Why Team Building Creates Better Leaders

Recently, Beryl Health CEO Paul Spiegelman  and I spoke at a Leadership Conference in San Francisco. We were invited to share our thoughts on leadership, and to present the principles that are foundational to our assertion that, in order to provide exceptional healthcare, we need to create exceptional teams.

Together we have been writing and speaking on this topic and challenging healthcare professionals to purposefully embrace the responsibility to change the way we lead. Anyone who has been following this conversation can confirm that a purposeful and passionate discussion on the importance of building great teams should be occurring throughout our industry. Healthcare is changing, and we need teams that can navigate through these changes.

We conclude that in order to effect change, we need to build exceptional teams. And exceptional teams can create exceptional results. It seems pretty simple … pretty intuitive,  and those with whom we speak confirm that they believe the same.

Returning to the story of our experience in San Francisco, the presentation was exceptional. It was lively and engaging. We had a great time, and we know that those in attendance benefited from such a passionate and open dialogue.

As we do every time we speak at a conference or program, we ask for evaluations and read each and every comment. Not only do we cherish the thoughts and sentiments, but by reading the comments and reviewing the evaluations we become more responsive to how we are presenting the content and how the audience is reacting. We really do feel passionate about this topic and appreciate the feedback.

The report and feedback was glowing, but if you’re like us, it is always the nasty comment that you remember. One comment was noteworthy: “A bunch of New Age crap.”

We read the comment several times and began to laugh. Really? A bunch of New Age crap? REALLY? Are you kidding? What is so “New Age” about building teams? Is there something cosmic about purposefully and passionately creating exceptional teams? And what about that “crap” comment. Come on!

But maybe there is something to this comment. We began imagining the kind of person who might have taken a cultural IQ test and scoffed at the idea of the importance of investing the time, energy, and effort. Could it be geographic? Demographic? Organizational? Institutional?

There it is. There is a group out there that listens to our conversation and adamantly refuses to accept that leading change requires changing how you lead. They are the kind of leaders that will be confronted with an almost insurmountable challenge because they have refused to build their teams. Oh, sure they have teams, but they haven’t “built” their teams.

The American College of Healthcare Executives has numerous programs and opportunities to learn how to build teams. The resources are significant and the programs are outstanding. It is imperative that we invest in leadership behaviors and embrace the responsibility to become better leaders.

Let me encourage you to ignore the naysayers and grieve for their future. And let us embrace the responsibility to build our teams and embrace the challenges of change through leadership.

Get ready; this is going to get exciting.

—Britt R. Berrett is president of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

Posted in Education, Expert Opinions.