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Stanley McChrystal’s book Team of Teams

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‘Team of Teams’ in healthcare


Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s book Team of Teams show the importance of adaptability and resilience in the face of unpredictability in many areas, including healthcare.

Consider how Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital dealt with the mass injuries caused by the Boston Marathon bombing, on April 15, 2013.

The hospital’s trauma and other teams that  day responded by doing what they do every day — adapt. General McChrystal observed that had they been bound by a hierarchical command structure, they would have been “too hidebound to respond effectively.”

Dan Beckham, a strategic consultant, in commenting on General McChrystal’s book, notes in a long and interesting piece on Hospitals & Health Networks:

“As McChrystal recounts, {U.S. management consultant} Frederick Taylor drew a sharp line between those who manage and those who work — between thinking and doing. I would argue that in health care, a similar line was drawn with equally detrimental effects. That line was between management and medicine. Management was ceded to a professional class of administrators, while physicians, who were plenty busy with patients, were happy to stay focused on medicine.

“Much attention is given to the impact of silos in health care. But the line drawn between management and medicine represents one of the mothers of all silos — a ‘macro silo’ versus the ‘micro silos’ that exist related to departments, divisions, specialties and locales. Only now is the wall between management and medicine being pulled down as more and more physicians are invited to participate in leadership and management decisions.”



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