I was watching the youngsters playing football over the park the other day.
It reminded me of how precisely not to resolve an issue and neither score a goal or resolve a problem.
Basically, out of the 22 lads on the field, 20 of them were in the same area of the pitch. They were all trying frantically to kick the ball with the end result that not one of them moved the ball towards the goal.
No structure was in place.
No plan was being followed and no organization was present.
There again they were all aged under 10.
But it reminded me of a large private medical practice I was called in to review earlier this year.
The “goal” was to reduce the number of outstanding invoices they had. Then to reduce the number of overcharged invoices insurance companies refused to pay. Finally, it was also to reduce the number of “problem” self-funding invoices.
The problem is though whilst they had an objective – score a goal just as the youngsters wanted to do – they had no plan of how to obtain their objective.
Instead, everybody ran towards the problem.
And that is precisely what you don’t want to happen.
Instead, decide who is in charge of the problem, announce they are responsible for it and give them the resources and support to solve it.
You must also recognize that the problem is unlikely to be resolved overnight.
Thus you also agree on timescales.
The medical practice had established its goal(s) but had no plan to get there.
Apparently, the issue had been identified in the summer of 2015 but no real progress had been made by the Spring of 2016.
This despite instructions being given to all members of staff that the problem MUST be sorted otherwise jobs would have to go.
Therein lies an additional clue as to why the issue stood only a small chance of resolution.
You can’t motivate by fear.
By telling staff their jobs were at risk if they didn’t solve the problem you are in fact inviting them to blame each other and pass issues on i.e not resolve them.
You are also encouraging them to find jobs elsewhere rather than risk it.
And that’s precisely what happened.
A much more profitable approach in terms of improved cash, profits and satisfied patients would have been to:
That way you stand a greater chance of stopping the problem getting bigger – which is the situation the private practice faced in the Spring of 2016.
Rather than the problem getting smaller; it had got bigger.
Paradoxically the three consultants who owned the practice were extremely experienced, well respected and had been in private practice for many years.
None of which of course qualifies them to run a business at all.
What was pleasing, however, was all three realizing business management was not their strong suit and their previous attempts at resolving the issue were not the right things to do.
Instead, they engaged MHM to look at the issue as an outsider and draft a plan for resolution of the issue. Smart cookies!
You must have a business plan. Indeed you must have a plan for most business issues and then stick to it.
A business plan is VERY necessary!