It is about one third of the way through the baseball season, and the fans are well into deep philosophical analysis of how the players on their favorite teams are doing. I’ve been hearing a lot of would-be General Managers weighing in on how things are going with the stars of the Nationals, for instance.

Pitcher Stephen Strasburg has 12 consecutive winning decisions—a new franchise record for a starter. Daniel Murphy was just named National League Player of the Month, with the most hits in the league. Jayson Werth had a pinch-hit grand slam, anchoring a 10-2 win against the Cardinals. Bryce Harper is a favorite to be the National League’s MVP, after his unanimously voted win last season. Manager Dusty Baker just passed 1,700 wins as a manager—and seems well on his way to his next 100. The list could go on.

But individuals don’t win ballgames; teams do. It was Werth’s grand slam that guaranteed Strasburg his winning decision against the Cardinals, which in turn is one of Baker’s 1704 wins. Baseball is a team sport, and every player (and manager) knows it takes every person on the roster to put together winning games and a winning season.

In healthcare our mission is not just a game won or lost. Our mission is saving lives, improving people’s health, and creating healthy environments for families and communities. Here are five things that winning teams—in baseball and healthcare—always share:

  1. They know they can count on each other. Teams are rooted in trust.
  2. They know their roles and fill them. Not much good happens if it’s your job that is left undone.
  3. They understand the need for personal commitment and sacrifice. Unknown challenges sometimes require unprecedented engagement, and the best teams are willing to take on personal, even sacrificial, challenges.
  4. They are always focused on the best result. Shared mission requires shared commitment—and part of that commitment is to always be looking for a way to win.
  5. They know what they don’t control. Great teams focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do; they give their best to every situation and are mindful of what they control—and what they don’t control.

Babe Ruth once said about baseball, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” The sentiment can easily apply to healthcare.

I love baseball. And I love the work we do together in healthcare. It’s rewarding and exciting to be part of a winning team—eager to face the challenges that come to us each day.