Lessons on teamwork courtesy of a 54 mile hike...

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A team from Head Medical recently undertook the Caledonian Challenge to raise money for Foundation Scotland. Among the team was Jim Godsal, our Interim Managing Director. Here he considers the lessons learnt from undertaking this amazing challenge and how they apply to us here at Head Medical.

Teamwork seems to have been a theme for me over the last few months. How do you nurture a culture where everyone is pulling in the same direction, is it OK to have people inside the wider team who are working outside the team, what different elements do you need to make a great team?

Last month I took over the MD role at Head Medical while Anna Payne is on maternity leave, and central to me achieving our goals this year will be the quality of the team around me. I know that success (or failure) will not be down solely to me, all I can do is set us up for success, ensure the right team are in place and then empower and support them.

Coinciding with me taking on the new role, a team of 6 us from Head Medical undertook the daunting Caledonian Challenge last weekend - a 54 mile hike in 24 hours across the Scottish Highlands in aid of Foundation Scotland (a rather brilliant organisation that funds lots of small community charities across Scotland). We signed up for the challenge long before I took on the new role and the team was made up of people from all levels across the company - a senior manager, two recruiters, a member of our registration and licencing team, a member of the business support team and me.

Above and beyond the physical and mental challenge of walking for 23 hours and 17 minutes across the hills and moors, through rain and midges, the biggest lesson I took from the challenge was just how important teamwork is, and how everyone in the team can take the lead.

We weren’t the quickest team by any means, in fact we were a good 12 hours behind the quickest team and were out of sight at the back of the pack at checkpoint one. However, we were one of the few teams to stick together throughout and we crossed the line as one. We each had strengths, be it geeing the team on, getting hands on with the blister care, lightening the mood or leading the way. There was no hierarchy or factions and, by the end, no secrets.

We all wanted to achieve the same thing - to finish together within 24 hours - and because we all worked together to a common goal, the sense of shared achievement at the end was immense and emotional. We shared the pain, the laughs and the ups and downs together.

If I can get close to recreating that team ethos across Head Medical, get that sense of shared ownership and singularity of goal in my new MD role then I’m pretty confident we’ll be able to celebrate success together as a company, hopefully with fewer blisters…

Should you be interested in sponsoring our team and helping us exceed our charity target, the fundraising portal is still open:

http://www.caledonianchallenge.com/teams/JimandtheBlisterSisters