146: Achieving Excellence Without Micromanagement in Healthcare

June 26, 2024

Episode Summary

Have you ever wondered how to balance micromanaging and maintaining high standards in your healthcare practice? On this episode of Practice Freedom, Mark dives into that problem to help you navigate this equilibrium.

Episode Note

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Have you ever wondered how to balance micromanaging and maintaining high standards in your healthcare practice?

On this episode of Practice Freedom, Mark dives into that problem to help you navigate this equilibrium. Hear how core values, culture, and long-term goals should remain unyielding while short-term strategies and execution need a flexible approach. Learn why it's crucial to empower your team to make mistakes and grow and how to balance the impatience of a visionary leader with strategic patience. Learn how to achieve sustainable success by aligning your clinical and business sides.

Mark also explores the power of delegating management responsibilities to nurture continuous learning and growth. Understand why maintaining a directional alignment with your long-term vision is essential, regardless of the inevitable ups and downs. Mark distinguishes between micromanagement and upholding standards of excellence, providing strategies for sustainable growth and success.

If you're grappling with leadership challenges or searching for ways to maximize your team's potential, this episode offers practical advice to help you lead effectively and live the healthy life you deserve.

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Balancing micromanagement with high standards of excellence in healthcare practices
  • The importance of maintaining core values, culture, and long-term goals
  • Empowering team members to make mistakes and learn
  • Some strategies for delegating management responsibilities for sustainable growth
  • Differentiating between harmful micromanagement and the pursuit of excellence
  • Aligning clinical and business aspects of the practice
  • Creating a practice environment that supports continuous learning and growth

Resources from this episode:

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Episode Transcript

0:00:02 - Mark Henderson Leary

Welcome to Practice Freedom. What if you could hang out with owners and founders from all sorts of healthcare private practices, having rich conversations about their successes and their failures, and then take an insight or two to inspire your own growth? Each week on Practice Freedom, we take an in-depth look at how to get the most out of both the clinical side and the business side of the practice, get the most out of your people and, most of all, how to live the healthy life that you deserve. I'm Mark Henderson Leary. I'm a business coach and an entrepreneurial operating system implementer. I have a passion that everyone should feel in control of their life, and so what I do is I help you get control of your business. Part of how I do that is by letting you listen in on these conversations in order to make the biggest impact in your practice and, ultimately, live your best life. Let's get started. Welcome back, practice leaders. 

I have a thought, which is why I do these rants. Hopefully this is useful. So the idea here is what's the difference between micromanaging and high standards of excellence? We must have high standards of excellence, but we keep getting told not to micromanage. Let's unpack that in a second, don't forget, of course. If you're stuck, please reach out. I don't want you to be stuck. Practicefreedomcom slash schedule and we can talk about what a first step or next step looks like for you. So this concept has come up a bunch in the last couple of podcasts. 

There's a paradoxical concept of empowering people, allowing them to make mistakes, getting out of their way. And then those of us who have been in the position of trying to lead an organization who may have been told that we have high standards of self and others, or high expectations of self and others, which, if you have heard that, you will recognize it as not a compliment. It means that we are oftentimes not nice. People hate it, and so what that ends up being is a source of great frustration and contradiction for a lot of leaders. Got to give them more latitude, got to allow for more mistakes, and I get a lot of people coming to me and saying like hey, this is running like shit. When do I get involved? What do I do? And this is very important and what does it work? Here is what we're doing long-term, where is this going and how we're getting there. They need to agree with each other, but those of us who are impatient and may self-identify as the visionary box. The visionary leader may not have the patience or may have been told we are impatient to separate those out very much, and so this idea of the future being 10 milliseconds from now, emotionally, even though we write it down on our VTO or our vision traction organizers, whatever we're doing for our vision three years from now might feel like tomorrow now has to be true. So that's the separation we need to start thinking about. So here's my guidance, here's my recommendation when we think of vision, when we think about what has to be done long term, why does this matter? 

This can never be compromised. Never be compromised. What kind of things live in that bucket? Core values, what is this culture about? What type of behavior do we tolerate? Are we patient first? Is this fun? Is this optimism? Is this work hard? What is it? What is it the culture? That must be true. You can never compromise that and you can never tolerate anyone in your organization who does accept that. You can never accept compromise in your purpose, in your core focus, in what you are here to do. You must be vigilant and obsess about your purpose. That can never be compromised. 

Where you're going long-term, the 10-year target for the organization, you're gonna make a massive dent in the universe. You must hold steady to that. You must take care of the exact right patient, exact right customer, your best customer, your target market, through your marketing strategy. The three-year picture where this is going three short years from now, we are going to be offering these great benefits with a great new, cool facility. We're going to have these capacities time off, work-life balance, great leadership team. We're going to be the best place to work. We're going to have tuition reimbursement, 401k matching, whatever these things are that just you think are really important, and if some of those things that are not important to you, then they should not be in there. In fact, at that point, do not allow things to creep into your vision that you do not find useful or find contradictory. I mean, sometimes you include something and not understanding it. That's not necessarily a sin, but if you do not believe in it, you had better be careful about including it in the vision. And just to try to make peace with other people In the EOS language, what I just described for you is the top half of the VTO, the vision traction organizer, or the vision portion of the document, your plan for how you're going to get where you're going and how you're going to get there. 

That can never be compromised. You should always hold that to 100% purity. The bottom half of that document, as we do in the EOS, is, I said, plan. It's a document that has the vision and the plan where you're going and how you're going to get there. Where you're going is the vision, how you're going to get there. 

That's a little different. This is short term. This is stuff that we're. Shorter term Starts with one year. What are the objectives for the year? The three to seven high, hard goals for the next 12 months or so. These I have to do with focus. Three to seven, hopefully closer to three. 

You might not always agree with what the priorities are, but you're going to have to agree to a plan you're going to execute on and you're going to run plays on it, and some of this stuff's going to work and some of it's not. You're going to learn some things. Other people are going to learn some things. But does it track back to the vision? If you make the mistake and you error, correct back towards the vision, that's a good thing. That's where your guidance matters. What did we learn, guys oh, it was too expensive, it didn't do great service, it was dissatisfying, it was impossible to do in a short amount of time. Great, great. We've learned something. 

Now, how do we get plugged back into aligning with that vision? That's the error correction you want. Same thing with your rocks, your quarterly objectives. Same things with your issues. Putting those issues, the things that you're not solving yet, putting those in the right spot, getting into the getting, the other, execution, the to-dos, the things we do on a daily basis. Feel free to say, yeah, I don't, that's not what I would do, but give it a shot and see if that works. Does that move us closer to the vision or not? Now, obviously there's things that just lie to the patient. Nope, that's a core value. Evaluation right away. We're not doing that. I'm putting my foot down on that one. 

But trying things that move us down the path, that move us further away from and closer to that vision is fine, as long as the context is that the vision is uncompromisable, that we're moving towards. And so really, to create this separation between micromanagement and standard of excellence is to put standard of excellence into the vision bucket. This is where we're going is to put standard of excellence into the vision bucket. This is where we're going. Standard of excellence can include this perception of perfection almost, which means it's not going to be possible. So it needs to be safely stored in the future at a place where we can be aspirational to move toward it. 

And then, in the now, we try stuff, we make experiments and we don't violate core values and we don't violate our core focus, but we try things with the hypothesis of moving toward it and allow things to not go right, because that's what we learn, that's where we learn, that's how, when people learn for themselves, their agency, like, if you want people more than you to carry that vision forward, the best way to do that is to give them the authority and accountability of a task that they say is going to move that forward and let them handle it. And if and if they fail and there's visibility healthy visibility as a good, healthy team like, hey, how'd that go? Not great, what'd you learn? Oh, I was too ambitious. I needed help, I didn't. I didn't think I needed help, I did. I should have asked for help. I should have made it smaller. 

Whatever, that person now has the proper humility and the proper capacity to take another run at it and grow. And now you've got somebody who starts to care more than they did before and take this seriously. The consequences are more serious and now you don't have to watch them as closely and this is an iterative process. So this is. I think it's going to be nice and short. I keep this one under 10 minutes, this hilarity. 

I just want to bring this point home the difference between micromanagement, controlling somebody's actions, telling them what to do, trying to make it perfect right now by not allowing any breathing room, any mistakes. This is a time problem. You need to push out your standard of excellence into the future and don't compromise the direction toward it, but allowing those movements and those mistakes and the learning and you will start to see that a lot of life and error is breathed into this. Taking the distance away and sometimes you need to create physical distance, allowing other people to do the management, getting out of the process. And if you are not the kind of leader who can really manage when I say manage repeatedly on a weekly basis, monitor progress healthy and watch mistakes happen and coach and teach and learn, if that's not you, then you need to get out of that business and stay in the visionary or individual healer or individual contributor roles that were your talents lie, and there's no shame in that. 

That's actually the most powerful places you can be sitting. Let other people do the management so they can care and feed for the ongoing learning, ongoing training, ongoing mistakes that are going to move you imperfectly, with zigzags and ups and downs, but directionally aligned with that long-term vision. Anyway, I hope that helps. I want this to be succinct, so that's. I'm going to end it right there. That hopefully unlocks micromanagement versus standards of excellence. We'll see you next time on Practice Freedom with me, mark Henderson-Leary.

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