Creating space

October Newsletter

Hello friends

We all need a little help from our friends.

And this month we want to offer some of the ways we cope with overwhelm, exhaustion and anxiety.

Andy’s been reading another book which has stimulated his interest in making space for innovation – the book is by Kevin Cashman “The Pause Principle”.

Pip tells us how she copes with anxiety and I’ve recorded a short video which highlights why we must choose wisely if we are to avoid burnout and exhaustion.

We’ve tried to keep this month’s newsletter short because we know you’re all so busy.

Take good care of yourself and your people – we’re all we’ve got to get the job done!

Tony, Andy and Pip

The “Living Teams” Team


Victor Frankl quote

Take the time to choose wisely

By Tony Barton

How to create space for innovation

By Andy Denne

Great space has no corners.

Great talent ripens late.

Great eloquence is silent.

Great form is shapeless.

The subtle essence of the universe is hidden and

indefinable, yet its benefit is always bestowed.


The challenges ahead of us are real.  The complexities and incoherencies of our world need our best thinking.  Climate change is accelerating.  The Antarctic is melting faster than predicted. The natural world needs humanity to up its game.

Collaboration and innovation is needed now more than ever to tackle the challenges of the future.


We live in times of enormous distraction.  Its staggering to notice how many distraction devices there are. Pings, blips, vibrations non-stop.

I got “hooked” recently by the pyscho-drama of UK politics.  Boris being kicked out of office, Liz Truss coming in and crashing the UK economy…. Every day I was hooked – like I was watching a soap opera.  My hooked condition had me giving my energy and vital life force to something I had 100% ZERO influence over. Horror show!

The only way out, was for me to press pause. I had to hit the stop button and make space for my choices.  And it was important that I used the “space” I made with intention and clarity of focus.

Here are 3 practices that help me, and they may help you create space for innovation to grow.

Be On-Purpose

Take the time to clarify your motivating values and compelling purpose, individually and collectively. Purpose fuels energy and drive to go beyond what is, and it continues until something extraordinary has been created. Purpose is the value-creating, energy-multiplying life force of innovation. Do this deep personal work and take it deeper by sharing your thoughts with your team.

High Performance teams dig their purpose out of the ground again, and again, and again.

Question and Listen

Step back to be open and curious by using the language of innovation: questioning and listening. Strive to ask the extra question to challenge yourself and others to go deeper and stretch further. Hone your questioning and listening skills to activate collective innovation capacity.  Seek out diverse viewpoints to observe problems or opportunities from a fresh point of view. Do not just leap to the answers, trust curiosity and the learning that results from inquiry.

Foster Generativity.

Take time to connect, coach, mentor and develop your people. Constructively challenge their thinking, strategy, and behaviour through the lens of innovation. Stretch people to create, to innovate and to envision alternative futures. Grow your people to grow a culture of innovation.

(For more ideas read: Kevin Cashman “The Pause Principle”.)


If you’re anxious, take a breath

By Pippa Handford

Take a breath!

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

We do it without thinking approximately 22,000 times a day!

Yet do we really appreciate the power and benefits it can have on us when we consciously take a breath?  A slow deep breath.

Deep breaths are more efficient for our bodies: they allow us to fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide. They have also been shown to slow the heartbeat, lower or stabilize blood pressure and lower stress levels.

That’s all useful stuff!

I have recently been experiencing the impact of taking a deep breath to help calm me when my anxiety is getting the better of me. Historically when I felt anxious, I instinctively flipped into reactive mode – I didn’t think – I just responded – which usually resulted in fuelling my anxiety symptoms further.

I have learnt to spot the early signs and triggers of my anxiety and consciously take a moment to breathe.  A couple of slow deep breaths enables my head to catch up with my body. It allows time for me to implement the strategies I have learnt for dealing with the overwhelm anxiety can bring.

It’s so easy to forget the benefit of some of these really simple things.  If just taking a deep breath can help reduce a small amount of the tensions of our incredibly busy lives, it’s got to be worth a go – hasn’t it?

Living Teams Rock Moments 

This month we invite you to take 3 minutes just to breathe.

This short breathing meditation comes from a wonderful book that we thoroughly recommend for anyone who is looking to find a bit more peace in their frantic life.

Hope you enjoyed this shorter version of our newsletter.

We’d love to hear what’s going on in your team.

Take care.

Tony, Andy, Pippa and all the coaches at Living Teams

The “Living Teams” Team