The creation of teams for quality improvement involves the assemblage of individuals from different departments to generate a new kind of team capital as seen in the Bourdieu framework. Rosen et al. (2018) note that team development entails managing a complex project by delegating tasks. Even though an organization benefits from increased efficiency and positive outcomes, individuals gain skills to guide in subsequent improvement plans by sharing with others. As a result, they display advanced forms of economic, symbolic, cultural, and social capital (Montgomery, Parkin, Chisholm, & Locock, 2020). It is important for the quality improvement team to be adequately supported to attain these forms of capital and drive the improvement process towards the anticipated success.
High-performing teams in a healthcare environment are recognized by their ability to produce superior results consistently. They are composed of individuals with distinct, balanced skills and a guiding structure which make them an inevitable force in the quality improvement process (Haas & Mortensen, 2016). The high-performing team surveys and understands its working environment to align its skills and expertise with the requirements of the improvement process. The input of each member plays an essential role and is given considerable attention in the attainment of the ultimate quality improvement goal.
Why High-Performing Teams are Essential
High-performing teams are able to display exemplary results because they are guided by distinct characteristics which make them essential drivers during quality improvement. First, these teams are highly committed and guided by a high level of purpose to an organization’s values, mission, and vision. The selection of team members should be based on a combination of the needed skills to enable ease during delegation of tasks, as noted by Haas and Mortensen (2016). The outcome of these tasks is aligned to the organization’s philosophical values. Second, each member understands his or her role in achieving the team’s objectives. Thereby, individuals do not need to be supervised as they portray great leadership, accountability, and ability to resolve conflict. The team should consist of all representatives from the different departments affected by the quality improvement plan, which displays the existence of a supportive structure (Haas & Mortensen, 2016). Moreover, these individuals should be experts in the area of concern, and given that different persons vary in capabilities, the best delegates in relation to the problem and the quality improvement process should be chosen.
Specific individuals are deemed pertinent for inclusion in high-performing teams. The Health Institute for Healthcare Improvement (2021) recommends that a clinical leader with adequate authority in the management of resources and implementation of the process should be chosen. Additionally, based on guiding principles, the team members are expected to accomplish tasks delegated to them successfully through a decentralized approach (Gleeson, 2019). An enabling environment governed by a team leader who ensures the completion of daily activities and a sponsor who oversees the progress of the quality improvement plan is important (Haas & Mortensen, 2016). Thirdly, the team has a clear plan that enables everyone to be on be aligned to the organization’s goals at the same level. Fourthly, every member has an equal chance of expressing their views as they are governed by a champion with strong leadership skills and can easily manage emerging conflict approach (Gleeson, 2019). Thereby, the fifth reason is their ability to maintain a safe psychological culture where each member respects and values the other. The integration of these elements leads to the creation of the intended high-performance teams.
Impact of Team Processes and Roles of Individuals on Quality Assessment
The team process is fundamental as it involves the strategies that will be used to achieve the anticipated improvement goal. Hence, individuals should clearly communicate their views, findings, and progress based on the problem being resolved to foster collaboration. The team should have sessions for briefings and meetings where information is exchanged. Moreover, the team should have an activity plan that guides each individual in performing his or her role to allow involvement of all the team members. Rowland, Lising, Sinclair, and Baker (2018) assert the essence of dynamic processes in governing the execution of tasks towards the successful attainment of the agreed upon outcomes. An effective leader ensures that their team is equipped with the needed skills and expertise to facilitate a smooth quality improvement process through proper planning, conflict management, teamwork, and positive attitudes towards improvement.
Cross-Functional Teams in Attaining Quality Improvement
Cross-functional teams consist of individuals from different spheres of an organization; hence, they possess different levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and become more effective in developing creative solutions. The actions of individuals in a single department are important in delivering outcome meant for the overall organizational success (Haas & Mortensen, 2016; Rosen et al., 2018). As a result, when these individuals come together, they are able to review the entire quality indicators and associated benchmarks to determine where gaps prevail.
Conflict and Management in Quality Improvement Teams
The team is governed by an effective leader who is able to manage and direct it towards the ultimate goal. Conflict in a cross-functional team is normal as it is an indication of a favorable environment that allows all members to air their views. Allowing all individuals to participate without any reservation helps to achieve a large pool of ideas to guide the process better in achieving collective goals (Tiefenbacher, 2020). Hence, conflict is managed rather than being resolved because it is inevitable. Managing conflict in an impeccable style enables the team to develop clear and acceptable outcomes for implementation, while the converse is the case.
Conflict and Change in Achieving Goal
Conflict helps a team to explore more options before making a decision though it can also affect relationships within a team resulting in a strained communication structure. The quality improvement team should continuously review the proposed strategy to ensure that it meets its desired goal. Change is paramount for the process, which needs to be modified to ensure that it is in alignment with the guiding objectives. Hence, a culture of adaptation is paramount, and it is fostered by great soft skills, which include teamwork, leadership, favorable organizational culture, a positive working environment, and a participatory approach (Tiefenbacher, 2020). A transformational leader is, thereby, suited for the task as he or she is able to involve the staff and pool the needed resources for the needed change.
Resources and Support to Team Efforts in Quality Improvement
There are various tools that can be used by the quality improvement team to guide the process. The use of this equipment should be accompanied by checklists to ensure that the different outputs and outcomes are achieved at the various stages. Thereby, the quality improvement team should be supported by determining its level of competency, and subsequently, providing training on deficit areas (Haas & Mortensen, 2016). Funds and instruments to measure different traits such as accountability and culture are essential to ensure there is no misappropriation of resources. Therefore, the quality improvement team needs adequate information, and the organizational culture should be favorable to support the work of this team. Due to time constraints, it is important for the quality improvement to have flexible meeting hours that are facilitated by technology.
Gleeson, B. (2019). 15 characteristics of high-performance teams. Forbes. Web.
Haas, M., & Mortensen, M. (2016). The secrets of great teamwork. Harvard Business Review. Web.
Health Institute for Healthcare Improvement. (2021). Science of improvement: Forming the team. Web.
Montgomery, C., Parkin, S., Chisholm, A., & Locock, L. (2020). ‘Team capital’ in quality improvement teams: Findings from an ethnographic study of front-line quality improvement in the NHS. BMJ Open Quality, 9. Web.
Rosen, M. A., DiazGranados, D., Dietz, A. S., Benishek, L. E., Thompson, D., Pronovost, P. J., & Weaver, S. J. (2018). Teamwork in healthcare: Key discoveries enabling safer, high-quality care. The American psychologist, 73(4), 433-450. Web.
Rowland, P., Lising, D., Sinclair, L., & Baker, G. R. (2018). Team dynamics within quality improvement teams: A scoping review, International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 30(6), 416-422. Web.
Tiefenbacher, W. (2020). Team conflict: Understanding types of conflict and how to manage them sustainably. Web.