Healthcare Lessons From the Raptors

Healthcare Lessons From the Raptors

Ok – I will start by saying I am a huge sports fan and have been known to make my share of sporting analogies at work.   I believe there are many life and leadership lessons in sport.   With the Raptor’s historic win last week, I could not miss the opportunity to talk about it.

Canada is celebrating the first NBA championship ever.   Toronto is celebrating the biggest professional sporting title in 26 years.  What were some of the key elements to this success and how could it apply to Soldiers’?

Teamwork Matters

The Raptors had to be a great team to make it through the playoffs.  Different Raptors took on different roles throughout the playoffs depending on what the team needed to reach their goal.   If you take a closer look at the final and deciding game, Kawhi Leonard, one of the highest scoring players in NBA playoff history, was not the highest scorer.   The team needed his defensive skills and that is exacting what he delivered.   Instead, Fred VanVleet came off the bench to make some clutch baskets at the end of the game. You could see on the court and the post-victory interviews that the Raptors were a solid team in every sense of the word.

Healthcare is a team sport.  Soldiers’ also has some incredible bench strength when it comes to the many different areas that need to come together.   Our strength comes in the diversity of people we have providing front line care or supporting services to improve the care we provide to our community.   Different groups step up at different times to make a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.  There is a very important lesson here about valuing teamwork as that is the secret to our success.

Leadership Matters

Nick Nurse is a rookie NBA coach that brought his own style of leadership to the Raptors.   They were focused on the goal from the onset of the season, executed the plan without ever getting too high or too low.   Incredible leadership was also clear from the players.  Starting with Kyle Lowry, the savvy veteran and Kawhi Leonard the newly acquired superstar, they were incredibly clear on their goal of a championship without getting distracted with things like questionable officiating or the media spotlight.   Their approach extended throughout the team as they all were aligned and focused on the single goal of winning the championship.

Similarly in healthcare, being aligned on our vision of excellent, compassionate care… every day is critical for all staff, credentialed staff and volunteers.  There are many leaders, formal and informal, across the organization that play their part in keeping patients and their families front and centre in everything we do.   Great things are possible when we are all working towards the same goals.

Fans and Patients Matter

The Raptors engaged an entire country more than I have ever seen in professional sports.   The team went out of their way to acknowledge Canadian fans at every opportunity.   The organization created an incredible excitement around the game with the many Jurassic Parks across the country.  Fans of all ages and backgrounds everywhere felt as though they were part of the game – I can tell you my heart was racing in the last minute of the final game as much as any player!!

Patients cannot be mere spectators in their care.  They are part of the team.   This is a different way of thinking and we need to embrace the value that patients and their families bring in the design and delivery of care.  We need to continue to engage patients at every opportunity in new and creative ways.

I will stop there for my healthcare lessons from the Raptors.   I hope these parallels to sport provide some small motivation in your work day today.   And I hope you enjoy the moment with millions of Canadians who are celebrating this NBA Championship.


P.S.    Thanks Sean M. in Purchasing for the quick chat that inspired the idea behind this blog.