Insight into High-Performing Teams

By Chandresh Shah

I was speaking with an experienced executive coach Uri Galimidi yesterday and he pointed me to one of his blog articles. As I read the article HOW GOOGLE CREATES HIGH-PERFORMING TEAMS, I realized how relevant it was in businesses of all sizes including medical practices: solo as well as large groups.

When we go to conferences and pick up new ideas to implement, we want to implement them in our practices. We feel positive they would work, yet sometimes we are confronted with failure. We change technology such as EHR systems and practice management systems. After going through an extensive evaluation, you come to the conclusion that what you choose is perfect for your practice. Yet many practices quickly realize that it did not work out.

I’m sure everyone has either gone through this themselves, or have heard stories of colleagues who have gone through this. I have personally encountered this so often that it is not even funny.

As I read the article I realized the real reason why things do not work out. The article talks about high-performing teams, which lead to successful project implementation. It has nothing to do with the IQ of people, their personality types, education, social backgrounds and so on. The article talks about various factors but I want to focus on the first one.

Psychological safety

This is been found to be the most important prerequisite for success in projects and personnel performance. It is really about ‘creating an environment in which all team members know that they can express their thoughts and ideas, and that they will all be heard – irrespective of their standing in the team’s dynamics. They know that they will not be “shushed down” or belittled for expressing even the most off-the-wall idea. They know that it is safe for any member of the team to talk about the “Elephant In The Room” without fear of retribution.’

Let us take the example of selecting and implementing EHR systems.

As the author talks in the initial part of the article about a crucial mission-critical project at Google, he talked about meeting with the employees. It was a detailed meeting asking employees about their opinions whether they are ready to go live or not. In addition, they were asked to write down top 3 risks or issues that may negatively affect the successful go live. Everybody said yes, yet there was one person who was scared and went along by saying yes but decided to speak to him in private about his assessment due to fear of his ideas being shut down publicly. As it turns out, the risk factor that this person identified was crucial to the success of the project.

Identifying and creating an environment of psychological safety along with trust and dependability are so important that I cannot stress that enough. If these parameters exist, in the environment of genuine trust and openness, the team will not only be able to identify risks but more importantly come up with solutions to overcome them in order to make any project successful.

Finally, as the article says, ‘although these concepts may sound trivial, they do require a conscious awareness and an investment in time and energy on the part of the team leader to create an environment in which her/his team will perform at the highest level possible. Turning these concepts from common sense to common practice will produce handsome dividends.’

Author: Chandresh Shah

Chandresh Shah specializes in Healthcare IT and Medical Billing. He knows the market inside out; what works, what doesn’t. He advises and works with small business owners.