” Every team needs to work well together. Success for any organization depends on this and every manager would love for this to happen organically”…
Yet it takes a lot of work to get individuals with different Skills Levels, Background & Personalities to jell together and become a cohesive team !!
In many cases the success of the team can help improve the organization’s productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, and maybe even revenues. What’s interesting to me though is how we focus on getting these teams to work together better and yet if we look at surgical teams, they already do that…naturally.
What’s the difference between what surgical teams know and do, than business teams ??
Surgical Teams versus Business Teams :
Teams are teams right ? By that I mean aren’t all teams the same ? They are made up of a bunch of team members who each have a specific role and responsibility to the team.
So what difference does it make if it’s a sports team, business team, surgical team or any other kind of team ? What makes a surgical team different ? What do they know or do that we can apply to other team situations ??
I admit that the life and death component can’t be overlooked. And there are a number of other factors that come into play with surgical teams I think are worth considering.
- Fully focused – They aren’t reading emails, texting or thinking about their next meeting. The patient in front of them has their full attention, as do the other members of the team.
- Mutual Support – The doctor performing the surgery needs the support of the nurses and anesthesiologist and everyone else in the room. And each of these people needs the support of the others to perform their job well.
- Data Driven Decision Making – They come to the surgery with high-quality information and aren’t ‘guessing’.
- Interest of the Patient is Above Own Interests – Sure there are egos in that room but at the end of the day the patient’s interest are paramount and the interests of the others in the room are secondary.
- Ability to Make Decisions – They don’t have the luxury of hemming and hawing and considering every possibility and how to make everyone happy, they have to make a decision in the moment, and they do.
I could list other factors but I’m sure you get the point. The question is what can we learn from surgical teams we can apply to the business world to make our teams work better together ??
Applying Lessons from Surgical Teams to Business Teams :
Clearly there are natural differences between business and medicine we can’t ignore. But the lessons have applications in the business world if we are open to considering the possibilities. Let’s take a look and see what can be applied to your teams.
- Interest of Enterprise above Individuals – The enterprise is the team or the organization (just like the patient is to the surgical team). Each person comes with their own skills and knowledge that are meant to collectively contribute to the success. One’s own personal needs and interests have to take a back seat.
- Clear Leader – Someone has to make a decision during surgery when there are decisions to make. The doctor performing the surgery assumes and accepts that responsibility. They make the decision with input from others and recognize the decision is the best one they can make at that moment. In business while it’s important to gain consensus at the end of the day someone has to be willing to accept responsibility for making a decision.
- Clearly Defined Roles – You may have multiple doctors in the operating room and multiple nurses but each has a specific role. Someone may be there to “assist”. Others to observe. Someone else may be working in tangent with the other doctor because they bring a different specialty into the OR. Each has their own role that is clearly defined so they bring their own area of expertise to the team and are respected for that expertise and the role they play.
- Success is Define Collectively Not Individually – I know the surgeon may get most of the kudos outside the operating room (and maybe inside as well) and each person knows, including the surgeon, they couldn’t have had success without the collective “we”.
In the interest of making sure this article isn’t too long I’ll stop here. What I want you to recognize is that one of the ways you can get your teams to work better together is to look at the lessons from medicine, the surgical teams, and what makes them successful.
Applying these same concepts to your teams will have members looking at each other differently, responding to each other differently and the net result will be a huge win for the individuals, the team and your organization…
(Linda Finkle, a Certified Coach, helps get rid of the elephant lurking in the corner of your business to clear the way so you and your staff can tackle real business challenges. She is also a specialist at improving your ROI at any cost, creating clear communication and helping you and your employees enjoy your job.)