Monday, January 17, 2011

Extreme teams

As recently reported:
[When he says] turn left, we turn left; there is no discussion
Trauma team member
UMC ER, Tucson

Few of us will ever need the team work of a trauma team.   But if it happens, there's nothing like a little "command and control", a leadership style too often dissed in contemporary PM discussions.

And, TRUST.  No extreme team--indeed, no team at all--can work without unfailing trust in the performance and loyalty of every team member to the objective.

Also, instincts--and freedom--to do the right thing at the right time.  A trauma team executes a collection of practices, less so a methodology, and there is constant iteration, evolution, and inspection, to say nothing of improvisation, and iteration: all tools of team members reacting to risks, unknowns discovered, and the exigencies of the situation.

There may even be time for feedback and reflection before the next 'project' as described by this passage:

"While patients were in surgery, [the chief trauma doctor] called a quick huddle of all the doctors still in the trauma center, and they reviewed the list of patients, with each doctor calling out additional information for all the others to hear.

Most of us are not doctors, or platoon leaders in combat--another small unit extreme team situation--or even leaders of mission critical projects, but nevertheless there are lessons here for anyone.

One worth remembering is a 'simple' paradigm: PDCA--remember Deming?

PLAN [quickly, of course, but even an extreme team in an extreme situation follows a general plan]-
DO [according to accepted practices and protocols that are proven and trusted--time is of the essence]-
CHECK [on your work, and don't forget iteration]-
ACT [on the feedback and reflection of results--some evolution is likely].

People, it's been around for three generations, but it still works, even in the extreme!

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