Fresh Thinking for Team Success in 2023

With an economy that could go forwards or backwards, mounting global challenges and ongoing geopolitical tensions, the only real certainty in 2023 is uncertainty!

Fresh thinking is required to make the most of the risks and opportunities it presents. So, how do you and your teams prepare?

Purpose is a solid reference point for teams in both good and bad times and, with this in mind, I’m putting forward four success factors for the coming year:


People need to be in good shape if they are to bring their best-self to work everyday. They might be grappling with long hours, family problems, anxiety and stress, poor physical health, financial commitments, work-life balance, career stagnation, recognition, toxic relationships and so on.

You can’t intrude on their lives, however you can give them breathing space and equip them with tools for bringing focus to what’s important. It’s natural to be concerned that personal reflection may increase the risk of epiphany and resignation, however the alternative is far riskier (refer to this article).

Team members must have solid personal foundations in order to have the ‘capacity’ to do great work.


Operating in silos still happens and it’s hard work breaking it down. The antidote – working collaboratively and cross-functionally – is great, although it can suck up a lot of extra management time. Clarifying the purpose of your organisation – namely its ‘why’ or societal benefit – defines the common goal you are all working towards and obliterates silo mentality if it is done well.

The key step is embedding purpose into policies, processes and practices so that it feels real to people’s everyday work. Get this right and increased cohesion will boost team productivity and performance.


So many work challenges require innovation, and that’s hard to achieve when a work culture feels jaded or it has ‘plateaued’. Purpose lifts people up, inspiring them to channel their energy towards better and more creative solutions. 

Studies have found that employees with a strong sense of purpose have far higher levels of wellbeing and engagement at work compared to those without. Addressing purpose at a personal, team and organisational level helps unleash latent potential.


McKinsey surveys have found that critical thinking is one of the most in-demand soft skills for 2022 and beyond. While agile methods of working are popular, they also run the risk of missing the wood for the trees if they don’t adequately consider different scenarios nor sit well with the strategic direction and purpose of your organisation.

Incorporating purpose into decision-making processes creates this link. You can gain more insight into critical thinking frameworks and the role of purpose in this article.


I suspect there’s a lot going on for you at work and outside of work, and that’s before factoring in the uncertainties that life throws at you and your people every day. Cutting through the noise is key, and I trust these fresh thinking perspectives will help you get set for the year ahead.

Phil Preston helps people and organisations decode purpose to maximise their performance and impact. He is a speaker, facilitator, adviser, author and coach, and you can contact him via

Image credit: Enric Cruz via