Optimizing for Focus and Mastery with an Untapped Practice

  • May 13, 2020


A young surgeon, dedicated to mastery in the craft of pediatric spinal surgery, faced barriers to peak performance, including distractions and additional cognitive load.


In observing his surgeries, it was clear that no one on his team was responsible for controlling flow in the room. Unrecognized and unassigned, this surgeon was taking it on unknowingly out of rightful concern for environmental sterility, leading him to monitor the room while at the same time performing particularly delicate surgeries. Our observations of other surgical cultures at the same site, equally concerned with sterility, revealed existing key practices that uphold a sterile environment with efficiency, allowing for a focused surgical performance.


Cross pollination between two micro-cultures–Spinal Surgery and Brain Surgery– allowed for the integration of efficient new practices to optimize performance and uphold patient safety as a collective through training staff for clear roles, and, when necessary, delegation to optimize the skills of each team member.