What I learned playing in a step aside scramble golf tournament.
Today in health it Friday ramblings today, we're going to talk about what I learned about leadership from a step aside, scramble golf tournament. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator this week health. Instead of channels and events dedicated to transform healthcare.
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All right. So yesterday I was invited to play in a Sadie Hawkins tournament. And this is a tournament where It's really a ladies tournament, but the three ladies get together and they choose a man. They invite a man to be a part of their team. And there was, I think 180 participants or something to that effect in this tournament. Each made up of three ladies and a guy from. From our group and we played in the golf tournament.
So the format was a stepside scramble to step aside. Scramble to me is a fantastic. Format. And it's a great leadership lesson, and that's what we're going to talk about today. We're going to talk about the leadership lesson. That is the step side scramble. So the format is really simple. You go to the tee box, all four team members head, but you pick the best shot and you're going to hit your next shot from wherever that best shot is. Now the distinction of a step aside scramble is whoever hit that shot.
Doesn't get to hit the next shot. So the other three players have to hit the next shot. And you go and it goes on from there until you finish the hole and then you go to the next tee box. And all four players hit again, and then you pick the best shot and you alternate with that person stepping aside, or whoever hit the best shot. Stepping aside. It is a great format.
And I think a great leadership lesson. The first thing about it is everybody has to contribute. There's no way you can win with just one great player. You have to have a really good team. The I think the other distinction is you can't rely only on one really great golfer. You can't win with one grade horse.
You have to have a team. Because they're not going to hit every shot. In fact, by definition, they can't hit every shot. I think the other thing about this format is everyone has to stay engaged. So you see where I'm going with this, where the leadership lessons are. And so what I want to do is I want to talk about what this has to do with your leadership. In your health ITT. As I've said before, John wooden has a great quote and he said the team with the best players usually wins John wooden. Was the legendary coach for the UCLA basketball team.
I think he had 10. National championships, which is just amazing. The team with the best players usually wins. You have to have a great team. we Can talk about what, how you measure a great team, because I think some people I, everybody I asked will say, oh, I have a great team. I have a great team. And I'm not sure that is always the case and that's probably a topic for another podcast, but for today's purposes, we're going to call a great team, the ability to be a great team player. And someone who gets results in this case, it's gets results on the golf course. In your, or in your case, it's gets, gets results on projects or gets results. In your organization, they actually get stuff done.
So we're going to simplify this to. What is a great team look like? What is a great player on a great team look like? It is the ability to be a team player and the ability to get results. All right. So you have to have a team of people that can get results and a team of people that can contribute. To to those things and work well as a team. I think that gets to the next point.
It does take a team. And when I came to St. Joe's, we had a bunch of high value contributors. We really did when things went wrong and they went wrong pretty often in those first couple of months. Keep in mind. When I came in, I was following a series of outages, the entire data center in Southern California, which was our primary data center have gone down. Eight times and six weeks not down Hey, a server went down like the entire data center went down eight times in six weeks. I'm sorry I chuckled, but it's just, it's amazing how devastating that can be to a health system.
And the fact that it was happening was it was pretty incredible given the fact that we did have really high value contributors in all areas, including the infrastructure and. The data and and those kinds of things. We had a situation where we had an, a hero culture. So when those things would happen and the data center would go down, A hero would come to the rescue. And that's what we had.
We had a superhero culture. And while it's great to have those heroes on the team. And that is the key word team. We had an over-reliance on our heroes, which created a bad culture. And we talked a lot about this early on that we wanted to move from the hero or the superhero culture in it to a NASA culture. Everyone working together to put a man on the moon. So NASA,
everybody contributing. Now, when you think about NASA, they were, high contributing, high functioning team members. But they work together. Each of them with their own gifts and specialty, but each engaged and contributing. It takes a team. thE, that again, a couple of things I learned from the step aside one, you do have to have great contributing team players. And then the second thing is you can't win with one people.
It does take a team in order to make this happen and you have to have a great team. And we're going to talk. I do want to do it, do a show on what makes a great team. Because I see a lot of low performing teams that the leader would tell me they have great teams and we'll talk about it. fiNal thing on this topic. Last week I sent my team to chime without me. And this was the first time since I started the show that I didn't go to the fall forum.
I had a conflict, but not one that I couldn't change and attend the meeting. For me as a leader, it was a conscious choice to not go. And it wasn't because I didn't want to see everyone, which, makes this event one of my favorites. But because I needed to step aside. And let them play. To realize what they can do without me being in the room without everyone looking at me as the leader and waiting to hear me say, this is what we should do next.
They went and they absolutely killed it. I couldn't be prouder of my team and you know what? I have done some things differently. I'm sure I would have. And there are at. And there's absolutely some things that they decided to do. Better than if I had been there. We grew as a team last week.
They grew as leaders. They carried the load and they did it well. They were trained and prepared for this moment. And now they know that they don't need me around all the time to do great things. It doesn't diminish my value as a leader. I find a lot of leaders are afraid to step aside. Because they're worried about their value and unique it.
Get over that and get beyond that. I think it actually accentuates in enhances the value of the person as a leader. It shows them that you're investing in them, that you trust them. You've coached them enough that you've given them the skills and capabilities to do things. And then you prove that you trust them by stepping aside and let them be the leaders that they have been trained to be. It does take a courage.
It does take a conscious effort. You just, can't all of a sudden say, okay, I'm going to start stepping aside. You have to invest in those people. You have to prepare them. You have to train them. Do you have to give them the platform you have to even evaluate, will they be able to be successful before you do it? And in some cases, Very rarely, but in some cases I would step aside to allow teams to fail.
Now you have to choose those events. Very judiciously. Clearly you don't want to cause harm. You don't want to cause a major incident or issue. But there are times where you can step aside, let the team fail and they will learn. We learn more through failure. We absolutely do. Sometimes you have to create those moments.
A lot of that happened, but I would rather have trained them up. And identify those environments where they have a high probability of success and then send them in there to realize they can do it. Now here's my, so what. Have you ever stepped aside? Is your team ready for you to step aside? It does take planning.
It does take investment on your part. But the returns are they'll surprise you. The returns will surprise you. The team will take a giant leap forward. All right. That's what I learned. Playing golf about leadership this week. That's all for today. Don't forget to share this podcast with a friend or colleague.
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