In my blog post entitled Who’s Driving Your Practice’s Bus?, published in April 2012, I wrote that for many medical practices, it appears as if no one is driving the bus; that is, no one is in charge of the group’s business. Instead, the practice operates like a runaway bus — yes, the providers are seeing patients, but where is it headed? Instead of a map with a clearly marked final destination, it’s just rolling along.
Many groups have a related problem: There isn’t a bus driver, there’s a whole committee of them. In fact, for some groups, there is a whole Greyhound bus full of them.
There is no question that the healthcare market is changing rapidly. This means that groups must have the ability to make business decisions rapidly.
Drawing on the work of the late Col. John Boyd, considered by many to be the second greatest military strategist to have lived, success requires a faster cycling through what he termed the OODA loop. In simplified form, the loop consists of observing, orienting, deciding and acting. (The OODA loop is actually much more complex with various internal feedback mechanisms). The point, however, is that the competitor who can cycle faster through the loop gains a tremendous strategic advantage over its opponent.
Whether you take the time to study Boyd or not, it’s axiomatic that a group must be able to make decisions quickly. That requires that someone, not some committee, be in charge.
Please note that I’m not saying that groups need dictators: far from it. However, group leaders must be empowered to lead – and they must actually lead.