Harry Hubris was, and probably still is, the classic example of how not to run a business.
I first met Harry about 5 years ago at a conference where I was speaking after which Harry asked me if I would like to take over all his medical invoicing.
However, before we even got to the point of agreeing a date to meet, Harry scuppered any prospect of a relationship.
He insisted as part of the agreement between us he wanted MHM Ltd to deposit £10,000 into his practice bank account.
In the event of any shortfalls and/or excess a value equivalent to the deduction would be made from the £10,000.
He would then “charged” another £100 which would constitute a fine for allowing a shortfall/excess to arise.
Further still, until such time as MHM recovered the funds from the patient, it would not be returned.
When it was recovered the £100 “fine” would be returned.
I’ve been around far, far too long to immediately react to his suggestion
Indeed I’ve been around long enough to know NEVER to react.
I’ll give it some thought and a considered opinion. In other words, unless it’s a life or death decision, I don’t react.
So I said NO to Harry.
Harry was definitely not happy with this response. He immediately stated he wasn’t sure if we could work together. On this point he was right.
I wasn’t sure if we could work together either.
It wasn’t just the £10,000 that bothered me. Nor was it the concept of forcing MHH to get it right.
If you think about it, if I can’t get the episode invoiced AND paid for my client I can’t charge the client anyway. I need to get it right.
What truly bothered me was Harry’s fault philosophy.
If Harry didn’t get paid “somebody” was to blame and therefore “somebody” must be punished.
Nonetheless, I drove up to meet Harry and discuss what he was looking for.
All the alarm bells went off when during the meeting with Harry I discovered his practice had a 100% turnover in permanent staff last year.
All the med-secs there were temps and 3 different people had tried to sort his invoicing and billing out in the last 8 months.
One apparently started on a Tuesday morning and never came back from lunch.
Harry was constantly being cited as the very reason the practice was in such a mess. He was proud of this in fact and explained why.
Harry demanded 100% perfection.
As a surgeon, he is quite right. A patient’s health is at stake so a medical practitioner should seek and demand 100% perfection.
No argument from me.
But in the commercial world, 100% perfection is just not going to happen.
You aim for it consistently.
Threatening and “punishing” staff is pretty much guaranteed to make sure your aim is never achieved.
Could it be the culture Harry was used is completely different from the culture of the commercial world?
I have no idea.
I suspect it is different.
That is not to say some commercial firms don’t demand perfection; they do.
But what I do know is that constantly blaming people and threatening to “punish” them will only motivate them to walk right out the door.
That is precisely what Harry was facing.
As I wished him a good day and walked out the door too.