7 Tips for Building a Great Team

Building a great team doesn’t happen overnight. Even successful teams can strike obstacles and a new employee can find it confronting to join a high-performing team, for fear they will not be accepted. This 2018 article by Nina Hendy of Certified Practising Accountants Magazine, In the Black provides seven great tips on how you can build a great team.

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Help People Thrive with Real Engagement

There’s a lot of rhetoric in the management literature about how to build a successful team, one that is creative, committed and which shares a community within which people can thrive and the business benefits. However, the reality is that teams don’t thrive at all. Is this because we are asking all the questions? In this lively discussion between Psychologist Clare Mann and Clinical Psychotherapist, Social Ecologist and Executive Coach Tao de Haas, such questions are asked with suggestions of how a change in your mindset can benefit your team. They explore:

  • How managers can build an effective work team
  • Tao is not a fan of team building exercises
  • What does engagement really mean?
  • The fear of conflict
  • The importance of coaching and mentoring
  • Building trust with others

LISTEN below to this podcast from the CPA Website.

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Rehabilitate or Part Ways? Managing Your Client Base

Everyone has clients they love to work with and others that they either feel less motivated by or even bored or irritated with. It’s unfair to the client and to yourself to work with individuals or organisations that you really don’t want to work with and it will deplete your energy and creativity as well as your income. Sometimes the relationship can be improved and sometimes you just have to terminate a client relationship. In this podcast interview with CPA, I explore:

  • The Pereto Principle when discussing client relationship management
  • How business owners and managers identify the core problem with a client
  • Factors to consider when deciding to rehabilitate or part ways with a client
  • How to assess whether a client is worthy of being engaged by the practice
  • Key practical steps in implementing a client rehabilitation program
  • The skills you need when having a difficult conversation with a client
  • The importance of listening to your staff when deciding whether to rehabilitate or part ways with a client
  • Positive ways to terminate a client – techniques and practical steps
  • Non-negotiable behaviour criteria that managers and business owners can put into place at the start of a client relationship
  • How often business owners and managers should review their client base

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Here’s to having the important conversations and here’s to only working with individuals and organisations that inspire and which benefit from our skills and services.

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Adults behaving like kids at christmas

How is it that people look so look forward to the holiday season and yet there is so much conflict, disappointment and family arguments around this time of year? Revertigo, the humorous name given to what psychologists call Associative Regression at this time of year explains why conflict happens and how you can avoid it. Click below to listen to this 12 minute radio segment on the ABC Radio’s Breakfast Program with Robbie Buck and Wendy Harmer on 14th December 2019.

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How Investing in Mental Health is Good for Business

Investing in one’s physical and mental health is essential for wellbeing and is a powerful foundation to achieve personal and professional goals.  However, it’s also good for business in terms of the culture, workplace environment, team well-being and business results.  In this podcast interview with CPA Australia I look at:

  • Exploring the relationship between mental health and physical wellbeing: 02:16
  • The cost of mental health on the Australian economy each year: 03:46
  • Characteristics of poor mental health to look for in others: 05:54
  • What are three ways to improve mental wellbeing? 08:52
  • Identifying characteristics of a mentally healthy workplace: 13:18
  • Signs that an employee is struggling and steps to take to offer support: 18:17
  • The importance for businesses to invest in mental health and the implications if this is not addressed: 23:28

Here’s to removing the stigma that is often associated with mental health challenges and improving the quality of our communication by having the conversations that matter

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The Mobile in the Meeting: How to deal with the distracted

Are you frustrated, fed up and feel totally undermined in meetings where everyone’s on their mobiles and you feel your power as well as what you’re saying goes out of the window?

If this is you (or you’re the perpetrator of this contemporary new social behaviour), then the September 2017 article in The Boss Magazine of the Australian Financial Review is worth a read. It’s entitled, The Mobile in the Meeting: How to deal with the distracted and whilst it might bring a wry smile to your face as you recognise it well, it contains tips to help you overcome the frustrations of people’s mobile addictions and ensure your voice gets heard.


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Don’t wait till you’re on your deathbed to answer these three questions

If you had access to all the money in the world, had all the contacts, confidence, resources and support …

What would you begin to do right now if you knew you couldn’t fail?

Your answer reveals whether you are on the right path.

Each of us are programmed by economic, educational, political and societal systems to think and create in certain ways. We follow in the footsteps of our families, believing the only way to be happy is to work hard, gain financial freedom and then ask, “What really makes me happy”?

When you reach this stage, you’ll probably delay answering the question, instead feel compelled to prepare your children and grandchildren for the same journey. Having the conversations that matter with loved ones about changes that also affect them, is likely to be avoided because they’re just too difficult. Instead, you may settle for a lesser dream, one which takes you on exotic holidays and remodelling of your kitchen or home.

Will this really be enough to say you’ve had a well-lived life?

Is it even possible to have it another way or does that make you prey to the ‘Get Rick Quick’ deals promising greater freedom?

There is another way but you have to change your mindset, challenge the myths that keep you thinking and feeling in certain ways and put in place a system that allows you to create a life where you’re happy with your answers to three essential questions.

Here’s a re-recording of a talk I gave to 50 women at the Behind Closed Doors Connexions event at the Australian Institute of Management in Sydney. Conversations with people since then, reveal that these are the questions we really want to address.

I invite you to answer these questions and take action, so you avoid regrets later in the life, live life on your terms and in the process create a better world for everyone.

WATCH this 20 min video to reveal your answers to those three important questions.

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Inspiring Achievements that Prove the Impossible is Possible

Think about the last day of your life.  It may be today or tomorrow or some time ahead.  As you face your death, would you be satisfied with what you’ve done, who you are and what you’ve been or will you go to your grave with a song in your heart that you never got to sing?  In short, how would you answer these questions:

  • Did I live?
  • Did I love?
  • Did I matter?

On that last day you’re likely to be faced with two things:

  1. You’ll be more upset what you didn’t do that what you did. Thing about it.  Will you wish you had spent more time in the office or will you lament the mountains you didn’t climb, the conversations you didn’t have or the causes you didn’t start?
  2. Of the things you set out to achieve and did, you might ask, “Why did I aspire to do so little and why didn’t I find a way to collaborate with others to make that bigger dream possible?”

What is it that you truly want your life to be about?

  • It may be grandiose on the world stage, maybe ending world hunger, creating a new invention that improves the quality of people’s lives, or the industrialised abuse of animals.
  • Maybe you want to change your own family’s dynamics so that your children don’t continue the legacy of the problems you inherited.
  • Or, like the Australian marathon runner, Janette Murray-Wakelin, you search for a cure for the cancer you’ve been diagnosed with because you made a promise to your grandson that you would always be there for him.

The Privilege of Being a Psychologist

I find myself in a privileged position. As a psychologist, I have heard the personal stories of 1000s of people around the globe who struggle to make sense of what this world is really all about for them.  They all want their lives, work and relationships to mean something and all of them want to truly live, truly love and truly matter.

On 11th March 2017, I was the Keynote Speaker at the Sydney Gala Premier of Raw: The Documentary and this article arose from the speech I gave that night.  The guests at that event were tremendously inspired by the world-breaking record set by two extraordinary Australians, both of them in their sixties.    In my speech, I implored them to look at their own lives and remain open-minded enough to consider the implications the marathon runners ‘achievement in the context of their own lives and ask, ‘What else is possible?”  This article outlines some of the challenges I presented to those people on the night of that Premier.

Singing Your Own Song

Why do so many of us go to our graves with songs in our hearts we never get to sing? I believe it’s because we buy into the personal, familial, social, religious and cultural myths and limitations that keep us from living on purpose.  Instead, we live very conformist lives or as the philosophy and writer Thoreaux once said, we live “Lives of Quiet Desperation”.  When those myths and unquestioned assumptions of what IS possible are challenged, each of us is faced with two broad choices.

  1. Make Excuses For Why We Can’t Achieve Things.
    You can lament that your own circumstances are different, saying, “I am not rich enough, young enough, educated enough or connected enough”.  You can say you left it too late or didn’t have a good start in life so you continue through life making the excuse that you’re not good enough.
  2. Embrace Record-Breaking Achievement as Inspiration To Act.
    You can become excited by new evidence that someone out there has broken all records and demonstrated that it’s possible to get outcomes that others believe isn’t possible.  You can say to the yourself and the world, “I WILL make my dream possible and do whatever it takes to break records”.

Evidence that the Impossible is Possible.

Let me give you some inspiring examples of where the impossible was embraced and outcomes achieved that previously people believed were impossible.

  1. Breaking the World Record for Distance Running.
    The 4-minute mile for distance running was once thought impossible but in 1954 it became a reality.  Not only was it broken but subsequently so many people achieved it  this that it has become the standard for male professional middle distance runners.  What was deemed ‘impossible’ is now a ‘standard expectation’.
  2. Achievements that Medical Science Deemed Impossible.
    The Dutchman Wim Hof, nicknamed ‘The Ice Man’ holds 26 world records including the world record for the longest ice bath.  Wim Hoff sat for 1 hour 12 mins in a bath of ice without his core body temperature falling.  This defied all medical science, yet he proved that it could be done.
  3. Record Number of Full Marathons Run Consecutively in One Year.
    In 2009, the world record for the greatest number of full marathons run consecutively in one year was fifty-two.  It rose steadily over several decades, and although unclear as to the exact number achieved because of record-keeping and the Guinness Book of Records not unable to monitor claims by runners, it rose to over two hundred.  Then in 2013, a staggering figure was reached.  Three hundred and sixty-six full consecutive marathons were run by Jeanette and Alan Murray-Wakelin, a couple from Melbourne, Australia.

Raw: The Documentary premiered in March 2017 charted their journey running around Australia and celebrates this phenomenal world first. In my keynote speech at that event that I asked the audience to consider what this achievement meant for them in relation to their own lives.  I implore you to do the same as you consider what this Australian couple did.

An Existential Imperative

Janette and Alan’s achievement is SO mind-blowing that it’s almost impossible to digest and yet you, like the audience on the night, you have a choice of how to respond. Choose to be inspired not only by their achievement but the existential imperative its message offers, to ensure you sing your own song and make your impossible, possible.

I have chosen to believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that we can create a more compassionate world not only for people but animals and the environment we share it with.

This is my personal dream that some would say is impossible.  I refuse to believe that.  Every day I act to manifest a more compassionate reality and I have chosen to do this in a number of ways:

  1. Create a context for the integration of ethical leadership principles in business practices so principles come before profits.
  2. Teach people to have the conversations that matter (with themselves and others).  Together with the mindset to reach for the impossible, people can learn to truly create lives that matter and which, in turn, positively impact others.
  3. My personal big impossible vision is to become part of a rising tide of social awareness that there is a better way to treat animals, particularly those caught in the abusive process of industrial production.  Few people know that every year, a mere seven billion of us on the planet incarcerate, abuse, torture, rape, kill and tantalise one hundred and fifty billion animals.  This number is difficult to digest for we ask, “Where is all this going on?”  The vast majority of abuse takes place in an industrial system of which intensive factory farming and commercialisation of animals occurs.  It is horrendously miserable for animals but people and the planet also suffer in the process. And all of it is totally unnecessary and is causing the destruction of our planet and moral fibre.

It’s stories like those portrayed in RAW – The Documentary, that inspire me to ensure I stay on track with my dreams so that at the end of my life I can turn within and say, “I truly lived”, I” truly loved”, “I truly mattered and it made a positive difference beyond my own existence”.

I invite you as the reader to do the same.


If you feel there are reasons you can’t achieve what you truly desire, you might start by examining the extent to which societal myths and unquestioned assumptions limit you expanding your mind to seek ways to achieve it.

DOWNLOAD your free digital copy of The Myths of Life and the Choices We Have to further explore the unquestioned social, personal and cultural assumptions that keep you trapped in the “Shoulds, Oughts and Musts” of life.  By identifying the myths against which you make choices, you will expand your options and take the steps to improve your life.






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