5 Tools for Teams

By Adele Fraser

Communication • Motivation • Values • Agreement • Alignment



The successful conveying or sharing of ideas, feelings and meaning.
A two way process of reaching mutual understanding.

How do you listen – to understand or to reply?

“In dialogue, there is the free and creative exploration of complex and subtle issues, a deep “listening” to one another and suspending of one’s own views. By contrast, in discussion different views are presented and defended and there is a search for the best view to support decisions that must be made at this time. Dialogue and discussion are potentially complementary, but most teams lack the ability to distinguish between the two and to move consciously between them.” Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline, 2006.

How does your “listening” influence the quality of your connection and the outcome of your decision making?


The reason for doing something. The desire, need or want that generates the energy required to take action.

What inspires you?

We have all felt it- those bubbles in your chest, that fire in your belly, so nervously excited you may throw up or can’t feel your legs anymore. When have you experienced inspiration?

When can you recall feeling fully present, engaged, inspired, energetic and motivated? Where could you influence creating more of that for yourself? How does knowing what matters to you help to discover your motivation?


A person’s principles or standards of behaviour. One’s judgement of what is important in life.

What about the situation matters to you?

Asking this question helps to build self-awareness – to bottom line the situation, to discern the feelings, uncover the desires and motivation behind the impulse, to get clarity on what the drivers might be.

This is an empowering question. A tool for self-regulation, it serves to help to answer the questions- What’s worth fighting for? What’s worth fighting about? What’s worth working harder to achieve? What of this is connected to my values? What am I willing to be accountable for? How will I stay committed?


A negotiated arrangement between parties. Harmony or accordance in opinion or feeling.

How clear are the group agreements?

Every group operates by a set of agreements, whether they exist implicitly or are stated explicitly. Working groups, friend groups, families, organizational teams, partnerships – we all belong to groups that operate on group agreements. Unclear group agreements can show up as friction points, speed bumps or barriers to productivity or harmony.

What groups do you belong to? What are the pain points? Is there a group agreement operating under the waterline that needs to be addressed? What could be gained by exploring and getting clear on your group’s agreements?


A position of agreement or alliance. The act of aligning parts of a machine.

Where could we go, what could we do, how fast could we get there if we paddled in unison?

Much like the domains of a magnet, we are most powerful as a team when we are aligned.

It is easy to be quickly aware of feeling ‘out of alignment’ with those around you – driving the wrong way down a one way street or leaning in to talk loudly to the person next to you just as the music turns off.

How do you know when you are ‘in alignment’ with others? How does it feel? How do you get there? What do you need to be aware of to stay there?


Contributing Member: Adele Fraser. BA, BEd, CPHR, ACC

As a UBC certified Organizational Coach and ICF Associate Certified Coach, I offer organizational teams the tools and space to discover how they can strengthen the foundational cornerstones of communication, team, leadership and direction to reach their business goals. Follow Adele on Instagram or visit Adele Fraser Coaching to find out more about her coaching services.




Taking The Lead in Hiring the Right People

By Tania Walter Gardiner

Hiring the right people for your team begins with self-leadership. Being clear, committed and able to communicate your vision, passion and plan enables you to more effectively choose the right people for your team. You create a team from a place of insight and integrity. You seek people who are connected to the same inspired energy who will be engaged in bringing the dream to fruition.

  • Who are you?
  • How do you show up in the world?
  • What are your values and how do you live out those values?
  • What is your engagement in the work you are doing?

Leadership begins when you step into being you. It is the quest for self-knowledge, personal growth and being your authentic self.

  • How connected are you to feeling the inspiration of what makes you come alive in the work you are doing?
  • How clear are you on your dream for your business?
  • What is your intentional purpose-driven plan to serve your clients?

Hire the people who share your dream and align with your values. Having a shared vision aligned with each team members values binds, unifies and galvanizes the team.


Contributing member: Tania Walter Gardiner, MA, BA, ACC

Tania is a certified professional solutions and values focused coach and consultant who works with individuals and teams helping them to gain clarity, focus and direction, enabling them to live their definition of success in business and life. To explore coaching with Tania, visit her website: Integral Connections.




Is Your Leadership Failing Your Team?


By Delaney Tosh

In my coaching business I have been having a lot of conversations with businesses, teams and their leaders, about engagement, disengagement and the link between team culture and a company’s or team’s ability to be productive and innovative. Top of mind is the competitive business environment and how a team can be not just responsive, but out-pace competitive pressures in the marketplace.

The extensive research on the topic of innovation all indicates that while there are several key factors that enhance innovation, it all begins with leadership. Leaders either inhibit or enhance all the other factors that are the hallmarks of highly productive and innovative teams.

Innovation is not an accident or only the purview of wacky creative types. Innovation is a disciplined approach and requires leadership that can manage and allow for the ingredients that make innovation possible. Here are three key areas to explore to see if your leadership is on the right track:


Are you, as a leader, able to manage the diversity required for the necessary creative tension that this diversity will ignite? Many leaders look for talent who have similar world views to their own. While you all may feel comfortable sitting around the boardroom table, the similar ways of thinking and approaches will ensure a lot of the same-old-same-old.

Hiring a diverse team is not enough, however, as this diversity needs to be effectively managed so that tolerance of differences is nurtured and tension is given enough rein to allow creativity to spark, but not so much that everyone hates each other. This requires clear communication of the rules of engagement, rigorous facilitation of team acceptance of individual differences, an understanding of why this is important, and an even balance between a hands-on and hands-off approach.


Are you able to handle a bit of failure? What about new ideas – how open are you to these…especially those ideas that are so outside your way of seeing things your first instinct is to scoff? Teresa Amabile and Mukti Khaire discovered, in their research of leading creativity scholars and executives from companies such as IDEO, Google, Intuit, Novartis and E Ink, that it is imperative that managers decrease their fear of failure and instead have the goal of experimenting constantly. Fail early and often and learn from each failure is the resounding consensus of both the scholars and executives.

Letting Others Be Leaders:

Can you let go of the reins? Are you able to let employees run with an idea and bring others on side, or create an initiative and see it through? Autonomy is a critical factor to an employee’s sense of worth and this really fosters individual creativity. Are you attached to finding glory in being the one with all the answers, or does your sense of glory come from helping others realize their unique talents towards a common goal?

According to Jeff Mauzy and Richard Harriman, in their book, Creativity Inc., leadership that does not support employees’ creativity is characterized by:

  • a strict adherence to procedure,
  • low tolerance for autonomy,
  • over-reliance on past strategies and successes,
  • imitating the competition,
  • lack of acknowledgement for personal merit,
  • quick dismissal of ideas that don’t fit the mould, and
  • failure to allow for and acknowledge small wins with individual employees.

As Amabile and Khaire discovered in their research cited in their article, Creativity and the Role of the Leader, “One doesn’t manage creativity. One manages for creativity”. In doing so, you will go a long way to enhancing the culture and productivity of your team.


D_Tosh_cropped_high res C (2)Contributing Member: Delaney Tosh, CPCC, PCC

Delaney believes women do leadership differently and that this matters. Her greatest desire is a world fundamentally changed by the contributions, the voices and the participation of women who are living and leading by their own rules. She is a credentialed coach and a facilitator with 17 years experience and co-creator of the Phoenix-Hearted Woman leadership retreats. Find out more at Squarepeg Leadership, LinkedIn or Phoenix-Hearted Woman

Team Values Connect

By Tania Walter Gardiner

As a business leader working with teams, what values do you work and live by? What is your vision? Mission? When there is agreement on vision, mission, and values the rest is small stuff. You can move effortlessly past any issues that arise.

Vision, Values, Mission

Values define the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the vision, connecting vision to actions. Action steps cannot be planned unless the team is in alignment, having values each member of the team can agree to. One tool that can assist a team to elicit values and develop a strong vision and mission is a charter.

A charter is a structure for agreements so that team members can be relaxed, resourceful and engaged. With these agreements, dialogue flows, moving forward in a productive way. Alignment fosters innovation, inspiration, and high performance. Teams that perform well enjoy their work, have better lives and create sustainable results through time.

Do you have a charter of agreements?

Do you have a charter of agreements with those you work with, whether stakeholders, a team of employees, or family business? Having a charter on how you agree to be with each other and work together deepens commitment, collaboration and contribution. Imagine a day-to-day experience of really contributing in your best way. What difference might that make in your business?


Contributing Member: Tania Walter Gardiner, MA, BA, ACC
Tania is a certified professional solutions and values focused coach and consultant who works with individuals and teams helping them to gain clarity, focus and direction, enabling them to live their definition of success in business and life. To explore coaching with Tania, visit her website: Integral Connections.

Self-Leadership and Values

By Tania Walter Gardiner

To effectively lead yourself, you need to be clear who you are and what your core values are.

What matters to you?

Your values are your filter to identify and choose what fits for you in business and life.

If you were to identify your top three to five core values, what are they?

Values alignment can create a ripple effect.

Values connect you to your authentic self. They reveal who you are and what you stand for. Self-leadership begins from a place of connectedness with your authentic self. If you were truly aligned with your decisions from the inside out, what would that mean for you? What would be the ripple effect to others? When you act and behave in alignment with your values, you achieve the outcomes you want with ease, a calm centredness and resourcefulness. When you have this deep awareness of who you are, you can readily act in your own best interest while respecting others.

Are you crystal clear on who you are?

How clear are you about who you are? Being crystal clear on who you are, having a values-based vision aligned with a strategic action plan is essential to your definition of success in business and life.


Contributing Member: Tania Walter Gardiner, MA, BA, ACC

Tania is a certified professional solutions and values focused coach and consultant who works with individuals and teams helping them to gain clarity, focus and direction, enabling them to live their definition of success in business and life. To explore coaching with Tania, visit her website, Integral Connections.


**Please credit the author with any use of or excerpt from this article in any form. This article originally appeared in Valley Voice.