Individual Commitment to a Group Effort

The time before and after we enter into a new fiscal year is, traditionally, a very hectic time for everyone at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) and, likely, for everyone working in acute and specialty care hospitals across Canada.

As a new year approaches, inevitably the hospital’s focus centres around financial reporting, progress against our Strategic Plan and the completion of existing projects before turning attention to new projects along with preparation and planning for the 12 months ahead.  The elevated pace has become customary for the months of March and April as individuals across the organization do their part to position Ontario Shores for future success.

It’s this time of year which helps me appreciate the team we have become here at Ontario Shores.

We all contribute individually through our roles and responsibilities at the hospital, but as a collective we are determined to achieve our Strategic Plan and positively impact the lives of people living with mental illness and their loved ones.

Commitment is defined as dedication to a cause. For us that cause is our patients, our Strategic Plan, and Ontario Shores. This commitment, this singularity of purpose taps enormous potential within each of us. We share a common direction, we share a passion in the fulfillment of our purpose, we come together as a team, and we dig deeply to achieve our common purpose.  
Vince Lombardi, the late great football coach of the storied Green Bay Packers, once said; “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

I cherish that quote. I share it often and use it as a mantra of sorts in my role as President and CEO at Ontario Shores.
Now, feeding and maintaining that ‘individual commitment to a group effort’ can be a distinct challenge.

However, I feel in healthcare we are blessed with endless opportunities to inspire and recognize the efforts of individuals who are essential to any team accomplishments we hope to achieve.

Each day the walls of hospitals are filled with success stories. Daily routines make these successes appear to be less obvious some days, but, regardless, they are always there. Patients receiving  exemplary care, family experiences embedded in respect and staff members contributing to change which positively impacts care are all successes worth celebrating.

Finding time and opportunity to celebrate is also imperative. Whether it is a formal presentation or a simple pat on the back for a job well done, there are multiple moments each day where opportunity to offer recognition to those contributing to a greater goal are presented.

As leaders, maintaining a culture of teamwork and celebration is not limited to our specific hospitals or organizations.  We have much to be proud of in Ontario’s healthcare system.  Yet there is still much to be done, especially in the area of chronic disease management.

We know that one in five people struggle with a mental health issue and we also know the system can be difficult for patients and their families to navigate. These are undisputed facts that need to change.

Regardless of our organizational roles within healthcare, together we have the ability to strengthen relationships, leverage expertise and build a system which offers exemplary care and access to our communities.

This can be achieved by each of us being relentless in our pursuit of both organizational and sector goals, thus displaying a determination and commitment which inspires others. By bringing the patient experience as central to our work, improving transitions between organizations and by introducing new and innovative models we can improve our healthcare system.

Originally published in the June, 2014 edition of The Hospital News.