Who Is Your MVP? Determining the Most Valuable Player on Your Team

Who is the most valuable player on your team? Who are the people who impact the game, whatever “game” you are in, the most?

Let me share with you a lesson I learned from none other than NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon.

mvp

I recently had the honor of meeting famed race car driver Jeff Gordon as part of a small executive group he came to speak to. Sports journalist Don Yeager asked Gordon why his team really loved him and how that translated into wins for them. In response, Jeff revealed the way he thought of himself versus the other members of his team.

Who Is the MVP?

Jeff quickly said that he never viewed himself as more important than any other member of his team. Now retired, Jeff was always well-received by fans, his personal brand known around the world. He was it! He could have easily thought he was the indispensable one. But that’s not how great leaders view their teams, regardless of how talented or well-known they are. I could see in Jeff’s humility why his team members would do their utmost. He truly valued them as equals.

If you know car racing (I quickly learned when we were with Jeff), cars must stop several times during a race to have their tires changed. During these stops, the pit crew must change the tires in under eleven seconds. If they delay, even by a fraction of a second, it impacts the whole team’s performance.

Jeff described exactly why each team member is of equal importance. He explained how if one crew member were to delay by as much as one second, it could mean the difference between a win or a loss for the team. So he asked, “Who is most valuable player on the team? If every single person can impact the final result in big ways then, every single person is just as valuable.”

Respect Everyone’s Role

As doctors, many times we think we are the most important part of our team. After all, there is usually one of us and many support staff. We are often the one with most education and training. We believe we sacrificed the most to get to this point. We must be the most valuable. But are we?

Regardless of our professional rank, skill, or wisdom, everyone on our team is able to impact the final result. In the medical field for example, if one nurse gets the wrong blood pressure reading, if a physician’s assistant miscalculates a medication dosage, or an administrator fails to schedule a follow up, the patient could be just as hurt as if the doctor were to make a mistake in their diagnosis. Each team member’s role is crucial.

Jeff told our group that early in his career he was getting irritated with some of the pit crew. A mentor came to him and said, “Do you really know what they do when you stop the car?” Jeff told us that he tried to raise the car like the crew does by lifting the jack. He was 150 pounds then, and even hanging on the shaft of the jack with his full weight, the car would not budge. He explained that crew members could raise the car with one swift pull. Since that day, he has remembered to trust his team, to let them do their jobs, to respect what they do, and to value them. 

So who is the most valuable player on your team? True, some may contribute more. But if you focus on those, you will create a culture where others do not feel valued. If you want a winning team, you’ve got to think of everyone, regardless of their role, as being valuable to the process. Any person on our team can cause us to fail or help us succeed.  Every single person must bring their A-game daily. As leaders, we must expect the very best from each of them, and the very best from ourselves.

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

For Further Reading:

Values of a Great Team
Six Indicators of a Healthy Team

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