Teamwork made that much difference?

Yes. Wheeling Hospital in West Virginia was losing $60 million per year just a short time ago. Today it makes millions in profit.

That’s a pretty serious turn around to the credit of Mr. Ron Violi. How’d he do it? He didn’t cut, cut, cut. He started by spending. He invested in new equipment and upgraded the facility. And he did the remarkable: He fostered teamwork.

“I’m here two years. As I understand it, those levels of cooperation are unprecedented probably in the last 10 to 15 years here.” There is a lot of power in those words.

Most CEOs who take over money losing businesses try to solve their company’s financial woes with a knife. Mr. Violi moved successfully in the opposite direction. He knew that in order to build the team he would need to improve conditions, not cut expenses. When he chose to improve rather than cut, he gained allies in the staff. Morale improved. Attitudes changed. People cared enough to look for ways to reduce expense while providing better care.

He attributes the win to the team as any great coach would but the victory is truly his. He didn’t build teamwork overnight and he didn’t start by cracking the whip. He invested in the plant while fostering those “unprecedented levels of cooperation.”

You can’t build a team in a day. And you can’t expect loyalty from those remaining after a lay-off. An attitude adjustment seminar would not have worked. He knew it. It takes time and it takes guts to build teamwork.

If you have the guts to build a team, you will get the payoff. It only took Ron 2 years.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
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