Are Backseat Drivers Running Your Medical Group?

August 24, 2020

When I was a kid, my dad used to let me sit on his lap and steer the car while he was driving down the road. We’re not talking just around the block, we’re talking miles. I couldn’t touch the pedals; I was five or six years old, but I was sure doing the steering.

It occurs to me that that same thing goes on within many medical groups. There’s someone who’s supposed to be doing the driving, the president of the group, say, or a managing partner.

But instead of actually doing the driving, that “leader” allows somebody else to grab onto the wheel of the group and point them in a different direction.

Bad idea.

What if my father wanted to go left and I wanted to go right? We probably would have gone somewhere in the middle. The car would have crashed and burned.

Many groups today have two drivers: The person who’s supposed to be driving and the person in the passenger seat. Or even worse, someone in the back seat who’s reaching all the way from there to the steering wheel.

Where’s the group’s going? Who knows?

Don’t allow backseat drivers. If your group has a board, they establish broad policy. But someone must be in charge, and that someone must have the power to make decisions, and that someone can’t make decisions by running a constant consensus contest.

If you’re supposed to be driving your group, grab the wheel, put your feet on the pedals, and go.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

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