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“Study the past if you would define the future” Confucius

19 March 2014

In relation to exercise and good eating – I have been sedentary and lax at best. Red wine, white bread and cheese have been my staple food groups for far too long; it had to change. 

So, when I was presented with an opportunity to raise money for charity by spending the weekend at a boot camp in the beautiful windswept location of the Yorkshire Dales – I grabbed it – this was my opportunity to redefine ‘me’ of the past. 

I arrived late Friday evening to the wilds of Malham Moor with my hiking boots and optimism to a slice of truly beautiful Heathcliff / Cathy inspired English countryside. 

All-in-all there was a group of 20; 19 NHS stakeholders and me who came together with three common goals:

  1. To have fun,
  2. To get a little bit fitter, and
  3. Raise money!

We achieved all three.  We were a team.  20 of us came together – some of whom had not met before, but despite this there was a very clear and common purpose between us all.

On the drive home, I took the time to reflect on the experience.  I absolutely loved it.  I felt motivated, inspired and truly proud of my achievements; the camaraderie was fabulous, but overall, I was left with an overwhelming glow in relation to my contribution and the part I had played.

Team working isn’t a complex theory - perhaps the first question you need to be clear about is as basic as: ‘who is on my team’….?  At a very high level, there are cultures within the NHS which require a strong team working ethic, for example in developing cultures of quality and safety, NHS stakeholders must work collaboratively and interdependently in their efforts to provide a high level of care for their patients.

It strikes me that whilst the NHS should always be, and is for the most part – certainly on a local level all about team work - the system is not necessarily configured to enable the development of these characteristics. 

My learning was this: effective teams are clear about the task ahead and continually discuss relative performance in relation to the challenges set.  Motivated leaders state the challenges in an inspiring manner and explain common purpose.  Effective teams regularly collaborate and understand who is best placed in terms of skills to deliver against particular challenges.  Great teams are all about achieving positive outcomes.  And, finally, red wine isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but white bread and too much cheese definitely is!

Sarah Lovell, Consultant

Sarah is a Consultant in the Healthcare Practice, read Sarah's profile.


Categories: Healthcare

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