Team Up! Team-based primary and community care in action

Stage 2 of the Learning Pathway for Primary Care Teams is focused on Team Building. In this episode of Team Up, Sarah and Morgan focus on a key element within this stage: the importance of building relationships within a team. We explore the value of returning to shared purpose and shared goals as a tool to support effective team building and collaboration. We also provide practical tips and discuss some of the great resources that are highlighted in the Team Building Stage of the Team Based Care Learning Pathway.

Special thanks to Amie Hough, a Leader in Health System Improvement for Primary and Community Care with Health Quality BC, and one of the creators of the learning pathway, who we will be hearing from throughout the season.

Links and Resources

Past Podcast Episodes that may be of interest:

Explore more of the resources in Stage 2 of the Team Based Care Learning Pathway.
Through the TeamUp network we are working to advance supports for team based primary care. Please reach out to if you would like to learn more!

What is Team Up! Team-based primary and community care in action?

A podcast that brings together primary care providers, healthcare planners, patients, innovators and others to talk about the changes that are happening in primary care in British Columbia.

Morgan: Are you building a team and
looking for a good place to start?

Are you trying to create more
teamwork in your existing team?

Yeah, me too.

We're into stage two of
the Pathway team building.

Sarah: And team building requires
a lot of time and effort.

If you're gonna work as a team,
this is really an essential stage.

In this episode, we're gonna focus
specifically on building relationships

and in particular on the value of
returning to shared purpose, shared goals.

As a kind of tool that you
can really use in this space.

Sarah, I agree about the

importance of team building it.

In our team right now in the ISU,
we've had a lot of growth and, just

the onboarding process takes a lot
of time, but also getting to know

everybody and figuring out where
people sort of fit together, an

important piece of work that we often,
can skip over if we're too rushed.

Sarah: Morgan, you often say if we
change one person, we change a team.

And, that's just, that's so true.

And It can get easy to kind of, you do
a mass onboarding of all the new people.

I think everyone does that fairly
well, but it's when you have one person

coming in at a time, I think it can,,
can sometimes get challenging and you

can forget that yes, you have all the
onboarding pieces, but there's also

the getting to know the team and the
team, getting to know the new person.

So really spending that time
as sort of a continuous thing.

It's not something you do once and it's
done, but needs to happen over time.

I think.

That, from the team-based care
coaches we work closely with,

we often hear stories of people
wanting to jump right into the work.

there's so much to do.

Clinics are so busy, and it can be
really easy to jump right into a

specific project or delivering care.

And what you really need to do
is go back to the beginning.

Sometimes think about team
agreements, shared purpose,

amie_1_12-20-2023_110634: can't really
work on improvement and, you know,

quality initiatives until you really
have that the relationship established.

So that's, that's key.

So we know when teams are
forming, it's not always going

to be rainbows and butterflies.

And, the fast-paced world of primary
care, we are working with, complex

patients, complex situations, and
it's natural that conflict will arise.

And, and conflict can, also a
way we can learn from each other.

and so There are some resources
in there to, to support that.

Sarah: That was Amy Huff and the learning
pathway was really her brainchild.

Like Amy said, it's not always
rainbows and butterflies.

And in our work with communities, we
often see the challenges that can come up

if team building stages kind of skipped.

morgan-_2_01-25-2024_114057: And Sarah,
it's, so easy to skip that, particularly

as providers who are busy and just
wanting to continue providing the care.

And you do need to make time for this.

I think it's really one of the
things I've learned over the

years is how important that is.

Sarah: And it's so important
to set and then I think reset

the groundwork for teams.

morgan-_2_01-25-2024_114057: There
are a couple of different tools,

Sarah, to help at this early stage.

shared purpose is one that we've
talked a little bit about, and

team agreements is another one.

We have done a whole episode on
team agreements back in season two.

And we'll put a link for
that in the show notes.

So people are interested in the pathway.

There's a whole kit on shared purpose,
which I think is a great place to start.

And this is very detailed.

It's got all the sort of practical steps
that you could walk through if you wanted

to, from, you know, meeting agendas, all
the way through to a slide deck that you

can, use and adapt for your own team.

I think what's important about this
stage is confirming or figuring out

the why of why you're working together.

And if you think about the three parts
of shared purpose, it's about the

purpose for patients, the why you're
together as a team, and how collectively

that all supports needs in the system.

Sarah: Part of getting everyone
working together as a team,

like that communication is
really such a, key element here.

amie_1_12-20-2023_110634: really great,
um, to, to, look at role clarity.

so I can't say enough to, in
this stage about the importance

of connecting regularly.

So a lot of research shows that
when teams have established

some kind of regular huddle.

Or means of communication.

team cohesion develops quicker
and the patients and providers

see the results of that

Sarah: Amy's right.

It's communication here and it's creating
opportunities for teams to connect.

We talk about huddles a lot, and you
can find a lot of resources on huddles

in this stage of the toolkit as well.

One suggestion that I love, from the
learning pathway is the idea of using

huddles to reflect explicitly on areas
you know you wanna improve on as a team.

Things that have come
out of your, work values.

A lot of what we've seen.

Particularly around cultural safety
and humility and how to create

space for a team to reflect on that.

I think, the suggestion and the
pathway to use huddles intentionally

to do that work is really interesting.

morgan-_2_01-25-2024_114057: And
I think if people are resistant to

huddles, don't overload them too much.

Keep them really simple and, uh, keep
them simpler than you think you need them.

It's a standup meeting.

It could only be five minutes
just to get you in the habit of

connecting at the beginning of a day.

And then you can start to add in things
if, that's how you want to do that.

So I think it's a great
resource to come back to.

Sarah: And thinking about
interesting activities to direct

folks toward for this stage.

So an activity if you have longer,
the Shared Purpose Facilitation

guide is really great, but we're
also trying to think about things

you could do a little bit quicker.

morgan-_2_01-25-2024_114057: So it's,
great to look at this and think about

what piece you might wanna adapt, and
that's really what it's there for.

It can be done in a longer kind of,
you know, day long retreat style,

or you can cover off parts of it in
different meetings, that you might

have over a couple of weeks or months.


Sarah: And, you know, there is kind of
a short activity I wanted to highlight.

So slide 13 in the facilitation slide
deck, gives some great instructions

laying out a 12 minute activity to
get folks working together on thinking

through the shared purpose, deciding
what values they might share as a team.

We're thinking about Other ways to
do this, you know, in a check-in

or asynchronously on a whiteboard.

I think putting up a question to the team
around, you know, what are our values?

What's important to us?

you could start with a
little bit of a list.

Things like trust, accountability,
equity, quality of care.

The list goes on and there is lists
in the resources, that are in the

toolkit, but you could, you know,
invite your team members to add

to the list or check their top.

You know, three or five values on, on
a whiteboard and asynchronously build

out some of that shared, thinking time.

morgan-_2_01-25-2024_114057: I like that
because it, it allows you to come in

and maybe have an informal conversation
in the, in the lunchroom with somebody

else who's there on a break at the
same time without having a big meeting.

But I also think there's a value
afterwards in coming together to

confirm the, the list as opposed to
saying, great, we did that thing.

Here's the list.

You know, print, we'll put it on the
corkboard, but actually talk about it

and confirm it and what does it mean
for different people, and then you can

pull that together into your purpose.

Sarah: And, you know, a purpose statement
I think can sound intimidating, but

really is pretty straightforward.

Um, here's an example of a
clinic purpose statement.

to provide quality person and family
centered care every day with our

values of teamwork, communication,
compassion and honesty, guiding us.

And I think that's a great
kind of template to follow.

morgan-_2_01-25-2024_114057: And just it
gets the ideas out there without spending

a ton of time wordsmithing, which,
you know, maybe you don't want to do.

So for this short episode, if I
was gonna pick one thing to take

away and do in my clinic, it would
probably be that values exercise.


Putting up a, a whiteboard
or, just a piece of paper and

getting people to add to it.

Let everyone know what the process
is like, what, why we're doing this.

And then at our next, staff meeting,
talk about some of the, the top, ideas

that came out, the different values.

there's lots of other things you
could look at if you wanted to go in

and look at the pathway in the team
building section for other ideas that

you can take and explore in your team.

Sarah: Thanks so much, and as
always, we'd love to hear from you.

We're always open to feedback.

You can reach out to
with any ideas you might have

for us for future episodes.

The Innovation Support Unit is a
distributed multidisciplinary team.

We work mostly remotely from communities
across the Lower Mainland and

Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Morgan: Sarah and I are both recording
from our offices in the territories

of the Lekwungen speaking peoples, the
Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

Sarah: And recognizing the colonial
history and the ongoing impacts of

colonization and healthcare systems
and in Indigenous communities in

Canada and around the world, as we
move through the season, we'll work

to bring an equity lens to this work.

And we really encourage you, our
listener, to reflect on your past,

present, and future participation.

On the indigenous lands
where you are situated.

Thanks for listening to Team Up.