The operating room (OR) is a special place wherein groups of highly skilled individuals must work in a coordinated and harmonious fashion to deliver optimal patient care. Team dynamics and human factors principles were initially studied by the aviation industry to better understand and prevent airline accidents. As a result, crew resource management (CRM) training was designed for all flight personnel to create a highly reliable industry with a commitment to a culture of safety. CRM has since been adapted to health care, resulting in care improvement and harm reduction across a wide variety of medical specialties. When implemented in the OR, CRM has been shown not only to improve communication and morale for OR staff, but also reduce morbidity and mortality for patients. As increasing focus is placed on quality, safety, and high-reliability, surgeons will be expected to participate and lead efforts to facilitate a team approach in this new era of patient care.