TEAM is a mindset

by Susan Leahy CSP and Freeman Michaels MA

Have you ever considered: “Who generates TEAM?”

Many of us give the power to create team to forces outside of ourselves. We blame circumstances or “the system” for preventing team. Often we give the power to people who we view as superior or more important than us because of their title, age, or perceived intelligence.

What becomes possible if the answer to the question, “who generates TEAM, is “I generate TEAM.”

A consistent and sustainable TEAM does not occur because of luck or circumstances. We needn’t wait for someone else to give us permission to create TEAM. We don’t need to find just the right selection of people to produce a powerful TEAM. Nor do we need to wait for certain people to “get it” for us to produce amazing teams. TEAM stems from how we “show up”. TEAM comes from our personal commitment to collaboration, to “win/win,” and to mutual respect.

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TEAM is an offer that we come to embody by how we think, and subsequently how we act in alignment with our thinking. TEAM is reflected in how we order and organize our choices. TEAM is ALWAYS a generous offer. It is an offer that supports us in living a more fulfilling life, both personally and professionally.

At Group to TEAM we support the premise that there are only two options:

  • Reinforcing group or
  • Generating TEAM

Group is not negative, it is normal. It simply means that we are organizing our choices around self-interest.

TEAM requires us to think differently—to always view others as potential allies and to orient our conversations and interactions toward shared interest or a common cause.

Thus, the first step in developing a TEAM mindset is to become aware of our thought patterns. Once we can identify and direct our thinking, our actions and our behaviors will naturally follow.

When we are focusing our attention on self-interest we unknowingly block TEAM. Others pick up on our mindset and feel reticent to trust us. However, as we begin to direct our attention towards shared interest and common goals, people usually feel more safe, seen and heard. As a result, they are more likely to want to work with us.

One of the best ways to adjust our focus from self-interest to shared interest is to make the commitment to always try to discover and uncover a win/win. When we do this, we find ourselves asking the following questions:

  • What would you like to achieve with this project?
  • What do you think your greatest contribution might be?
  • What would be the optimal outcome, for you, if this project were successful?

The line of questions that stem from a TEAM mentality allow for each member of the team to feel seen, heard and cared about. TEAM invites everyone to participate, contribute and win.

One of the other keys to having and maintaining a TEAM mindset is NOT to make “group” wrong. We will all operate from both group and TEAM mindsets at various times in our day. Group isn’t negative, it is simply not optimal. We just need to recognize when we are in a mindset of group, and make the adjustment. We must remind ourselves regularly of what we prefer, and continue to choose TEAM. Remember, if TEAM can’t come through you … it can’t come to you! Making the choice to deliberately shift our mindset repeatedly towards TEAM ultimately makes life more generous and more fulfilling.

Choose to “think TEAM”—it feels better!


Group to TEAM Leadership Solutions is a global training and consulting organization that was founded by Certified Professional Speaker, Susan Leahy MA, CSP and business coach Freeman Michaels MA. Through keynotes, customized live trainings, webinars, on-line training products and consulting services, Group to TEAM Leadership Solutions initiates a deeper conversation about what it takes to build viable, self-sustaining, teams. To learn more visit