Playing ‘man down’ not a good prescription for innovation


In soccer teams can be required to play a ‘man down’ because of penalties.

I wonder if you are familiar with the concept of playing a man down? This is not sports terminology, although I am aware of its relevance in soccer. Rather, it’s a concept that values input from everyone on the team equally, whether it’s the most senior leader or a new hire. When a team, department or organization plays a man or woman down, it’s not operating at full strength. It’s cutting off valuable input and feedback from team members that have a voice, have ideas and are eagerly awaiting their turn to make an impact. If your team has seven members but the strategy meeting invites go to only six of those members, you are playing a man down.

This has relevance for our Idea System and one of its key components, the huddle. Across the organization, when we huddle around our Idea Boards everyone on the team should feel empowered to be an active and equal partner. Your participation could come in the form of submitting new ideas, adding a new wrinkle to existing processes or voicing your disagreement with certain aspects of your organizations’ idea board or work process in general.

Playing a man down is inconsistent with everyone, everyday.

A team, any team, is at its best when everyone is at full strength and contributing towards the accomplishment of the overall goal. This is the aim of the many programs offered by our employee securedownloadwellness program, to help keep our teams intact. That program provides valuable information and tips to encourage you to continue to take care of yourself so you can take care of our patients.

By participating in our myHealth Matters wellness initiatives, weadvance care plan get to mimic the behavior we want to encourage not only in our patients, but in the general population as well. One of the newest initiatives encourages you to develop an advance care plan to let your family and friends know of your health care decisions should you ever become incapacitated and unable to voice those concerns with your caregivers. This is certainly behavior we want to encourage and I hope you visit the site today to complete your plan.

Our Idea of the Week comes from Annette Casco, senior director of the Physical Therapy Department at UMass Memorial Marlborough Hospital. Recognizing that falls can happen anywhere and at anytime, especially for patients who are at an increased risk because of their present medical condition. To decrease the risk of a patient falling and being injured, Marlborough Hospital changed its medical history form to ask patients about any falls-related incidents or problems with balance. Those patients identified as being at greater risk of falling will have that information noted in their charts and will be given education on these risks and tips on how to decrease them, The staff also closely monitor the patients during their treatment and walks them safely to their car, if needed. Well done!

You can now find the Idea of the Week archive by clicking the Idea System tab at the top of this page.

Finally, I want to end on a note that brings sadness but is also incredibly uplifting. You may have heard about the recent passing of Beth O’Rourke. Beth was a nurse with UMass Memorial and she wrote her own obituary. I was touched after reading this very powerful personal farewell. In her final words, Beth’s humanity clearly comes through — her love for her family and friends and the caregivers who were there to attend to her. And it was obvious she enjoyed her job and the many patients she came across during her career. You can read Beth’s powerful words here.

Thanks for all your great ideas and for taking great care of our patients and one another,


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