Health care

Why making timely and better decisions is important

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For Practice managers and Clinician in the business of operating more sustainable Health
Care Practices

For many years I have been fascinated in the process of making decisions in business. I have learnt that if this skill is developed then enormous time can be saved/gained and productivity made rather than seeing paralysis by “over analysis”. The formal discipline of decision analysis has a rather turgid definition, sourced from a modification of a definition from Investopedia: “Decision analysis refers to a systematic, quantitative and interactive approach to addressing and evaluating important choices confronted by organisations in the private and public sector. Decision analysis is interdisciplinary and draws on theories from the fields of psychology, economics, and management science”.

Well, that is a mouthful so let me distil my thoughts about making decisions into six words that cover what I suspect are the key considerations.


Over time one gains knowledge about finance, human resources, time management, team building and assessing what is truly important. This knowledge is crucial in the process of making decisions. Work on building your knowledge base.


Understand the capability of your team. We all have strengths and weakness. Some speak a lot and achieve little and other don’t speak up enough and contribute to the discussion. Assist them by putting them in the position to make decisions and even if they are wrong they will learn to make better decisions next time. The only bad result is for no decision to be reached!


None starts with wisdom. Wisdom is the synthesis of experience, knowledge, judgement and learning. It is gained over time. Assist you team to explore how they may gain wisdom and that it takes time. Greater wisdom will lead to better decisions.

Confucius once said: “By three methods may be learn wisdom. The first by reflection which noblest, the second by imitation which is easiest and the third by experience which is the bitterest”.


Sometimes just doing it is required and sod the consequences. There are always consequences so being aware of both the negative and positive consequences need to be outlined/discussed with those making decisions.


Being confident will help with the delivery of a decision and convey a sense of being in control. There are negatives with over confidence so beware how the message of the decision is delivered


Establish the environment of learning with your team. Make sure you direct them to important books, articles etc to learn from and ensure that you regularly follow my aphorism of “teach don’t tell”. Empower them by advising that you want good decisions made and that you will help but at the end of the day they should use their judgement to move forward and act when they feel they have the resources to make the decision.

Remember that unless you assist them to develop this skill you will end with a beautifully coined phrase by one of my leading managers, “needlepoint management”, where all decisions end up coming to you to make… a sure sign of a dysfunctional working situation…

To see how I may be able to assist you with your Health care Practice

How to delegate in a way that doesn’t undermine your team


Leading a team means you will invariably have someone or several people reporting directly to you.

The most important thing is to get the best out of your team members.  This does not imply that you must constantly be directing them or chastising them when a job is not done to your satisfaction.  The mantra of “others never do the job as well as I can, so it is not worth teaching or delegating to them, is part of the reason that team leaders often fail to get the best from their team. This “I will just do it myself” attitude renders them unable to build a strong and productive team. Instead, the leader must forego their ego and accept that the delegation process can be slow, acknowledging that at first they may have to receive work that may be at a lower level than their own.

Delegating tasks is a crucial part of achieving an objective and to developing strong independent workers who make decisions with confidence and authority,  instilling greater competence and growth within them.

This said, it is still important to find the right balance of delegation. The lowest level is to tell somebody to do something and report back immediately. This base level delegation  is common in parenting when teaching one’s child to be more independent. In contrast, the highest level of delegation is to trust your team to make decisions and report routinely about progress and outcomes.

My biggest bug bear with watching leaders delegate is to see them constantly undermining those in their team. This includes asking them several times about progress or even chasing up others to see if the task is done.  Finally, what really irks me is when the leader has their direct report delegate a task/message to a subordinate, and the subordinate, unhappy with the task, bypasses the authority of the direct report and contests the leader. The issue then arises when the leader grants the subordinate's request without reference to their direct report. This is a breakdown in communication that shows little respect towards the direct report by both the subordinate and the leader themselves. This often leads to a lack of trust, unhappiness amongst team members and in a lot of cases, resignation.

The fabric of leadership is a fickle one, and the onus is on all parties to maintain balance.


Mentoring at LifeCare Health

Over the last few years at LifeCare we have introduced a mentoring system into the Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine practices that we own and operate. Moving from an informal, non structured process to a system that dictated how we were to mentor and at what specific times was a challenge for me. I had been used to a more ad hoc, slightly hit and miss approach, which had a degree of success but never created a predictable, sustainable result that improved the retention and development of clinicians in the business. We decided to review the results of the system and found some interesting items. In summary those who engaged with the program (completed documents, attended mentor and other education sessions and were generally and genuinely seen to apply what they learnt) were found to have measures that were around 20% better than those who did not. In other words the anecdotal improvements we observed we confirmed by analysis.

We continue to grow and develop the system we have and believe that effective mentoring from those who have the experience and follow the system is the key to success in Health practice. If you want to know more I recommend you email me and I will provide the results of our study to you.