When You Fail to Set Strategy

January 11, 2016

The jellyfish of the highway. You’ve seen them, too. Plastic shopping bags traveling a few feet off the ground, propelled by the wind of passing cars.

Without a purposefully developed strategy, a medical group is like one of those plastic bags. Pushed this way, then that, by outside forces. The hospital. The economy. The government.

Strategy is your entity’s intended destination. It’s setting the “to where” the business, just like those cars, is heading.

Most medical groups have no strategy. They’re on the road of the plastic bag, their destination set by someone else. Their existence is patient by patient. Their existence is reactive to the hospital and to referral sources. Most won’t survive.

We’re at a point of unprecedented change in healthcare. Hospitals are struggling for survival. Many hospitals see mergers with other facilities and the rolling up of physician practices as solutions. But, at the same time, advances in technology threaten the not-to-distant future viability of hospitals and of traditional medical practice, both those aligned with hospitals and those remaining independent. Most hospitals and most medical practices will not survive in their present guise.

So, what are you going to do?

Here’s part of the process we engage in with our clients:

1. Get clear. Accept the truth of your current situation.

2. Correct the defects in your organizational structure, especially in regards to governance.

3. Permit the entity’s leaders to lead. Allow them to set strategy, not just hold a worthless strategy retreat, and then direct its implementation.

4. Allow the entity’s leaders the freedom to fail as long as they correct course. If they don’t get the group headed in the right direction, then replace them with other leaders and give them the same freedom to try.

Speaking of freedom, you do have another choice: Let the wind of someone else’s forward progress determine where you’ll blow.

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