Nick Fewings – Failure is life’s way of teaching us lessons that help us succeed

Helping teams to achieve high-performance teamwork and even greater success.

PHOTO: From Failure to Success: Nick Fewings shares his 30-year journey in team dynamics,
from a project manager’s early failure to a bestselling author and international speaker,
all inspired by lessons learned and a dedication to his canine companion, Zippo. 
Photos by Photographs by Catherine Hadler 

30 years ago, Nick Fewings became an accredited project manager in a bank, and it was not long before he was asked to lead a team for the first time.  He failed!  His project overran, the budget was blown, there were many errors in the project deliverable, and he destroyed his team.

However, that failure has shaped the last 30 years of his career, seeing him work with 1,000s of individuals and 100s of teams around the world, and also speaking at over 500 conferences worldwide about his passion and specialism, helping teams to achieve high-performance teamwork.

In addition to the above, it also helped him to create a unique model, that helps teams to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of their teamwork, overall and across 16 areas of teamwork, such as purpose, communication, trust, accountability, diversity and planning. 

The model, which is called Team DyNAmics©, also formed the foundation of his book, Team Lead Succeed, which has become a bestseller, read on 6 of the 7 continents of the world, and due to it being deemed a book of national interest in the UK, has copies residing in The British Library, The National Library of Scotland, The National Library of Wales, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, Cambridge University Library and The Library of Trinity College Dublin.

Who is your book dedicated to? 

Our Greek Rescue Dog, Zippo, who sadly passed away whilst I was writing it.  It is quite a humorous and unusual dedication.

When and where did you get your ideas for your book from? 

When I was out walking Zippo.  He was quite a dawdler, so it gave me lots of thinking time and this is when I would have my “ping moments.”

What has been the most bizarre thing that has happened to you since writing your book? 

I took a copy with me to Palma, Majorca.  My wife and I went to the Hard Rock Café for a drink and bite to eat.  The waitress serving us saw it on our table. 

When she came back with our drinks, she told us that she had seen it, and thought it was some holiday reading.  As she was interested in teamwork, she searched for it on Amazon, saw my photo and realised I was the author.  She immediately bought a copy and asked me to sign a slip of paper with a personal message to go in it when her copy arrived.  She also asked for a photo of her with me, with me holding my copy of Team Lead Succeed.  The smile on her face was priceless.

What advise would you give to the next generation? 

Find your passion and use it to help others on their journeys through life.

If you could give one piece of advice to others who are writing a book, what would it be? 

To think about your book as a seed.  When it is published, it needs to be regularly nurtured and tended to in terms of making others aware of it, or else it will not reach those who may benefit from reading it.

What’s the last great book you read? 

GET THERE, love here by Kate Trafford.  A great book that gets you to remember to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

What book or author has impacted your writing career the most? 

Our Iceberg Is Melting by John Kotter, a great story about different personality types and how they cope with change.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading? 

I enjoy reading factual books about the etymology of words, business idioms and phrases.

Who is your favourite fictional hero or heroine? 

James Bond.  Pure escapism, with a dash of humour throughout the books.

What book are you planning to read next? 

People In Their Element by Yvonne Guerineau.

PHOTO: From Failure to Success: Unveiling the Power of Team Dynamics

Tell us about Team Lead Succeed. What inspired you to write it?

Over the years, I had been too busy, travelling to work with teams or to speak at conferences, to have the focused time required to write a book.  That all changed when the COVID pandemic meant that I, like many others around the world had to endure lockdown.

This meant that I had a lot of time on my hands, as understandly, nobody was able to undertake face to face team development, nor indeed put on a conference and need a keynote speaker.  Being a positive person however, I thought, this is the ideal opportunity to write the book that so many people have been asking for over the years.

“Everyone in a team has a voice.”

I was inspired to write it, based on the fact that I wanted to help both team leaders and team members to have access to learning that would help them achieve even greater success, and not fail as I did when I first started leading and working as part of a team.

I wanted the focus of the book to be about teamwork, as there are a plethora of books dedicated to leadership however, there are many more team members than leaders, and I believe that everyone in a team has a voice when it comes to how they work together.

I initially sought feedback from both team members and leaders, outlining my idea.

The feedback was extremely positive.

I also received feedback that they wanted the book to be practical with suggestions, to include stories, and to be entertaining, not dull and boring as a lot of these type of books are.

This provided me with the structure for Team Lead Succeed and based on my 30 years of knowledge and experience of working with many teams, I had more than enough real-life stories, practical suggestions and humorous anecdotes to bring it to life, and importantly add value to those who read it.

What does Team Lead Succeed cover?

The book explores;

1. Behavioural differences in teams, and how to value and appreciate them, and importantly, play to individual’s strengths, all brought to life by using a colourful model of human behaviours.

2. 16 areas of teamwork, measured in the Team DyNAmics© model that I created, one chapter for each. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a short poem about the area of teamwork, an explanation of what it is, the etymology of the word i.e. Collaboration comes from the Latin meaning to work together.  Finally, there is a motivational quote that I have created, that can often spark great conversations.

3. In the chapter dedicated to leadership, 11 exemplary leaders that I have had the pleasure and opportunity to work with, have kindly shared their thoughts about leadership.

How well has Team Lead Succeed been received by individuals?

It has been received extremely positively, more so than I ever imagined.

It became a bestselling paperback, as soon as it was published on Amazon, and has also achieved No.1 in Professional Development in the Kindle Edition.

To date, 90% of reviews on Amazon have been 5-star, with an overall Amazon rating of 4.8 out of 5.

Since publication in March 2022, it has been in the Top 20 books in the Professional Development category, at some point during each month.

What have people been saying about Team Lead Succeed?

The reviews have been incredible, and below is one of my favourites, as it covers everything that I wanted the book to deliver to readers;

THE book about teamwork that EVERYONE needs in their life!

This is a great book on so many levels!

–  it’s perfect for anyone who’s part of a team – either inside or outside of work.

– it’s an absolute MUST HAVE for any leaders – especially those who are new to the role or looking to develop their leadership skills

–  it’s really easy to read and understand – no complex, deeply academic theories

–  it’s full of stories, practical advice and easy to relate to content

–  if you already understand the principles of “behavioural colours”, it provides a brilliant refresh and the opportunity to build a deeper understanding

– if you have no previous knowledge of “behavioural colours” it provides a great, easy to grasp understanding

–  as you work through it, it’ll provide many lightbulb moments…..there’s reflection pages in the book for these “ping” moments

– it’s really easy to dip in and out of and really easy to navigate due to its simple colour coding

All in all, I totally recommend this and have found it to be the best book available on teamwork!

In addition to the above, I was also delighted to have my book reviewed by Richard Noble, OBE, holder of the land speed record in Thrust 2 (1987-1997) and Project Director of ThrustSSC, the vehicle which currently holds the land speed record.

“It’s not often that you get a chance to find a new book dedicated to teamwork – a subject that is so critical to group and corporate development.

So when Nick Fewings’ book arrived, I was delighted to review it.

A formidable amount of work went into this book, and it’s a nice book to own.  I am holding onto my copy.”

Could you share an excerpt from Team Lead Succeed?

Yes, below is an extract from the chapter about Team Purpose, which is the most important thing to get right in a team, if you want to achieve high-performance teamwork.

“Understanding our Team Purpose is where we must begin,

What this enables and the benefits it will bring.

For this will keep us all on track, give focus to what we do,

Ensuring everything delivered adds positive value.”

Team DyNAmics Definition: The understanding of what your team exists to do, what this enables and the benefits this delivers.

Etymology: From Old French, meaning intention or aim.

Newbie: What is the point of having a Team Purpose?

Jules: Team Purpose is the point.


“Team Purpose provides focus, understanding, clarity and unity.”

Throughout my 30 years of leading and working with teams, individuals have regularly shared with me that having meaning in their working lives was an important factor. They wanted to understand how what they did in their role helped their team to achieve its goals.

Just think about how demoralising it would be if you were doing a job and you did not understand the reason why you were doing it, or how it added value to what everyone else in the team did.

Team Purpose enables an individual team member to understand how their role contributes to achieving the goals of the team and motivates them to complete their part of it to the best of their ability. It never fails to surprise me how many teams that I work with do not have a clearly articulated Team Purpose that everyone in the team knows.


  1. It provides a common understanding across the whole of the team and can be shared with new team members as part of their induction, thus supporting Commitment to the team. In addition, it can be used to attract new team members.
  2. It helps individuals to understand what part their Role plays and how their Skills can be utilised to best effect, to ensure the goals set for the team are achieved.
  3. It creates a foundation upon which a Vision of the future can be created, that the team aspires to achieve.
  4. It ensures that any ideas put forward to help the Transformation of the way the team works are aligned with the Team Purpose.


  1. Individuals do not align their role with the purpose or goals of the team and will therefore do things that they feel are important to them, as opposed to the team.
  2. Personal success is more important than team success. Individuals focus more on delivering tasks, milestones or goals that provide them with a tick in the box.
  3. Team members have different perspectives as to what needs to be done.
  4. Collaboration and knowledge sharing are infrequent. A silo mentality occurs: individuals looking after themselves and not really interested in helping others, nor indeed sharing their knowledge, expertise or ideas.


The bean counters

In one of my first leadership roles, I was asked to lead an already established finance team. I had been made aware that they had low esteem about what they did and the value it added to the organisation.

Their perception of the team was mirrored in the business areas that they had working relationships with. They were known as the “bean counters”, which had become a self-fulfilling prophecy and reinforced the low self-esteem that the team members had of their team.

At the first meeting I had with the team, I asked each of them to write down, individually, “What does our team exist to do?” Once they had done this I asked them, one by one, to read out what they had written.

It was little surprise to me that ten different statements were shared. Their responses were not just a little bit different, however; they varied considerably, which was deeply worrying.

Eventually, after discussing their different perspectives, they agreed that one person’s statement was probably the best. This was “To produce monthly accounts that are as accurate as possible as quickly as possible after month-end”.

I am sure that you would agree that this is pretty boring and did not instil a sense of pride in what the team did, nor indeed motivate and inspire individuals to play their part in achieving it to the best of their ability. No wonder they felt bad about themselves and other parts of the business did not value what they did either.

So, I set about facilitating a session that would result in the creation of a new Team Purpose Statement that would make them feel positive about the work they did and the value that it added to other parts of the business.

For the next couple of hours, I challenged them and their perception as to what the team existed to do. I did this by getting them to focus on agreeing three fundamental parts that together would make a clear, motivational and compelling Team Purpose Statement, that they would have collectively created and agreed and therefore buy into.

Eventually, after many ideas and much discussion, the team came up with a Team Purpose Statement that they all agreed upon.

This is what they came up with:

The Finance Team exists to ensure the timely delivery of value-adding financial and accounting data, and key performance indicators to our global business units, enabling them to make informed investment decisions, that deliver tangible benefits to our customers, staff and company.

The team loved what they had collectively created and felt a sense of pride and ownership. We then began to share it with others and took every opportunity to make others aware of it, via our newsletters, bulletins, emails, noticeboards and indeed on the front of the monthly information pack that was created and sent to our global business units.

Within about six weeks, the perception of other departments had changed significantly, as they too realised the value-adding service that the team delivered. This had a positive knock-on effect on individuals in the team and the team’s overall morale increased significantly. The moniker of “the bean counters” was soon assigned to history.


It does not matter whether you are a leadership team, an operational team or a project team, Team Purpose is the most important of the 16 Elements that you need to create and commit to as a team, as it provides the foundation upon which high-performance teamwork is achieved, by giving focus to everything you do.


The three parts to creating a Team Purpose Statement are as follows:

  1. What does our team exist to do? What is it that we really do and deliver?
  2. What does this enable to happen? What additional things does this really help us to do?
  3. What are the resulting benefits? How do others really benefit from what we do?


  1. Check out the understanding of your Team Purpose by getting team members to individually write down and then share what they think your team exists to do. This will give you a good idea as to whether there is consensus and similarity or whether there is disagreement and difference.
  2. If the latter, agree a time to define your Team Purpose Statement. One hour should be a good starter.
  3. Ensure as many of your team as possible are involved in creating it, to ensure buy-in and commitment.
  4. Make sure it includes the three elements, DO, ENABLE and BENEFITS.
  5. Keep it simple, no jargon or acronyms.
  6. Allow a period of time for individuals to think about what has been created and discuss and agree any small changes, to polish it into a final version.
  7. Get agreement from as many team members as possible, however definitely a majority, as to the final version.
  8. Check it out with some people outside of your team, to see if they understand it.
  9. Once created, ensure that you diarise to review it at least once a quarter, to ensure it is still relevant and valid and that everyone in your team understands it, especially those who may have joined the team in the interim.

If you do the above, the next time a person says to you, “So tell me, what does your team do?” your Team Purpose Statement should trip off your tongue with ease.


Q1. Knowing what you now know, what would you say that your Team Purpose was?

Q2. What would happen if you asked your team to individually write down what they thought your Team Purpose was? Would they all write the same as you, or would they write something different?

Q3. If a new person joined your team, as part of their induction, what would be the benefits to them of knowing what your Team Purpose was?

Q4. Based on your experience of how your team work currently, what benefits are there in spending time discussing and agreeing a Team Purpose Statement with them?

Follow the Author

Verified by MonsterInsights