Cas’ 4 Top Tips To Building A Great Team Culture

This week, world record breaking adventurer, leadership consultant, international keynote speaker and owner of MyAdventure Group, James Castrission (aka Cas), talks about how business leaders need to build a great team culture from the top down.

I am absolutely convinced that building an effective team culture is one of the most important things that any business leader must do if they are going to enjoy long-term success and stability. I said it in my last article and I’ll say it again here, company culture is like rocket fuel for a space shuttle – it is vital!

Like undertaking an expedition through challenging terrain and sometimes extreme conditions, building a team culture requires the right kind of mindset. It takes determination, flexibility, the abilities to be honest and vulnerable, as well as, the courage to take some risks and a commitment to time and careful planning. Here are some of the important steps that leaders must take to build a winning culture:

Develop an Explorer’s Mindset!

On the 26th of January 2012, Jonesy and I made history by completing the longest unsupported polar journey of all time. I attribute our success, in large part, to something I talk about a lot: Grit. Grit is essentially our perseverance and passion for long-term goals and contains two components:

  • The ability to stick to long-term goals
  • The ability to keep going despite adversity

Over decades of surviving in these hostile environments I developed a model which highlights the key levers that drive grit. I call it the Explorers Mindset.

Let me share with you now what I call: The Cornerstones of The Explorer’s Mindset.


To execute big goals, you need to focus on what you can control, like your attitude and finding the solution to a problem.

It’s easy to get distracted by noise and confusion, but having an Explorer’s Mindset will help you to maintain focus on your circle of influence.


To build an Explorer’s Mindset, you need to control the language you’re using with yourself and your dialogue with your colleagues, friends, etc. Your language will dictate where your mindset goes.


The biggest element from a physiology perspective that you can control is what’s going on in your face. In particular, your smile. The physiological response of putting a smile on your face when times are tough is incredibly powerful.


As a leader, you have no doubt applied all the above factors to get to where you are. Is it time to develop them in some of the members in your team?

This is an area that I am passionate about, and I specifically designed The MyAdventure Group experience “to trigger an evolution of corporate culture.”

Develop vulnerability-based trust

This may seem counterintuitive but it is actually a vital component of team culture and is one that every adventurer must address, in or out of the business chair.

Many leadership commentators stress the importance of making friends in the workplace to build a healthy team culture but the truth is, you don’t need to be best of friends. What in fact, you do need is vulnerability-based trust. That is a crucial component in any highly effective team.

This concept is defined as the team members’ ability to “comfortably and quickly acknowledge, without provocation, their mistakes, weaknesses, failures, and needs for help. They also recognize the strengths of others, even when those strengths exceed their own.”

As a result, leaders can confidently model and provide space for vulnerability and trust in the boardroom and around the dinner table. As leaders invite individuals to share their perspectives of the issues needing resolution, they build more commitment and accountability to the team’s shared vision.

Celebrate team and individual progress

This is about communicating the important cultural value that every role in an organisation plays an important part in the success of the team and of everyone in it. It does mean that you celebrate the achievement of goals and KPIs but it is also much more than that. Any business that succeeds in the long term relies on an engaged and stable workforce which also means that each employee must feel that they have the opportunity and support they need to grow within their respective roles.

This means the celebration of growth and progress in soft skills as well as hard, such as when an employee shows measurable growth in their leadership skills or their ability to engage clients or solve significant problems.

In this way, you build a genuine growth mindset into your company culture and exemplify the important truth that the journey is just as important as the destination.

Live (and die) by your company values

Employees will not be inspired to support or celebrate a culture that is not ‘lived’ by its leaders.

A leader in any setting must bring the values of their organisation to life, and not just in terms of words printed on a mission statement.

A healthy and effective company culture is one to which its team members can make a genuinely visceral commitment. For this to take place, leaders themselves must project the specific behaviours which genuinely match the cultural values they are seeking to instill.

Furthermore, leaders must also be consistent in their modeling of cultural values and this must run through everything that the organisation does from hiring to firing and everything in between including problem solving and performance reviews.

High performance is about thriving with passion and commitment. MyAdventure Group opens the door to this attitude. Each program is fully customised to the outcomes, capabilities, and appetite for adventure of the group, whether it is a collective of CEOs, a small team of senior leaders, or a larger Group.