There is a certain smell in the air every spring that instantly transports me back to the ball diamonds of my youth. Softball was my game. Many of my best and formative lessons on working with others towards a common goal came from playing ball.
Baseball Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, comes from Chatham-Kent and the sport is loved and played by many who make this their home. At Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), there are references to teamwork all around us. Our Mission statement speaks about us being “One Team;” our vision statement references growing a healthier community “Together;” and “Collaboration” is the first value in CKHA CARES.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the years about teamwork from ball diamonds:
- Team sports require different skills in every position and each player needs to work together. A wise coach focuses on individual and team development. At CKHA we create opportunities for staff to grow and develop in their individual roles and as part of their programs, services, departments and teams.
- Double plays don’t happen by accident. Practice makes perfect. It’s important to practice things like code responses in hospital so that our actions become automatic and instinctual in a critical situation.
- Sometimes you strike out. You put it behind you, adjust your stance or swing and get up to bat again. In healthcare we have a focus on quality improvement where we continuously look for better ways of providing care and service.
- If you throw the bat, everyone sees it. Things don’t always go our way. At those times it is important to stand tall and behave with dignity. Always treat the game/workplace and your teammates/colleagues with respect. This builds trust and commitment.
- At any time in a given game, you may be up to bat, on the field or on the bench cheering. It’s important to recognize when you are playing different roles and to support one another.
- You only score big when you already have runners on base. Very often the glory goes to the grand-slam home-run hitter. The reality is that there is hard work leading up to that point to get other runners on base. We need to celebrate everyone’s role in our success.
Today as a CEO, I see my role as a coach. CKHA and others in the health system have so many talented “players” on the team: staff, physicians, volunteers and patient advisors. As the healthcare system is poised for change in Ontario, I’m confident that our teams will be successful on that new field. The field of my dreams is collaborative and focused on delivering quality performance.
As for baseball, these days I’ve moved to a spectator role and adjusted my swing to hit a golf ball instead. I love living in Chatham-Kent with the ease of traveling to Detroit to take in a game. Not sure if it’s safe to admit that I’m still a Jays fan though?