The last two years, the world has gone a bit crazy and it’s easy to feel like a victim of these outer circumstances. As we start the new year, it’s therefore important to take the ball back into your own hands and aim for a meaningful goal.

Be an active player, not a victim

Each of us is responsible for pursuing our dreams and desires and for expressing our gifts and talents so that we can create fulfilling and inspired lives for ourselves.

To be able do so, you have to see yourself as an active player in your life. Active players always run towards what they do want instead of just running away from what they do not want (victim attitude).

Know that everything you need in order to best move forward is already inside you. Setting a clear goal will help you tap into these inner resources. Not only will it give you direction and keep you focused, it will also help you attract the support you need from others in order to achieve this goal. 

Set the stage with gratitude

Below I describe a simple exercise you can use to set a meaningful goal for 2022. Before thinking about your goal, I recommend you get into a positive mindset by reminding yourself of all the things you are most grateful for, right now, in your life.

Powerful goal-setting exercise

Listen to your heart and note down your answers to the following questions in as few words as possible. I’ve also included an example at the end of this post.

1. Ask yourself “What do I really want for 2022?”

2. Look at your answer to question 1 and ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”

3. Look at your answer to question 2 and ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”

4. Look at your answer to question 3 and ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”

5. Look at your answer to question 4 and ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”

6. Look at your answer to question 5 and ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”

7. Look at your answer to question 6 and ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”

8. Look at your answer to question 7 and ask yourself “Why is this important to me?”

When you keep drilling down to discover the deeper WHY of your goal, you might start feeling emotional at some point, and that’s good.

Ideally, your WHY should make you CRY!

Remember that emotions are energy in motion so activating this emotional energy will help propel you forward towards the achievement of your goal.

Invitation to experiment

I invite you to experiment with this powerful goal-setting exercise in your own life. You can also do this together with a friend, letting one person be the interviewer asking the questions and noting down the answers. Then swap roles.

Make sure you write down your goal for 2022 and put it somewhere where you can see it every day (e.g. put a post-it on the mirror in the bathroom). If you like working with vision boards, you can also express your goal through pictures. 

And most importantly, commit to making small steps, every day, that will bring you towards the realisation of your goal!

1. What do I really want for 2022? 
Answer: Continue to thrive and survive as an entrepreneur.

2. Why is this important to me?
Answer: Because it will allow me to continue to do my own thing, follow my heart and fully express who I am, on a daily basis.

3. Why is this important to me?
Answer: Because, as a coach, I want to walk my talk, model to others that it’s possible, and inspire them to do the same.

4. Why is this important to me?
Answer: Because I think it will make the world a much better place if everyone had the courage to pursue their dreams and desires, and fully express their gifts and talents.

5. Why is this important to me?
Answer: Because I think it’s what most people need right now.

6. Why is this important to me?
Answer: Because I think it’s an integral part of the process of awakening that is currently going on in the world, and it will amplify and speed up that awakening.

7. Why is this important to me?
Answer: Because it’s time for everyone to play their part in the manifestation of a better world.

8. Why is this important to me?
Answer: Because I think that’s what we all came here to do.

As coaches, we have a suitcase full of tools and are constantly developing new ones. However, if we were to talk about minimalism in team coaching, I’m convinced that one tool alone would have the power to transform the world and improve the way in which human beings relate to each other.

Below, I will refer to this powerful instrument as the “Team Contract” but, as we say in Scandinavia, “a beloved child has many names” so it could also be called “Team Alliance” or “Team Charter” or any other name that best suits your particular circumstances.

Although this concept is traditionally used within a business context, the same instrument can easily be repurposed for any kind of human relationship, be it private or professional.

The main purpose of the Team Contract is to identify mutual expectations and create a solid basis for alignment, trust, and constructive interaction within a team. On an organizational level, it could form an integral part of the overall strategy and the Company Code of Conduct.

The Team Contract can be created via a simple three-step discussion procedure in just a few hours, depending on the size of the team. These discussions should ideally be guided by an external facilitator to allow the team to remain focused on the content of the dialogue and to ensure an effective process void of personal and organizational bias.

Here’s how it works:

1. Team Purpose

The team’s purpose answers the question “Why does the team exist?” both in terms of the end it is trying to achieve or the future it wants to create (vision) and the means to get there (mission).

The mission and vision statements should be authentic, meaningful, and inspirational to the team members. They do not need to be wholly unique, so the focus should be on getting the content right and keeping it short, preferably one sentence for each statement.

2. Team Values

Values are critical, because they define the team’s personality and provide team members with clarity about how to behave, thereby reducing the need for inefficient and demoralizing micromanagement.

CORE VALUES: Identify a maximum of three core values for the team. These are deeply held personal principles and convictions that the team members stand for. 

It is vital to choose core values for which you are already “walking the walk” and “talking the talk,” otherwise it will simply generate cynicism and distrust. A value is only core if you know that you would always hold onto it, even if the environment ceased to reward you, or perhaps even penalized you, for holding this value.

ASPIRATIONAL VALUES: Identify a maximum of two aspirational values for the team. These are qualities that you would like to have and believe you need to develop in order to maximize your success as a team.

DESIRED BEHAVIOURS: In order to cement the team values and make them tangible for future guidance, reflect on what the team values mean in terms of behavior. In other words, create vivid statements for the desired behaviour that will help you cultivate and grow the team values.

VALUE CHAMPIONS: Ensure co-responsibility for maintaining the desired team culture by nominating at least one “value champion” per team value. Being a value champion means the chosen team member has both the right and the responsibility to speak up, not only when the value is being violated, but also in appreciation whenever this value is being honored by the team in an exemplary way.

3. Action Planning

As a final and most crucial step to ensure that the Team Contract will be an effective instrument, the team must decide on which actions are needed to make sure the contract is carefully recorded and remains a living tool that is updated and referred to on a regular basis.

In this case, I would invite you to be creative and playful. Some kind of visual representation of the Team Contract that can be posted somewhere where it is visible to the whole team on a regular basis would be good. I also recommend that you make it a standard item on the agenda of your regular team meetings to reflect on where you are with regard to the Team Contract and to make adjustments, if necessary.

Having an open and honest dialogue about the team’s values and what it stand for is actually just as important as the values and the purpose chosen. An important function of the Team Contract is therefore to give the team a framework for continuous reflection and learning that helps it to stay on course.

Overview of a Basic Team Contract

Click to open in a separate page

Ideally, this basic version of the Team Contract should be further enhanced with a set of mutually agreed guidelines for constructive conflict management. In my sustainable teambuilding program, I also suggest additional training concerning diversity, roles, change management, etc.

Without a doubt, the Team Contract is a powerful tool to ensure alignment, trust, and constructive interaction within a team. As such, it can even be considered the foundation for a healthy and cohesive team culture that fosters high morale, high performance, and, ultimately, high value for all stakeholders.

Imagine a world in which the Team Contract would be a standard operating procedure of every work team and every organization.

Do you think it would make a difference?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

– Leonardo da Vinci –

This version of the Team Contract is inspired by various sources listed in my Recommended Resources page.

Why is it that the most important life skills are the things we get the least help in learning?

Typical life skills that are essential to create fulfilling private and professional lives for ourselves are things like developing emotional and social intelligence; learning effective communication and conflict management skills; identifying our core values and an inspirational sense of purpose; and learning to replace limiting beliefs with empowering ones…

Why don’t we learn this in school? Normally, we are left to figure these things out ourselves. Moreover, most people have little or no awareness of how these essential life skills can improve the quality of all aspects of their lives, and they have no idea how to develop them.

The same is valid for organisations and teams where employee culture usually gets little or no attention and is largely left to shape itself.

In my opinion, coaching is today the best way to learn essential life skills and to create a strong, cohesive and collaborative employee culture. This is the main reason why I have decided to specialise on leadership development, team coaching and organisational culture as my contribution to make work (and the world) a better place.

What your employees will learn through coaching, each individual will take with them into their private lives as well. The potential impact of coaching is therefore like skipping stones across a lake. It’s fun to watch and do, and we never know where the ripples will ultimately end up.

Engaging a coach is therefore not only a powerful way to improve performance and behaviours within your organisation. It is also a contribution to purposeful social change…