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Increase TEAM by Focusing on “Commonalities”!

By December 28, 2016 No Comments

Building strong connected teams was critical for consistent success in 2016, and strong connected teams will be a large priority for every leader coming into this next season of sport, business and life.

When team goes well, isn’t it awesome? When the “team feel” is off… how is your sleep?

My NHL Vancouver Canucks coach and friend, Pat Quinn (who passed way too early), had great insight into the principles that generated strong teams.

Pat was a contrarian and I loved that about him. He often said, “Many people like to say, ‘There is no “I” in TEAM.’” Pat would go on to explain, “I think when people say this, they are wrong. There are many ‘I’s’ in a team and if we don’t take care of the ‘I’s’ on our team, we won’t have a team.” Pat understood that people (players) are not the same and have different desires, needs, and wants. His point was that individuals must be understood, must be engaged, and must then be inspired to become “team players.” One of the key concepts in moving our people towards increasing team effectiveness… is to consistently help focus the “I’s” on the “commonalities” of our team.

I personally have been playing on multiple TEAMS for 50 plus years now, and have found that by focusing on certain key leadership skills, we can help increase “team” and activate this energy around “commonalities.” Our successful work with clients over the 120 sessions we delivered in 2016, has focused on exactly this concept. We are helping leaders and teams better understand and implement the mindset and the skills that generate strong team and increase performance.

In his article, (1) To make a Team More Effective, Find their Commonalities, David DeStenno sites research from Google’s People Operations department — its term for human resources — confirming the importance of two key leadership qualities of managers who lead strong, productive teams. “When the tech giant conducted a wide-ranging study on its workgroup, it found that one of the best predictors of a team’s level of achievement was being led by a manager with a supportive and caring demeanor — for example, making time for one-on-one meetings with social chit-chat and helping co-workers solve problems.

Results-orientation and technical skills were important, too, but people were most productive working under a boss who also showed an empathic, compassionate side.
Empathy and compassion, are powerful tools to generate a sense of “similarity” – a belief that people’s interests are joined and, that they are all on the same team and will benefit from supporting each other.

A beautiful Christmas example!

Consider an example from the first World War. British and German troops were fighting a long, bloody battle in the trenches outside of Ypres, Belgium.

But on Christmas Eve, the British began to see their foes light candles and sing familiar carols. Soon, these men, who had previously been trying to kill each other, came out to greet one another, share stories and celebrate the holiday together. For a brief period, they re-categorized themselves as members of the same group, in this case defined by religion, and felt a new camaraderie.” My Father told me that he heard this story from members of our family who fought in this war also. Pointing to shared values and to “what is common” within the group brings people together.

Great leaders illuminate team “commonalities” by initiating and increasing the key leadership qualities of Empathy and Compassion.

This Christmas is the perfect season for leaders like you to practice increasing the implementation of Empathy and Compassion.

Do you find people during this holiday season to be slightly hurried and a bit frazzled? Build your TEAM in 2017 by practicing the Intentional-Conversational-Process of focusing people on “commonalities.” Practice keeping people engaged conversationally around what is “shared” about your families, your business, and your relationships verses what is “different” or “divisive.”

This holiday season, by practicing Empathy and Compassion (the reason we have Christmas), you will be warming up the leadership skills you need to take your team to the next level in 2017!

And by increasing these two great qualities in 2017, you will help accentuate TEAM “commonalities” and generate Above-the-Line ENERGY!

Have an awesome Christmas!



The view from our new home/office in Osoyoos BC Canada

Connect with us at any time re booking your 2017 team and leadership sessions at








(1) David DeSteno is a professor of psychology at Northeastern University and the author of The Truth About Trust: How It Determines Success in Life, Love, Learning, and More

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