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> The 7 practices of healthy and highly effective teams - Peter Watson

As your body needs healthy practices to have a healthy body (such as regular quality sleep, healthy nutrition, regular exercise) so your team needs healthy practices to create a team that consistently creates high levels of effective outcomes.

Over the last twenty years, as the leader of not-for-profit organisations, I have sought to learn how best to get outstanding results from my teams, and in that time I have read over 2000 books and listened to countless hours of podcasts. As I read, listened, considered and integrated those ideas I began to form a framework for collating and understanding that information. After a while I began to realise that there were some common themes behind all the ideas and suggestions I was reading and seeking to apply.

Over time as I sought to share and communicate those common themes a series of descriptions came into my language and eventually a framework I call the ‘7 practices of healthy and highly effective teams’.

Now before I briefly outline these practices note a few key ideas inherent in my framework.

  • Firstly, we are talking about ‘healthy teams’ AND ‘highly effective teams’. It is my belief that to build a world-class team it needs to not only perform extremely well, it needs to be the kind of team that people look back on fondly as functioning healthily, that is the members of the team weren’t used up and spat out in the pursuit of outcomes.
  • Secondly, we are talking about practices, practices are things you have control over and can do. Practices aren’t high minded concepts that float around in the ether of you mind. Practices are unattainable ideals. Practices are grounded in actions you can take.

Now, let’s look briefly at the 7 practices so you can improve your team’s effectiveness.


The practice of creating an environment of ACCEPTANCE where those in your team feel welcome, safe and accepted. When team members feel safe and welcome they are more likely to connect, engage, grow and achieve.


The practice of encouraging the right ATTITUDE, where there is a greater emphasis on the strengths and successes than on weakness and failures. When we begin with the positive (without ignoring the negative) we create a more engaging, inspiring and ultimately more effective team culture.


The practice of getting to a common ASPIRATION, where there is clarity about team and personal purpose in this moment and into the future. With a transparent and agreed purpose the energy of the team increases and becomes more focused.


The practice of being clear about ACTUALITY, where we face the reality of our current situation in terms of our roles and/or responsibilities. When we take responsibility and are clear about the situation we are actually in, then we are in the place to determine how to move forward.


The practice of getting to clear AGREEMENTS. When we can drill down to the ‘Who’ will do ‘What’ by ‘When’ we move from cheap talk to positioning for effective action.


The practice of ACTION to complete my side of my agreements. Only as we personally do what we say we will do, when we say we will do it, can we build our integrity, reputation, and lay a foundation for holding others accountable for their commitments.


The practice of ACCOUNTABILITY, of holding people to their word regarding the clear agreements they have entered into. This rare and uncomfortable skill is the key that releases people into higher levels of positive self-regard and results in greater positive personal and team effort. The focus here is not always a successful outcome, but the application of appropriate processes and effort which in the long run create the character, skill and fertile soil out of which growth will come.

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