Portrait of an Integrated Team

Posted on January 16, 2012

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Eight weeks ago I had the good fortune of attending a presentation on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the future of healthcare as envisioned by The Advisory Board, a healthcare consultancy and think tank.

In an effort to show hospital administrators what an ideally-organized and high-performing healthcare team looked like, the presenter outlined some top attributes of those teams. They read like a blueprint for integrated design-build teams I know.

Whether the team environment is clinical or construction, here are nine of the tope 15 traits members must share:

  • Culture – group values; everyone wakes up and goes to work wanting the same thing
  • Unified Identity – one company; shared history
  • Communication – same systems (internal and external) and trust in its value; software, methods, etc.
  • Compensation – team gets paid for team success; no individual bonuses running cross-current to the team objective
  • Information Network – belief in sharing and philosophy that information is to be shared, not hoarded
  • Leadership / Governance – having one undisputed voice and vision to lead the team; meaningful motivation and punishment in place
  • Formal Process – same understanding of how things will go; knowing whose roles are whose
  • Strategy – clearly communicated and understood goals for success; high-level thinking guiding daily action
  • Resources – shared quality tools (people, technology, information, capital) for maximum impact

An integrated team is not magic; however, teams that live it every day may take some of the above aspects for granted.  Yet others are not familiar with these attributes because they have spent their whole life in a work environment not conducive to integration or collaboration (corporate, micromanaged, siloed responsibilities, etc.).  Culture was listed first above not by accident. Though it is perhaps the most difficult thing to change in an organization, culture is the glue that holds it all together. Good luck with your team this year.

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