I was talking to a leader at another hospital the other day. She was telling me about her struggles with getting her Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) on board with Baby-Friendly. During the conversation I remembered a life lesson that only recently sunk in and became a part of who I am: Life is a group project.
I hated group projects in school. Sharing the work did not make anything easier. In the time it took to decide who was doing what and kick the slackers along, I could have done all the work myself. I couldn’t wait to graduate and be done with group projects.
What I quickly learned after graduation was that all those group projects prepared me for the behemoth of all group projects—a career. Business leader and author Harlan Steinbaum cautions not to do anything alone. He interviewed leaders like Maxine Clark (Build-A-Bear), Jack C. Taylor (Enterprise) and Ronald M. Shaich (Panera) and his research demonstrated again and again that progress happens in the context of a group, not an individual.
In order to officially begin working toward UNICEF’s Baby-Friendly designation, a hospital has to send a letter of intent from the hospital’s president or CEO. Months before seeking a signature for that letter, leaders from Women’s and Children’s Services learned together the benefits and challenges of seeking Baby-Friendly designation.
Believing this designation aligns with our organization’s mission and vision, together we met with our hospital president, as well as other leaders. In total, we went to the meeting as a group of 11: five lactation consultants, three directors, our senior director, a Newborn ICU physician and our perinatal education coordinator. It was a good day!
When I think about it, most things in life are a group project.
At the top of our Breastfeeding Basics class outline we have written, “Because breastfeeding might be difficult, follow these 6 Steps for Success.” Step 1 is to have a support system. Having that as No. 1 is no coincidence. Having a support system is the No. 1 thing a woman can do to be successful in breastfeeding.
In childbirth classes we throw Koosh balls at each other. It’s one of those things you just have to see for yourself, but believe me that the point of it is to illustrate that couples need a support network to raise a baby. They can’t do it alone.
What is your project right now? Whether it is related to your career, kids, a relationship or hobby, I wonder who you could draw in for help and support. I wonder what resources and ideas that person or group of people may add to your cause.
Go grab some people! Life is a group project!