Connections for Success

 

12.09.20

How Can You Avoid “Paralysis” When Making Key Decisions?
Laurence Sophian

How many times have you wanted to improve some aspect of your medical practice but found yourself unable to take the necessary steps? How many times has a staffer come to you with an idea and been told, “Okay, let me think about that.” But, rather than decide, the hectic nature of running a busy practice results in you never getting back to them. 

Related Read: Staying Solvent — and Maybe Even Profitable — in Tough Times

Common causes

There are likely two aspects of this phenomenon: The first is “analysis paralysis,” which is essentially when you overthink — or have so much information coming at you that you never pick a solution or decide to act. With the added complexity of running a practice during a pandemic, it is easy to see how this could happen.  The second is “decision paralysis,” which happens when you know what needs to be done, but do not actually do it.

One solution for both kinds of paralysis is to get over the fear of making the wrong decision. Medical decisions can be life or death, but business decisions rarely are. A “best-case scenario” for a business decision is that your practice grows and more revenue comes in. But even if the decision backfires, you will likely be able to backtrack and try a different approach.

Helpful strategies

To help you combat paralysis, try the following strategies:

  • Make Time for Business Decisions
    Set aside time in your week for decision making about medical procedures, financial management and strategic planning. Alternatively, if your practice is large enough to allow for this, designate one or more physicians to be responsible for the business side of the practice and adjust their schedules (and possibly the compensation system) to make sure they have the necessary time and reward for performing this function.
  • Be Systematic, Yet Flexible 
    Make lists and set up procedures, but consider the human side of any changes: Actively foresee how the changes will affect the people in your practice. 
  • Start at the Top
    You must be the first person to embrace any new changes.  If your employees see you ignoring or flouting the new procedures, the change does not have a chance of succeeding.
  • Involve, and Listen to, Staff
    Staff members often have the clearest ideas on how to make constructive changes for the practice — and how to improve the functioning of their own positions. Anytime you can involve your employees in decision-making, particularly those who will be directly affected by the issue, you will greatly enhance the chances of success.
  • Formalize it in Writing
    A codified policy that everyone can cite will help avoid problems and resolve disagreements.
  • Create Ownership 
    Get “buy-in” for major changes from staff and other physicians.
  • Communicate
    Speak to your staff one-on-one on how their jobs will change and why. Be as honest and straightforward as possible. Many staffers might fear change because they are afraid they cannot handle the new responsibilities. “Up-train” employees as necessary and reassure everyone of your confidence in their abilities.

Related Read: Six Ways to Motivate Your Employees

The right balance

Being too aggressive with changes to your practice can cause confusion and resentment among your staff. If you are not aggressive enough, however, the changes may not happen at all. These strategies are simple, but they can help you find a balance and make improvements successfully.

For more information, contact Larry Sophian at lsophian@orba.com or 312.670.7444. Visit ORBA.com to learn more about our Health Care Group.

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