21 August 2020 – Alyssa Mages, CVO
The word team conjures up many different images, positive for some, and downright uncomfortable for others. There are so many clichés surrounding it as well – we’ve all heard the overplayed “Teamwork makes the dream work”, “There’s no ‘I’ in team”, and so on – but what does being part of a team truly mean?
For me this term immediately conjures up the smell of chlorine and I cannot hear certain songs to this day without immediately land-drilling my former synchro routines. Following close on this memory’s heels, however, are thoughts of my #veterinary teammates – those incredible humans who work tirelessly to provide compassionate skilled medical care to their patients and had my back & each other’s at every turn.
I cringe at the term co-worker, it’s so impersonal; cold, dismissive, and inaccurate. It’s impossible to simply co-exist within a #veterinary practice – it is a full-on contact sport. You go ahead and try to do #CPR on a 2 kg chihuahua and not be up in everybody’s personal space, it cannot be done! The veterinary field is not unique in this regard, as the teaching profession necessitates showing & involving one’s students, auto-mechanics are literally in the belly of a metal beast with one another, human medical professionals cannot function without their nurses, technicians, CSR’s aka their #teammates, and go ahead and tell the pilot on your next flight that they don’t need their crew.
So why the negative connotations to this word of team? I think that the athletic implications tend to be predominant and for those of us that are not fans, it’s an immediate turn-off. Also, when it’s used so often and shrugged away, it loses its strength and impact for true foundational growth. In light of this, I’d like to change the focus, flip the perspective, and redefine this word for us working peeps. Ready?
Team (tēm): a group of like-minded, dedicated individuals invested in a mutually beneficial outcome.
Hmm…not quite right. Let’s try this one.
Team (tēm): a group of people working together, getting along & making a difference in one another’s lives.
Somewhat better, but needs something more…
Team (tēm): us.
That’s it – simple. Succinct. Powerful. WE are the team. You, me, our families, our friends. We. Us. We are enough. So let’s go team, we got this.