How heart surgery made me appreciate the value of a strong team

I began feeling more tired than usual and short of breath last summer and dismissed the symptoms as part and parcel of running a business and juggling family life. However, l suddenly experienced a very frightening episode, which resulted in me being rushed to Addenbrooke’s hospital. After a couple more episodes like this, in October l was put on the waiting list for surgery and told it could be up to eight months but the next morning l received a call asking me to go in for the procedure that day.

Initially l recovered well, however l did suffer a blip and scarily for a time afterwards l didn’t know who l was or where l was – l wasn’t even sure what gender l was – it was very frightening.

I was lying there and could hear the team at Papworth chatting to each other, talking about patients, what needed to be done, just getting on with their daily routines. I felt strangely comforted by this and the team spirit that the staff obviously had.

It was hearing this team spirit and the happy friendly staff helping each other outside in the ward that made me think ‘I know I have been in a team before like this where everybody gets on really well and is busy but happy – maybe I can be like that again’.

It sounds dramatic but l honestly believe it was the team atmosphere that l recognised from my own business that began to bring me back to life.

I’ve always believed we have a really strong team, we are all incredibly supportive of each other, friendly towards one another and we respect our different skills and abilities.

I feel strongly that a solid, trusting and dependable team is the backbone to a good business and that a strong leader and business owner should always strive to build a rounded, effective and reliable team.

I depended heavily on my fantastic team when l had to take time away from the business recovering from heart surgery who were brilliant in carrying on and keeping the business moving forwards in my absence.

I knew we were a strong team before my surgery but it has made me appreciate more the value a good team adds to a business.