Mastering The Elements Of A Healthy Team

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on Samin Nosrat’s book “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat”, for years.  I was finally able to make my way through it this summer; if you love food, and want a deeper appreciation and understanding of both the complexity and the simplicity of cooking good food, this book is worth the time. 

The concept of the book is that there are four basic but essential ingredients to cooking anything.  This got me thinking – if I applied Nosrat’s approach to the work Michelle and I do through WorkModern, what would the four basic but essential ingredients be to building stronger relationships at work?  

Here’s what came to me: 


Without vulnerability there isn’t safety. When people are hiding themselves, not wanting to share what’s difficult, confusing, upsetting, etc, the conversation and the relationship stays superficial. Superficial might feel safe, but nothing new, dynamic, innovative, and transformative happens at that level. If we are going to deepen relationships and build trust, vulnerability is essential.


In the face of the innumerable stresses and challenges that leaders and teams are facing, it is critical that the atmosphere within the group remains positive. Positivity increases energy and optimism, both of which are the foundation of hope. Our brains are more open, curious, and agile when we notice what’s working and what’s possible, even in the face of real difficulties. We can choose to be positive without sticking our head in the sand, and ignoring reality.


Every one of us sees the world through our own eyes and as a result, we forget that ours is just one view; if 10 people are looking at the same thing, they each will see something different. When we can acknowledge that there are a multitude of perspectives, and that no one perspective holds everything, we realize that we need each other to fill in the blanks. Together we see more, and thus have more information at our fingertips to make better decisions, ask better questions, and possibly change direction completely. 


Without commitment we don’t move forward. This is where the rubber meets the road; it’s where we put our stake in the ground and get into action to produce results.  Being able to surface our intentions and goals, and arrive at clear commitments gives us a direction and the means to hold each other accountable. 

One last thing: As the author describes each element she uses specific words for each of the four, to capture what is added or changed when it’s used for cooking. So, in keeping with the formula, I would say that:

Vulnerability transforms…

Positivity boosts…

Perspective balances…

Commitment deepens…

Add a pinch of each into your leadership and team role this week, and notice what difference they make to the overall flavour and experience of work.