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The team works.

The Team Works

How the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Leadership is not a solo act in association management. Our most successful member hospitals are those that practice the team approach.

At The Healthcare Forum (THF), San Francisco, we conceived "The Team Works" as a model for advanced organizational learning. We use it to enhance staff training and development and to increase the attendance of management teams at our conferences and annual meeting. We also use the model to create a worldwide network of teams committed to achieving both personal and organizational visions. This network of more than 250 teams is a self-perpetuating marketplace for our future executive conferences.

We design our educational programs to facilitate the team experience. Our Visionary Leadership Conference in 1989 focused on the organizational visioning process--one that is more successful when you work with the team that will ultimately bring the vision to life.

Almost 70 percent of the 150 participants attended with other members of their organizational teams. An important part of their time was spent in exercises and sessions designed to strengthen the leadership team, help define their vision, and help collectively break old mindsets and agree on new realities. This experience readies the team for action with a framework for implementation and a plan to integrate those who did not attend the program.

The Team Works approach provides participants with several benefits.

* Teams learn to proactively reduce barriers to organizational change by learning and planning in an educational experience with colleagues. * Time is built into the two- or three-day experience for teams to discuss program content, apply it to their work environment, and determine what is immediately applicable. They focus on designing personal and organizational action plans. * In a shared-learning setting, the team can reexamine and redirect its organizational vision with the support of the team facilitator and faculty. * Teams meet with other health care management teams from around the country. In addition to learning how others have solved similar challenges, teams develop long-term relationships and networks. (THF has several formal groups--such as the 45-team quality improvement network--that meet throughout the year.)

THF's 1990 annual meeting attracted more than 150 teams ranging from 3 to 30 people and collectively representing 794 registrants. Our recent Healthcare Quality Conference drew some 250 attendees, and 74 percent belonged to an organizational team of three or more people.

We apply the Team Works model to our own professional development, too. A team of five THF executives attended ASAE's annual meeting in Chicago. We agreed in advance which sessions each would attend, based on our professional responsibilities and organizational priorities. We met each day at a lunch or dinner function to share what we learned and discuss how we could improve our systems through the information we were gathering in sessions and in the exhibit hall.

For example, an exposition can seem like an abyss when you walk through alone. But when you walk through with your team--focused on finding technologies, conference properties, and services to further the team's on-the-job responsibilities--the abyss suddenly becomes a learning lab. The team approach allows for immediate discussion about a service, often with a yes-or-no decision made right on the exhibit floor.

Robert G. Stein, CAE, is senior vice president of The Healthcare Forum, San Francisco.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society of Association Executives
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Good Ideas; team work in association management
Author:Stein, Robert G.
Publication:Association Management
Article Type:column
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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