What A Top Management Guru Can Teach Us About Managing Our Medical Practice Better

Jim Collins affirms that accumulated progress is what drives greatness in companies. He adds that focusing and being disciplined about progress in small increments is the only way to become a great organization. Greatness, in other words, is not a silver bullet. It is a work in progress. And we get there not mile-by-mile, but rather inch-by-inch.

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We often talk about making things better. We often challenge the staff to think about how to improve a process; for example the check-in or check-out or improving the process of drawing up the vaccines.

When we challenge the staff to find ways to make it better, faster, stronger, more efficient, we don’t imply incremental changes. We are, in essence, asking for an overhaul. We are asking for a re-invented, transformational, innovating change.

But Collins tells us that high performing companies don’t work like that. Great companies are disciplined in their progress, which in turn, results in incremental improvements; which over time creates drastic change.

For me, this is important. It reminds me that when challenging staff to improve, I need to be clear about not asking for a complete overhaul or make a request to dismantle a process, but rather emphasize that the purpose is to make incremental improvements.

This frame of mind also helps me set my expectations too. I often devise plans with the expectation to improve an area of the practice and make it 10x better. When in fact, small additions an increases accumulate over time are not only a more realistic approach, but it is also easier to manage.

How about you? How do you approach changes in your practice? When you and your team are trying to make changes, improve or make progress with something in the office, you expect a complete overhaul? When you come back from a seminar, do you want to implement everything you learned at once but end up not doing most of it because it was just too much?

If so, perhaps adopting this notion may help.