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Is Your Practice Ready To Be Better?

By Randy Hall

Will your practice be different this year than it was last year? Different this quarter than it was last quarter? People focus on the pace of change, but often the problem is actually driving change that lasts. If you want to know if your practice is ready to be better in the future than it was in the past, ask yourself these questions.

Are my people capable of more?

As a leader, one of your biggest jobs is ensuring that, over time, your people are capable of accomplishing more. You only have a few levers to pull as it relates to improving what your practice can accomplish. The most effective investment you can make is in the talent that makes up your team. Even if you're able to invest in new technology or new processes, your people still have to make it work. Nothing is more critical for the growth of your hospital than the growth of your people.

Is my culture any different?

Culture makes most of the decisions in your practice. Your people will conform to it whether it’s the one you want, or just the one that evolved because you didn’t consciously build a better one. If it’s risk averse, undisciplined, or content with the status quo, your practice will be too. You can’t execute tomorrow’s strategy with today’s culture. Look at your culture today. If you can’t honestly say it’s better than it was six months or a year ago, then decide specifically how it needs to change and start the change process now.

Are my leaders any better?

Ok, it’s possible that this one could lead to some introspection if you, yourself, are a leader in the practice. If your leaders still think the same way, act the same way, coach the same way, and communicate the same way tomorrow then your practice will achieve the same results. The changes that your practice needs to make to achieve its potential start with the leaders thinking, acting, and communicating differently. People often say that change starts at the top. Though that’s not always the case, it's true that until the leadership in the organization changes, no change is sustainable. What your leaders focus on, how they spend their time, and what they believe will drive how your practice performs. Sometimes I find hospitals whose leaders are focused on last month’s performance much more intently than the things that will drive a change in next month’s performance.

Changing the outcome is impossible to achieve unless you are focusing on the inputs. The things that will make your capabilities, your culture, and your leaders better will drive the right kind of change in your practice. Invest in these areas if you want change that matters and change that lasts.