Team Spirit – Embrace Yours for a Healthier, Happier Veterinary Practice

Teams have always been a big part of my life. I love being part of a team, and I love cheering teams on. What’s not to relish about camaraderie, motivation, and some healthy competition? I used to play a lot of sports. These days, though, besides watching my St. Louis Cardinals really pick up their game as they head into the post-season, the only team I’m actively engaged with is my work team at VetSuccess. Still, I find that much of what I learned back in my sports days translates into my work life on a daily basis. For example, it’s important to:

Trust each other to succeed:

I know that each of my VetSuccess teammates has incredible skills, and I trust my colleagues to use their skills to get the job done.

Pick up the slack for one another when necessary:

Whether I’m on vacation, out of the office, or simply in need of a bit of a pick-me-up, I know my colleagues have my back, and I can count on them to either help ensure my work gets done or motivate me to get it done.

Communicate openly:

A cohesive team is one whose members are open and honest with one another. We may not always agree, but we do always collaborate and ask questions in order reach the best outcome.

Have fun:

I can honestly say that I love coming to work – every single day. No joke. We work hard and play hard. Whether we’re working side by side or working remotely, which we often do, we share a lot of laughs.


Team-building possibilities are endless

Back in June of this year, I decided a team workout was in order. The team that sweats together stays together, right? So, I challenged a couple of my colleagues to take on Toronto’s Baldwin Steps. Kevin, Anthea, and I met at the base of the stairs on a sunny morning before work and got to it. We chatted and laughed along the way – when we weren’t gasping for air. In the midst of it all, we got to talking about triathlons. While each of us had an interest in at least one leg of a typical triathlon, none of us had undertaken one before. Like any good teammate would, I took it upon myself to change that!

After doing a little research, I discovered that the Toronto Triathlon Festival was upon us, and registration was open for relay teams. I immediately went into crazy-team-captain mode, assigning myself to the running portion of the race and peer-pressuring Kevin and Anthea into the swimming and biking portions respectively. We put our money down. There was no going back. Before we knew it, race day was upon us. Here’s what unfolded on July 23:

The team of Anthea, Kevin, and Katie together before the Toronto Triathlon Festival

Kevin was a true competitor

Donning his sister’s wet suit, he swam 750 meters in Lake Ontario’s frigid water (the temperature hasn’t risen above 75 degrees all summer). He could have taken on any leg of this race and done an exceptional job, but he graciously agreed to do the swim and was thrilled to exceed his own expectations.

Anthea’s ride was legendary

Anthea happens to be a serious spinning machine. And she bikes to and from work every day. But riding 20k on a single-speed bike is the stuff of legend! We tracked her progress on my phone. Watching her compete in her first race was a real thrill, and I can almost guarantee this race won’t be her last.

I anchored the team-building experience

This was the first race I’d run in a long time, and it was great to be back in the game after having had a baby nine months ago. I love the cheering crowds, the high you get when crossing the finish line, and that feeling of accomplishment when it’s all over. It was even better to be back with teammates I respect and admire.


 

As we crossed the finish line, they announced “VetSuccess” over the PA system, and the three of us cheered like crazy. We’d done it! We’d trusted each other, pushed one another to go the extra mile, successfully communicated while transitioning from swim to bike to run, and we had a blast doing it all. Coming in fifth out of 19 teams was icing on the cake.

Remember, your team is the soul of your veterinary practice

Like many of the practices we work with on a daily basis, the soul of our team is reflected in the work we do. Events like these remind us how much we can accomplish when we work together. The team-building possibilities are endless, and our triathlon gave us a chance to step away from work, lean on one another, and learn just a little bit more about the people we collaborate with on a daily basis.

Katie's team posing after the race with their 5th-place medals
 
I challenge you to put on your team captain’s hat and boost your team spirit in the interest of a healthier, happier veterinary practice. There are only benefits in store for you, your colleagues, and your clients and patients.

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