The Most Important Trait of Highly Reliable Teams

The Most Important Trait of Highly Reliable Teams

The most successful organizations foster relationships within their teams.

In his role as chair of pediatrics and physician-in-chief of Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, Nathan Hagstrom, MD, has found that one thing makes all the difference in creating highly reliable teams.

“Relationships build trust, which is the key to managing the unexpected and addressing today’s adaptive challenges,” he says. “Someone told me years ago when a team comes together to address a problem, there ought to be two goals: solve the problem and strengthen the team so it’s even better at solving the next problem.”

Hagstrom points out that many successful and high-reliability organizations are also highly relational organizations, and he cites several works from different disciplines all reaching the same conclusion about the importance of relationships and trust.

“I use the acronym REAL—which stands for Relate and respect, Empower and engage, Ask questions to increase awareness, and Learn and lead together—to remind me how to achieve high reliability through relationships and teamwork.”

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