Creating a Positive Mindset in Your Team in Challenging Times. Building Unity and Harmony, Part 3.

Creating a Positive Mindset in Your Team in Challenging Times. Building Unity and Harmony, Part 3.


There was an incredibly interesting and, in my opinion, a mind-blowing study conducted in 1981 by Psychologist Ellen Langer on the power of the mind and aging. She recruited 8 men in their 70’s and placed them for 5 days in a converted monastery in New Hampshire in the United States of America.

Inside the building, Langer had re-created their world 22 years prior – from the shows on the TV, to the music playing on the radio, to the books and magazines lying around. There were no mirrors, no modern clothing – only photos of themselves 22 years ago. 

When they entered the house, they were told to not only reminisce about their life 22 years ago but to actually make a psychological attempt to be the person they were 22 years ago. Langer told the men, “feel as you did in 1959.”

From the moment they entered the building, they were treated as though they were younger – they were even told that they had to carry up their belongings upstairs to their room, even if they had to do it one shirt at a time.

Before arriving, the men were assessed on such measures as dexterity, grip strength, flexibility, hearing and vision, memory and cognition, and then they were tested on these again at the end of the study.

What Langer found was that the group outperformed the control group (who’d entered the house prior to them and who were simply told to reminisce about life 22 years ago) on several measures. They were suppler, showed greater manual dexterity and sat taller. Perhaps most unlikely, their sight improved. Independent judges said they even looked younger. At the end of the study, the 8 men were even seen playing a match of touch football while waiting for the bus to take them all home. 

Astounding stuff. 

It makes you wonder how each one of us is holding ourselves back, simply by the way we think and the way in which we perceive the world, ourselves and each other? 

And, how much are the people we lead holding themselves back by the way they are thinking and perceiving the world around them?

The greatest gift you can give another human being is to change the way they think and in these challenging times right now, many of your people are more than likely are struggling – some a little, and some could be struggling quite a bit, though they probably won’t admit it to you.

This affects their performance and it can greatly hinder the unity and harmony of your team. If people have a negative mindset or are not optimistic about the future for instance, this can taint how they see everything and hinder their performance, even if there are many positive things going on around them.  

When you have people with a negative mindset, it can bring down the whole team if you let it continue for too long.

How is your thinking right now?

How is the thinking of your team right now?

A very effective way I change my mindset is Visualisation.  

During the last 2 months, I’ve been seriously ill, dropping 15.5kg in just 8 weeks along with all the other symptoms that went along with my Thyroid infection.  I’ve never been so ill. Just prior to my illness, we’d moved to the Gold Coast, leaving behind our support network in Sydney, COVID19 hit affecting our businesses (like it has done for so many of you), and then, my beautiful father in law passed away in New Zealand without us being able to be by his side. It’s been an incredibly testing time, to say the least. 

For those who know me, I’m regarded as a very passionate, driven and optimistic leader, but going through all of this has certainly tested my positive mindset. I had some very dark moments. 

Now I only share this with you, to highlight the power of deliberately focussing on what you want to have happen in the future, to give you hope, to enable you to pull through and to prevent you from going down a rabbit warren of worry and despair. When all I could do was lie in bed, I’d clearly picture myself in places where I wanted to return to or things I wanted to do when I was better and when COVID 19 was over.  

For example, I’d visualise playing golf with my mates, on one of my favourite golf courses of all time, Barnbougle, in Tasmania. I’d remember the smell of the fresh-cut grass of the fairway and the salty ocean wind hitting our faces as we made our way around the course. I’d hear the “thwack” when I’d hit the ball so cleanly from the tee and watch it arc through the air before landing on the green. I’d laugh as I replayed in my mind the banter between us all. I’d really focus on it, to put my mind in a better place than where it was tempted to go (downhill).  

I’d also visualise over and over, where I can see my businesses going and would lie there, planning how to move forward and I called upon 3 really strong, positive men in my life, including my dad, to encourage me, to speak into my life, affirming to me that I’d rise above my challenges.

What’s something extremely positive you and your people can focus on right now individually, and together as a team? 

Who can you ask to speak into your life to encourage you in your darker moments?

How can you encourage your people?

Can I encourage you to deliberately find ways to move your thinking into more positive and hopeful territory?  

I trust my blog today has stimulated you to do this and to help your people do this too – to supercharge your thinking and unite it for the challenging months that lie ahead. 

I trust you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

Take care and keep climbing,


**Note: If you’re struggling to lift your mood, to see light at the end of the tunnel, or just feel down a majority of the time, you’re not alone and you may need to seek professional help.  Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.





If you’d like to learn more about my strategies for creating unity and harmony, we’ve just launched our new LEADING4GROWTH ONLINE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.  In it, I go into great depth about how to create unity and harmony within the team you lead, and much more. Click here for more information. 


How to Make the Tough Decisions to Create Unity and Harmony. Building Unity and Harmony, Part 2.

How to Make the Tough Decisions to Create Unity and Harmony. Building Unity and Harmony, Part 2.

In the late 1800s, in a brick building in New Jersey, America, Thomas Edison formed a dream team to invent, as Thomas put it, “useful things every man, woman, and child in the world wants…. at a price they can afford to pay.” 


Thomas’ team was a diverse one – consisting of an English machinist, a Swiss clockmaker, a German glassblower, and a Princeton trained mathematician and he was able to create such a unified and harmonious team, despite their different nationalities, personalities, and skills, to tap into their unique abilities to bring his visions to life.


His team is quoted as saying that their work was “strenuous but joyous” despite the long hours they worked and the low pay they received (in the early days), because of the culture and team environment that Thomas cultivated as the leader.


Thomas and his team went on to develop many products that dramatically changed the way we live and work including the long-lasting light bulb, the motion picture camera, sound recording, and a system of electric power generation and distribution to name a few. They were a legendary team and are one of many examples of what can be achieved when there are unity and harmony within the team you lead.


You can have the best ideas or products to take to market, but without unity and harmony within your team, you’ll fall well short of your potential.  But sometimes, unity and harmony can seem like only a fairy tale.


There are many strategies you can employ to create and develop lasting unity and harmony within your team, and in the last blog, I covered the value of knowing the personality profiles within your team (click here to check it out).  Today, I’m talking about the importance of making tough decisions in a timely manner.

It’s essential that as leaders, we don’t procrastinate on decisions, as to do so can have devastating effects on the unity and harmony of your team and ultimately, its performance.


Here’s what I mean.  Take for example you employed a close friend in a senior management role in your business. However, after several months, it was apparent that they weren’t the right fit – they were struggling in the role and causing angst and confusion in the team by their manner and what would seem, lack of people skills.  You even once caught a re-enactment at a gathering at the pub of your friends’ management style.  Not good.


What do you do? It’s hard to have that discussion with your friend and make a plan to move forward, but the longer you don’t do anything, the worse the problem becomes, and your team can start to unravel at the seams.  The team’s performance will most likely suffer, and you could lose key people from your team due to the disunity and disharmony this person is creating.  Leadership isn’t easy but it’s your job to make the tough decisions for the good of the business and its long-term success.


What are the tough decisions you need to make right now?

Are you procrastinating?

If yes, why?


Some advice I’ve been given in the past from a wise mentor was that:
You often learn what the right decisions are by sometimes making the wrong ones. It’s better to have made a decision than to not have made one at all.


And I’ve always found this to be true.


The longer you procrastinate, not only does the problem worsen by the day, your influence as a leader suffers as your team witnesses you doing nothing about the problem, which causes further disunity and disharmony.



3 Strategies for Helping You Make Tough Decisions.

1. Ask an independent and wise 3rd party or ask your mentor.
Leadership can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be.  As a leader, you need to make the decisions, but you don’t need to make tough decisions by yourself. Every wise and successful leader I know always seeks counsel, and they all have mentors with whom they meet regularly.  I’m also led by a mentor. I would 100% not be where I am today with them.


Do you seek counsel from a 3rd party?

Who could you ask?



2. Brainstorm the decision with key people involved, if appropriate.
Sometimes it’s helpful to brainstorm the decision with your key people who will be affected by the decision, e.g. closing an office down, or implementing a new system – weighing up the pros and cons, and making the decision as a team. Though you as the leader need to lead this process and ultimately you’ll need to make the final call.  By involving your people, you help them understand and hopefully buy into the decision, building unity and harmony.


Do you consult others in your team for advice? Are you open to their ideas? 



3. Back yourself to make the right decision.

Sometimes, you just need to make a fast decision on the spot to keep things moving and flowing.  Have the guts to make the call.  You’ve got this.


U.S President Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing to do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” 


Sound advice from President Roosevelt.


Do you back yourself and your ability to make the right decisions?


If not, what do you need to do to change this? E.g. a training course, seek advice, stop listening to negative people, associate with positive people who support you, remind yourself of, and focus on your strengths and abilities, get a mentor.



I really hope today’s blog has stimulated and agitated your thinking to help you promote and foster unity and harmony within your team so you can lead your team to achieve something really amazing, like Thomas Edison and his team.


If you have any questions on this, please feel free to contact me at


Take care and keep climbing,


Here’s the link to Part 1 of this blog series.




If you’d like to learn more about my strategies for creating unity and harmony, we’ve just launched our new LEADING4GROWTH ONLINE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.  In it, I go into great depth about how to create unity and harmony within the team you lead, and much more. Click here for more information. 


How to Really Know and Understand Your People to Build Unity and Harmony. Building Unity and Harmony. Part 1.

How to Really Know and Understand Your People to Build Unity and Harmony. Building Unity and Harmony. Part 1.

Unity and harmony – sometimes these can feel like a pipe dream and sometimes you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to create a harmonious environment. Though you know that conflict, ill feelings, gossip, frustration, and team misalignments – unity and harmony issues – no matter what size or situation, must be addressed. They can’t be swept under the carpet nor can they be wished away, no matter how hard you try (wouldn’t it be nice if they could).

They’re like cancer that can seriously impede the success of your team and organisation if left to fester and spread, and you know they will…’s only human nature.

For any team or organisation to achieve their Vision, it won’t be possible if you don’t have unity and harmony between your people. The effectiveness of individuals and teams will be positively or negatively impacted by the positive or negative relationships that exist between them.

Do you have unity and harmony issues within your team or organisation? What are they?

How effective are you at discerning tension between members of your team?

To create positive relationships within the team, leaders must deliberately focus on strengthening and growing relationships within their teams.  Sometimes this happens naturally, but sometimes people need a little help. Remember – you can pick your friends, but often, you can’t pick your work colleagues. You as the leader need everyone to work well together to increase trust and to bring about and maintain positive thinking to generate and maintain positive energy and action. Without positive energy within your team, you won’t get very far, no matter how much pressure you apply.

Do you have positive or negative energy within your team?

Does your team environment foster cohesiveness? 

Ultimately, to create good working relationships to develop unity and harmony, you need to have established what I like to call a “winning team culture” – a culture that nurtures and spurs on each team member as individuals, and fosters relationships between individuals working together as one, to achieve the Vision.

The starting point to developing a winning team culture is to build the heart and spirit of individuals in the team or organisation you’re leading. Winning teams have unified and harmonious hearts and spirits that are for each other and are with each other. When the heart and spirit of an individual turns to the negative, it’ll seriously affect the environment, culture, and relationships between individuals, as I’m sure you well know. Often it only takes a small thing that can then unravel the whole team if left unchecked.

The heart and spirit in individuals need to be aligned with trusting relationships, and individuals must be empowered positively to believe in themselves and each other. This is like oxygen for all teams and organisations. Without it, it’s like trying to drag your team forward in high altitudes with no oxygen tanks – very slow and painful going, with a high chance that you’ll collapse or fall off the mountain, so to speak. It’s up to you as the leader to lead this process  – you can’t just leave it up to your people and hope for the best – you must be very deliberate and focussed on putting into place strategies that will enable and assist your people to work together cohesively, working and thriving together as a team.  This is when the magic starts to happen.

There are some key strategies I use to build the heart and spirit of people to build unity and harmony, and in today’s blog, I’ll talk about the first of these, with more to follow in upcoming blogs shortly.  Stay tuned.

The first strategy I use is to identify the different personalities that exist within a team. There are 4 different personalities as outlined by Florence Littauer in her book, “Personality Plus” – Sanguine, Melancholy, Choleric, and Phlegmatic. It’s imperative when you’re leading people that you, and the members of your team, understand the types of personalities you have around you.  Different personalities have different strengths and weaknesses and are therefore suited to certain roles over others, and, some personalities connect better with certain personalities more so than others too, no matter how hard they try.

When you can make individuals on a team understand we’re all different, and why we’re different, and that we all have different strengths we can bring to the table to win, you begin the vital process of allowing team members to understand one another better and you start to build the unity and harmony within your team. When people have a greater understanding of themselves and each other, it gives each person a new perspective and often a new appreciation of each other, or at the very least, it helps them to accept the people they don’t naturally get along with.

Understanding the different personality types also allows you to put the right people in the right roles. When you do this, it also promotes unity and harmony (plus saves you time and money in recruitment and staff retention) as individuals can flourish in their role and can add maximum value to their team members.  When you have the wrong person in the wrong role, it can lead to that person frustrating their teammates, causing division.

From time to time, my wife and I have couples reach out to us who are experiencing marital issues. The first thing we do with couples is to do a Personality Profile test with them.  You can see the scales come off their eyes about what their differences are with their strengths and weaknesses.  This leads to greater acceptance of each other and it leads to increasing unity and harmony within the marriage. Having been married for 31 years this year, raising two strong sons – without us understanding our personality strengths and weaknesses, we wouldn’t have been able to stay together.  It has been a game-changer in both our professional and personal lives.

Do you know the different personalities within your team?
Do you know your personality type?

Can I encourage you to take the time to read Florence’s book – ‘Personality Plus’ and do the profiling test in the back of the book? It will change your leadership, and your personal relationships dramatically.

Knowledge is power and this knowledge certainly allows you, and your leadership team, to lead your people more powerfully, and for them to interact and work together much more effectively and harmoniously to achieve the Vision.

You can’t build anything great on your own, and you definitely can’t build anything awesome with a team that has unresolved friction or division.

“Compatibility is overrated. What’s required is unity. Unity doesn’t mean you’re the same. It means you’re together.” The Gottman Institute.

I really trust today’s blog has stimulated and agitated your thinking to achieve your Vision.

Take care and keep climbing,

If you’d like to learn my strategies for creating unity and harmony, we’ve just launched our new LEADING4GROWTH ONLINE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.  In it, I go into great depth about how to create unity and harmony within the team you lead, and much more. Click here for more information. 


How a Difficult Decision by a President Changed the Course of History.

How a Difficult Decision by a President Changed the Course of History.


“Death is stalking us the same way it stalked the French. Tell the boys not to come here, to stay home.  If they can get even only $1 a day, tell them to take it.”


This was the common sentiment of many letters back home to families from workers on the Panama Canal Project.


Malaria, Dysentery, Pneumonia were spreading like wildfire throughout the Panama Canal project, but nothing was worse than Yellow Fever.  


It caused internal bleeding, bleeding from the gums, and the “Black Vomit” or “El Vomito Negro” as it was known throughout the camp.


And it was completely terrifying.


Yellow Fever epidemics swept through the Canal Project every year, killing hundreds, inciting panic, and utterly paralysing the work. Before the Americans arrived, Yellow Fever had been largely responsible for the death of over 20,000 Frenchmen and was ultimately the cause of France’s failed attempt to build a canal across the Panama Isthmus.


William Gorgas, an experienced Frontier Medical Officer was appointed to the Canal.  After surviving a bout of Yellow Fever himself at a former posting, he’d made it his life’s work to eradicate the disease. Gorgas had learned of a new theory from an obscure Cuban medical journal stating that mosquitoes were responsible for the spread of the disease and he’d previously trialed this theory in a posting at Havana, where he’d had great success.


William Gorgas drew up a $1 million proposal for the Panama Canal Committee to review.


They gave him $50,000……….


They called the proposal “Various Balderdash from Crazy Gorgas with his wild mosquito theories” and requested his removal from the project.  


On the eve of Gorgas’ dismissal, President Roosevelt received a visit in his home in Oyster Bay from his personal physician, Doctor Alexander Lambert, who told the President:


“You are facing one of the greatest decisions of your political career, and if you fall back on the old methods, you will fail, just as the French failed. If you back Gorgas, you will get your canal.  It’s your project and it’s your choice.”


Roosevelt gave his approval and instructed the committee to give Gorgas everything he needed.  Gorgas, along with the blessing and backing of Chief Engineer, John Stevens, launched the most expensive public health campaign in history.  


With great military precision, they installed screening for all buildings, fumigated every dwelling in the canal zone to kill adult mosquitoes.  Every house, every shack, every puddle, every gutter, every water source in the Panama Canal Zone was a target for Gorgas and his team.  Gutters were screened, lids were placed on all water cisterns; Gorgas even introduced a fine of $5 if a wriggler was found in your home.  He was going to kill them to the last, which was no easy feat as it never seemed to stop raining in the jungle of Panama.


On November 11, 1906, Gorgas called his team into the Autopsy Room to view what he determined was the last case of Yellow Fever they would ever likely see.  


He was right.  


The Panama Canal is a massive testament over and over again of gutsy leadership, sheer human endeavour, determination, and the willingness to try something completely different, in many facets of the project.


(My blog “Leaders Set The Example In These Key Areas, Part 3”, covers some of the other massive leadership challenges faced on the Panama Canal Project.  Click here to have a read.)


To lead and to keep leading to the best of your ability to lead your team effectively, particularly through difficult circumstances, you must continually be completely honest with yourself.


What do you have to be honest about?


A few years ago, we had to put down our 16-year-old Japanese Hunting Dog, Simba.  It was a devastating moment for our family.  2 days later we had two Miniature Spoodle puppies running around our property – we called them Romeo and Kesha.  As much as the two puppies over the last 18 months have brought significant joy into our family life, I looked back on the 16 years with our dog Simba and realised some of the best thinking time for me was when I walked him around the golf course that we lived on.


If you keep thinking the same way, you are going to keep getting the same results.  


Every day I take our two puppies for a walk so that I can think about all areas in my life and assess where I need to change it up, where my thinking needs to be different.


Do you set regular time aside to really think clearly about your life and to think about any challenges you’re facing right now?


The very successful business owners that I have the responsibility to lead, think differently to other business owners that want to make it big and can’t find that strategy to create scalable growth.  


The greatest gift you can give a human being is to positively impact their thinking, so they think better than the day before, just like Dr. Alexander Lambert did for President Roosevelt back in 1906.  


Where does your thinking have to change?

Are you thinking positively or negatively about your current situation?


Effective leaders find creative solutions to problems they face on a daily basis.  Their thinking allows them to grow their intuition and discernment which enables them to use their Leadership Instinct to lead people and bring about effective change.


My Mentor, Jim, in 1992 taught me that my thoughts would determine my destiny.  The way we think will develop a platform for the results we want to achieve in our life.


If you aren’t happy with what you’re achieving in business and in your life, the only way to change it is to change the way you think.


What do you want to change?

What are you prepared to do to change it?


History would have been a whole lot different if President Roosevelt decided to go with what he knew from the past, what he found comfortable, and not to risk his reputation and Presidency.


Are you holding onto what you find comfortable?


Effective leaders grow teams, businesses, and organisations.  This can only happen when you duplicate the right thinking from the leadership down.


One of the most effective ways to bring about a change in your thinking is to be led by somebody who has greater wisdom and experience than yourself.


Are you being led?


Who leads you?


Nobody has all the answers and wisdom is more precious than gold because when you have wisdom you can make gold.  Imagine if Roosevelt didn’t heed the advice of his expert physician, Dr. Alexander Lambert?


I was led for 22 years and it had a major impact on bringing about a change in my thinking in all aspects of my life.  When I look at where my life is today and some of the amazing things I have been able to achieve, it’s only because of me being personally challenged by someone I trusted to change the way I think.  


Effective leadership is effective behaviours.  Poor leadership is poor behaviours.  Everything duplicates good or bad.


What creates success in life is the thinking which drives the behaviours to achieve the results you want to achieve.


Are you achieving the results you want to achieve?

What behaviours do you need to change to lead more effectively?

Where does your thinking have to change?

Who leads you?


I really hope today’s blog has brought about a positive change in your thinking so that you can achieve the results you want to achieve and achieve your “Panama Canal”.


Keep climbing.



I talk further about leading by example in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.



Some other articles I’ve written on this topic (or similar ones) are:

Are You Too Comfortable?

How To Powerfully Lead Your Team Through The Tough Times, Part 2


(If you’re not familiar with the building of the Panama Canal, it’s well worth the effort to check it out – an awe-inspiring story of true Leadership and pure human endeavour against all odds.  Check out this doco: )

How to Effectively Lead Remote Teams. Part 9: Cost Effective Ways to Up Skill Your People.

How to Effectively Lead Remote Teams. Part 9: Cost Effective Ways to Up Skill Your People.


In a study conducted in 2014, it was found that:

A staggering 75% of Australian employees said their workplaces need better managers and better leaders. 


75%!!   In this new COVID 19 world we’re dealing with right now, we really need better leaders and better managers to navigate these unprecedented times.


As John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership”.


Organisations, businesses, and teams have never been under so much pressure to adapt and survive and this situation has been exacerbated by the necessity to have their people working remotely from home and all the extra challenges this brings along with it.


There has never been a more important time in recent history to train and equip your people to be more effective in their roles.  This is the time, to grow the leadership potential of your people to help you lead the business, organisation or team you lead with greater effectiveness.  This is the time like never before to raise the performance capability of your key people.  Your people to bring their A-game, working in isolation.


This is not the time to pull back on training and upskilling your key people.


A recent article in Forbes Magazine, beautifully outlined some in-house solutions for training and upskilling your remote people and teams, that are seriously worth your consideration. It gives you some really practical things you can do in-house, for little cost.


There are also many cost-effective online courses and programs available to businesses and organisations which your remote people can easily access and participate in.  To ensure what people learn gets implemented, have them report their key learnings to the team, via a Zoom call.  If the team is participating in the program together, have them discuss this all together and then strategise how to adopt what they’ve learned into the business, team, or organisation.


A particular favourite of mine is my new program, the Leading4Growth Online Leadership Development Program. This online program was developed to help business owners, CEO’s, coaches, and anyone who leads teams and their key people to equip them to raise their effectiveness, leading teams.


The 8 key strategies covered in the first 12 months of this program will stimulate and agitate your thinking in relation to what you must do to lead teams, remote or otherwise more, effectively.


The timing of the COVID19 pandemic crisis with the launch of Leading4Growth, I believe will impact your leadership and see you leading for growth during these unprecedented times.



Where do you need to grow?


How are you growing your people in isolation?


What do you need to do to make this happen?


Are you prepared to invest in yourself and the key people you surround yourself with?



This brings the series, “How to Effectively Lead Your Remote Team” to a close.


I truly hope that this 9-step process has sparked thoughts and ideas you can immediately implement into your team and business you lead remotely to grow the effectiveness of your people.


If you have any questions, please email me at or join our Facebook Page and message me or post a question to the group.


I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.


Take good care and keep climbing.




Here are the links to the other blogs in this “How to Effectively Lead Your Remote Team” series:

Part 1: How to Ensure Your People Stay Focussed on the Vision

Part 2: Setting Clear Expectations and Driving Accountability to Them

Part 3: Growing and Transferring Trust

Part 4: Caring Where Your People Are Emotionally

Part 5: Harnessing the Power of One on Ones

Part 6: Powerful Communication – the What, How and When

Part 7: Finding Your Untapped Leaders

Part 8: How to Super-Charge Your Team



If you’d like to follow the Leadership Dynamics Facebook Page, my team and I are organising some online events to thrash out issues like leading your teams remotely, in more detail.  Stay tuned.  Click here for the link to my Leadership Dynamics Page.



I’ve been leading remote teams globally since 1994.  In one of my businesses, I now have remote teams in 28 countries, with a sales force of 15,000, in 12 languages. I’m also the Founder of Leadership Dynamics Australia which provides leadership strategies for SME’s and professional sporting organisations in Australia since 2003.  I’ve implemented the strategies outlined in this blog series, ‘How to Effectively Lead Remote Teams”, since 1994 to great effect.