The Four I’s of Flourishing Team Culture

By June 20, 2019Culture, Leadership, Learning, Teams

Flourishing teams know that they can’t get to the next level with the approach that got them to the level they are at today. They appreciate the research on Mt. Everest climbing teams demonstrating that teams who struggled or died on the way to the summit were trying to use the skills that got them to basecamp.

Flourishing team cultures have distinct principles that get them to new levels of possibility: initiative, integrity, inclusion and internal motivation.


People assign themselves in pairs and individually to everyday work tasks based on their strengths and passions. This leads to meaningful and high quality work. Commitment to work is higher when people choose rather than get assigned to what needs to be done at any point in time. When people have freedom to take initiative, they also become better at knowing their strengths and passions and knowing how to recognize and prioritize work.


Integrity is transparency and working by agreements. In transparency, there are virtual spaces where anyone can see what anyone else is doing, needing and getting done. This sustains tempo and keeps everyone in sync. Working by agreements is the effective opposite of working by assumptions. Tensions are reduced and prevented when the team works by agreements about what matters most to everyone in their work.


People are smarter together. When people collaborate, decisions are smarter, ideas as richer and more realistic and learning becomes a continuous and natural experience in the course of everyday work. When people feel included they feel valued and valued people deliver higher value in their work. Teams with flourishing cultures learn how to collaborate with optimal efficiency and resilience.

Internal motivation

Working with internal motivation means working from a clear and connected Why. Our Why includes our passions, strengths, dreams, signature stories, what matters most to us and our core questions. Performance and loyalty at optimum when motivation for work is more internal than external. Internal motivation also creates organizations of contributors rather than consumers.

These principles make it possible for these teams to work with far higher levels of performance, loyalty and profitability than average and struggling teams.


About Jack

In my late twenties I had the good fortune to have mentors who were practice leaders in what was then called the Human Potentials Movement. They inspired me to help organizations and communities realize their potential in ways they never imagined. It became clear this was the core gift that would shape the past 40 years.

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