For those of you who know me well you will know how much I bang on about a great team being everything in your clinic. The be all and end all.
 
But after years of studying great teams and continuing to tinker with and construct the structure around what my team looks like both now and in the future, I have found one thing that beats a great team.
 
What beats a great team is this:
 
A great system.
 
What do I mean by this?
 
What I don’t mean is the way we traditionally think of a system – a “how to” document, a way of training someone etc – those are “systems” in the vernacular of business speak.
 
I want to explain what a great system is.
 
I spend lots of time following teams that are great.
 
Melbourne Storm
All Blacks
Brisbane Lions of the early 2000s
Man United under Sir Alex Ferguson
Chicago Bulls under Phil Jackson
the Aussie cricket team under Steve Waugh
New England Patriots
and basically any Aussie national women’s sporting team! (especially Hockeyroos and Diamonds)
 
 
The top teams talk about the system being more important than the team.
 
But what does this mean? How can you systematise a team?
 
I am about to teach the team module of my 9 month programme tomorrow, and I break this down into 4 areas:
 
  1. Recruitment
  2. Integration (induction)
  3. Performance
  4. Exit
 
So the system these great teams have may not be exactly the same as my system, but these teams all have these 4 things in common.
 
  1. They find great people (and often people who are underrated who I call “diamonds in the rough”)
  2. They help them bond together and bind together like glue
  3. They help them realise goals and dreams they never thought possible as a team – and the byproduct is high performance
  4. Anyone who doesn’t fit the system is transitioned out of the team to “find a new adventure”
 
A high performing team is temporary (although beautiful while it exists), an evolutionary system is capable of continuous improvement in an already high performing team, regeneration of a team where necessary, succession planning, career progression, conflict resolution, and creating better lives not only for those in the team, but those who support them (your families and communities) and those they serve (your patients).
 
A system can take decades or even generations to develop, and is characterised by the following functions that you may have heard mentioned by the following teams I listed above
 
  1. Top quality leadership (captain and coach/es)
  2. Multiple layers of leadership
  3. People fulfilling their roles
  4. A near 100% attitude fit
  5. A “no dickheads” policy (thanks Sydney Swans)
  6. Constant evolution of change
  7. Low/no tolerance for poor performance
  8. No tolerance for bad attitude
  9. 100% accountability for each team member,
 
and the hardest one to develop:
 
10) A team in which individuals have genuine care and concern for each other (rather than simple self interest)
 
If you can build such a team addressing those 4 areas I work on with those 10 qualities about you don’t just have a high performing team, you have a system.
 
And it will last.

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