The Business of Healthcare

How to Use Red Teams to Strengthen Your Business

January 12, 2015
Photo credit: Tim Ellis - creative commons copyright.
Photo credit: Tim Ellis – Creative Commons copyright

I planned to buy, but as soon as I walked 13 feet into the car showroom, I knew that they’d make no sale. The three salesmen were huddled around a small TV set, watching football. None made eye contact. None said a word.

“Red team,” isn’t a Tom Clancy novel. It’s the broad description of checking for your business’ weaknesses and faults by way of a team tasked with countering or challenging you:

  • “Secret shoppers” reconnoiter how they’re treated and ambiance of the store or other location.
  • A team of white hat hackers tries to breach a company’s IT system.
  • A committee is charged with taking the devil’s advocate approach to your business plans.

The applications are legion, but you get the idea. I hope.

You can use a red team strategy to discover your medical group’s weaknesses and to correct them before someone else takes advantage of them.

Task three of your group’s members to “play” competitor. Let them plan to disrupt your business relationship with a hospital or referral source.

Bring in someone from the outside to evaluate your group’s organizational and governance structures.

Appoint someone to act as the proxy for the hospital CEO and run a mock evaluation of the contract with your group.

Your customers know a lot about your weaknesses. The problem is that they don’t often tell you until it is too late. That’s the point at which they become someone else’s customer.

Your competitors want to capture your opportunities and seek to take advantage of your faults.

In the normal course of business, we all tend to be blind to our own weaknesses and faults. Red teaming is a strategy to make those defects evident.

I wasn’t a secret shopper in the car showroom. I didn’t tell the dealership owner a thing. I simply left and drove 27 miles to their closest competitor and bought a Range Rover from them.

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

Mark F. Weiss

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