

Q. How could you create even more certainty right now?

To finish this 3 part series I wanted to share some tips on how to change your state and improve your mood so you can have a positive frame of mind, everything then is possible so make 2013 your year and achieve them goals!!

20 ways to Change your State

  1.   Make a phone call to a positive, friend or colleague.
  2.   Give yourself a positive treat!
  3.   Start the day with happy thoughts- or a positive affirmation.
  4.   Express your feelings-offload to someone who is pleased to listen and  be supported in a constructive way.
  5.  Make a plan for the day the night before, setting you some goals   /empowering steps for the next day.
  6.  Be assertive- ask for something you want.
  7.  Give yourself permission to be Happy!
  8.  Ask yourself ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen if…’
  9.  Listen to music that you love, read a poem or watch a funny movie!
  10.   Pay someone a ‘from your heart’ compliment and watch their reaction.
  11.   Re-structure your day if it is putting too much pressure on you- we have  to juice ourselves (not feel overwhelm)
  12.   Dress in something that makes you feel good.
  13.   Take extra care with your grooming- to enhance your appearance and sense of well-being.
  14.   Do some vigorous exercise- it’s a great energizer!
  15.    Indecisive? Make a decision..
  16.    If you are worried about something- take steps towards solving it, instead focusing on the problem.
  17.    Remind yourself of your achievements in life, both personal and career.
  18.    Write down a goal in life- even if it’s a dream. List 3 steps to achieving it-Take one step.
  19.    Plan a short trip or holiday.
  20.    Allow some time for yourself- remember you are  a human being – spend   some ‘me ‘time.

For further reading http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emotional-Intelligence-Daniel-Goleman/dp/055384007X


Please help me in 2013 and answer the following question in the comments below, I will be collecting your answers!
What phrases do you use to make people feel more comfortable, motivated, and appreciated?

Using Emotional intelligence to progress towards your goals Part 2

triad emotions and self talk

Part 2 of Emotional Intelligence, read Part 1 first!

The ability to manage emotions effectively is a key part of emotional intelligence. Regulating emotions, responding appropriately and responding to the emotions of others are all important aspect of emotional management.

Emotional power helps us to:

  • Building Quality in our Relationships
  • ‘Tune in’ internally
  • Understanding ‘missing gaps’
  • Taking Action!

Habits of Emotionally intelligent people

People with High EI:-

  •  Label their feelings, rather than labelling other people or situations
  •  Distinguish between thoughts and feelings
  •  Take responsibility  for their feelings
  •  Use their emotions to make decisions
  •  Show respect for other’s feelings
  •  Feel energised , not angry
  •  Practise getting a positive value from their negative emotions
  •  Don’t advise, command, control, criticise, blame or judge others
  •  Avoid people who invalidate them or don’t respect their feelings


Personal: How people manage themselves through motivation, internal states, intuition and impulse.


  • Power of thought
  • Strong Inner desire of success
  • Energy and Emotional Drive
  • Harmony of Mind, Body, Relationships and Events
  • Values into Actions!
  • Vision into Realities!
  • Obstacles into Innovation!

Be aware of self-talk – Destructive or Positive?

What do my emotions mean?

How do I manage my emotions?

How can I handle situations in the best possible way?

How can I deal with conflict in an emotionally intelligent way?

How can I get what I want and satisfy others?

What motivates people?

GROW YOUR OWN HAPPINESS! Happiness  can be achieved by training the mind, remember happy people live longer and fully embrace life, get the learning in the body now and become emotionally aware!


Social: How people manage relationships through communication.

  • Model the way
  • Inspire a Shared vision
  • Challenge the process
  • Enable others to act
  • Encourage the Heart

“the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions” Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer


  • Inspire
  • Awaken passion and enthusiasm
  • Keep people motivated and committed
  • Compassion
  • Flexibility
  • Honesty

“The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. Using strategies to increase your emotional intelligence allows the billions of microscopic neurons lining the road between the rational and emotional centres of your brain to branch off small “arms” (much like a tree) to reach out to the other cells. A single cell can grow 15,000 connections with its neighbours. This chain reaction of growth ensures it’s easier to kick this new behaviour into action in the future. Once you train your brain by repeatedly using new emotional intelligence strategies, emotionally intelligent behaviours become habits.”


Part 3 we will look at the questions you can ask yourself to improve your emotional intelligence.

Please help me in 2013 and answer the following question in the comments below, I will be collecting your answers!
What phrases do you use to make people feel more comfortable, motivated, and appreciated?

Using Emotional intelligence to progress towards your goals

I would like to introduce the concept of Emotional intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. Wikipedia

Q.   Would you like to be more effective in your work and in your personal life?

Q.   Would you like to be able to better understand what you are feeling and why?

Q.   Would you like to be able to participate more consciously in what you feel and how you respond, rather than just reacting in the same old patterns that you always have?

Q.   Would you like to be able to better monitor and motivate your progress toward short / long term goals?

emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence helps us:-

  • Be Happier
  • Motivate ourselves
  • Manage stress in our lives
  • Resolve conflict with others
  • It determines how well we are listened to
  • Gives us skills to be able to encourage, comfort, discipline and confront in different situations

To introduce this topic we need to discuss Emotions..


  • Are about what we ‘touch’, – not just with hands, with eyes, ears, taste, smells..
  • Are about what we touch with our imagination – from fear to success
  • Are what moves us and motivates us
  • Are what sustain us through struggles to our victories

So what it comes down to it – anything we do , anything we think, – there is always a feeling  involved- something we are avoiding or something we want and moving towards.

Fear and Desire are our two strongest and most powerful emotions.

People either invest time, energy, and resources moving ‘towards’ or ‘away’ from something they find enjoyable, or something they wish to avoid. The something is our values, which we use to judge whether an action is good or bad.

E.g. – Health– Can we remember when we started an exercise regime or a diet? Do you remember we are all gung-ho and fired up at the beginning- doing really well for a while, then lost momentum- the weight stopped going down- or creeping up! You lost your focus- then you would get motivated, only to lose to again..- Ahhgh- you say- primarily with this – you are ‘moving away’ – (from the pain of carrying too much weight, lack of energy again..)

Whereas, if you are drawn toward a goal, you are able to keep your eye on the target

People with ‘away from ‘patterns will tend to appear quite negative, and have a tendency to see ‘what can go wrong’. They will use words like- avoid, remove, prevent, and ‘get rid of’, solution..

People with ‘towards ‘ patterns tend to be more positive, and always see the good in things- i.e. What’s possible…- they use words like- accomplish, get, obtain, have, achieve, attain, include.

Our feeling responses are grounded in our biochemistry. There is a ‘transformative link’ from mind to body. (Candace Pert-Molecules of Emotion Book- for more info)

The emotional circuits of the Brain also regulate two critical hormones- Cortisol and DHEA. Cortisol is known as the ‘stress hormone’- and under pressure it is over excreted and can have negative effects on our health. DHEA- is the anti-ageing hormone – because it counteracts the negative effects of cortisol that tend to wear the body out and therefore cause it to age.

The Heart also governs Emotional Intelligence.  It communicates to the rest of the body by producing mood-enhancing hormones.

Emotional states such as anger, sadness, depression and joy can be influenced and even directed by us.  Therefore using ‘practised exercises over time ‘we can change the way we feel about things. By using different ‘attitudinal lenses ‘, we can create a happier, positive, healthier life for ourselves.

In Part 2 we will look at how we can manage feelings/thoughts through our self-talk, focus and physiology.

Please help me in 2013 and answer the following question in the comments below, I will be collecting your answers!
What phrases do you use to make people feel more comfortable, motivated, and appreciated?