Lessons on Teamwork from Centre Court

By Sarah Downey, President & CEO, Michael Garron Hospital of the Toronto East Health Network (formerly Toronto East General Hospital)
We were down a set, but not out.
Nancy and I were a doubles tennis team. And this was the biggest tennis tournament in our young lives. You see, we were representing Team New Brunswick at the 1985 Canada Summer Games.
I remember thinking to myself, “If we want to win, we’re going to have to dig deep, play off each other’s strengths and try not to let our opponents see our weaknesses, really work together to cover the court.”
In the end, we didn’t win. But I do remember the lessons in teamwork that I learned from the courts in my hometown of Fredericton. I always preferred doubles tennis over singles because I felt I always had more at stake. I didn’t want to let my teammate down. This belief forced me to be responsible for my actions on the court. We had to work as a team or we stood a chance of forever being eliminated in the first round.
All of us have teamwork experiences from across our personal and professional lives.
A while ago I wrote that it takes a village to create and nurture a strong, supportive culture. It’s not accidental that our patient satisfaction and staff engagement scores are high. Collectively, we’re committed to working together toward the same goal: to provide the best care and ensure a very positive experience for our patients and their families.
This spirit defines us.
During the recent Interprofessional Practice week I was fortunate enough to see this collaborative spirit in action.
Moving forward we’ll need to rely on this spirit of teamwork and resiliency. We’ve got some challenging financial times ahead. But we’ve seen this before. And we’ll emerge stronger when we work through this together. Rest assured, we’re not the only ones experiencing this.
I know it’s in all of us to dig deep, really work together and rally hard.
Our future depends on it.
Join me on Twitter @SarahEDowney1

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