Physician Team Strategies

Physician Team Strategies, is a national healthcare leadership development company providing consulting to multi-disciplinary teams in healthcare organizations who want to build powerful, sustainable teams that make giant leaps in their performance.

There is no Magic Bullet

As a health care leader are you struggling with how to get your medical team to work together and provide quality patient care? There is no magic bullet. As the health care team leader you are the role model. Your team looks at your actions and determines whether you practice what you preach. As the leader you set the team environment and culture. The following tip, if implemented, will set you and your team in the right direction to work on what is important. This tip you have probably heard before, but if you are continuing to have difficulty with the team accomplishing objectives, then you need to revisit this suggestion and determine if you are consistently caring it out.

Tip – Set a Clear Vision

Individuals and teams want to make a difference and be involved in something greater than themselves. Individuals who enter the medical field want to help heal the sick. Clinical teams want to take care of patients and not be caught up in burdensome paperwork. Does paperwork take precedence over patient care in your work setting?  Have you set a vision that quality patient care is the top priority? How do you demonstrate it? Do you acknowledge team members who have gone out of their way to help a patient or team member? Reflect on what your real vision for your team is and how you communicate it. Does your vision inspires?

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Position for a Transition during Change

No matter what change type you are, you will be impacted by large and small changes in your life and still must successfully navigate through them.  This audio recording is going to focus on the transitional phase of change. This is the period of time between the first stage – letting go, and the final stage – moving forward into the known or unknown.  This period of time is when you have the opportunity to grow, to learn something new, to refuel, re-energize or re-charge.

Listen to the audio and learn 5 tips on how to navigate through the transitional stage of change.

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What’s Your Style when it come to Change?

As a physician leader or health care executive, what is your style when it comes to change?  Understanding your style and the style of the individuals you work with is important if you are to successfully navigate the change process.  In the audio link below I will describe four change types:

  • The take charge type
  • The people person
  • The steady, calm person
  • The process and procedure person

Click on the audio link and determine which change type most describes your style.

Change: What’s it really all about?

Change is all around us.  Passage of the Health Care Reform Bill involves change.  How are you as a health care leader going to navigate through the sea of change?  This blog post includes an audio recording which looks at three phases of the change process and three steps you can take to more easily navigate through the changes in your life and career.

Click on the audio recording below and learn tips about change you can apply today.

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When you ask physician leaders about setting goals, they seem to be in either one camp or the other – they either do it or they don’t.    One of the reasons that people don’t like setting goals is because more often than not, their goals never come to be, so they just have resolved that setting goals may work for everyone else, but not for them. There is no doubt that setting goals is one of the best things you can do to make positive changes in your life.  But there is a strategy to setting goals in a way that will better ensure your success – you have to do it S-M-A-R-T.  S-M-A-R-T is an acronym to follow that will help you create goals that have more substance and a better chance of coming to fruition.  Setting S-M-A-R-T goals means to make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  You define them clearly with a realistic, yet challenging, quantifiable, achievable, and time bound action plan. Go back and look at your goals and be sure to make them S-M-A-R-T.

Break the Goals into Manageable Tasks

Break your goals into manageable tasks and sub-tasks.  If you try to accomplish everything at once, you can become overwhelmed.  Set a deadline for each task.  Determine if you will do the task or delegate it to someone else.  Remember, as a physician leader you cannot do everything.  Let go and delegate tasks which can be done by your staff and healthcare team.  Delegating to others on your healthcare team will give them a sense of involvement and free you up to accomplish your priority tasks.

We are almost half-way through the year 2010. As a physician executive you set up goals for your own personal leadership and clinical development as well as your healthcare -team. How many of the goals have you completed that you set up at the beginning of the year? Are you on track?

Visualize Your Goals

Setting goals gives us a great feeling of starting anew. But if you goals aren’t created properly, you are setting ourselves up for failure right from the start. When you set your goals, add this additional element to ensure your success. Not only do you want to write them down, look at them daily, and take deliberate action toward achieving them, but you also want to visualize them as if they have already happened. Want to lose 20lbs? Visualize yourself 20lbs lighter. Want to make $100k this year. Visualize yourself putting $10k checks in the bank every month. Want to pay off all your debt? Visualize your balance sheet saying $0 due. What to implement the Electronic Medical Record (EMR)?  Visualize using the EMR successfully and how it has made your life easier. Visualizing your goals is the missing ingredient to achieving what you want to accomplish. Enjoy the experience, and enjoy your visions coming to be!

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On this Memorial Day let us remember those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country, making our nation and the world a safer place to live. Let us also honor those military members serving today in deployed locations away from family and friends.

I served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force and I have witnessed the sacrifices the military members make. Many dedicated military physicians are taking care of the injuries and healthcare needs of our courageous soldiers and their families. On this Memorial Day I also want to honor the military physicians and share with you the Air Force Flight Surgeon Oath.

Flight Surgeon Oath

I accept the sacred charge to assist in the healing of the mind as well as of the body.

I will at all times remember my responsibility as a pioneer in the new and important field of aviation medicine.

I will bear in mind that my studies are unending; my efforts ceaseless; that in the understanding and performance of my daily tasks may lie the future usefulness of countless airmen whose training has been difficult and whose value is immeasurable.

My obligation as a physician is to practice the medical art with uprightness and honor; my pledge as a soldier is devoted to Duty, Honor, Country.

I will be ingenious. I will find cures where there are none; I will call upon all the knowledge and skill at my command. I will be resourceful; I will, in the face of the direst emergency, strive to do the impossible.

What I learn by my experiences may influence the world, not only of today, but the air world of tomorrow which belongs to aviation. What I learn and practice may turn the tide of battle.

I may send back to a peacetime world the future leaders of this country.

I will regard disease as the enemy; I will combat fatigue and discouragement as foes; I will keep the faith of the men entrusted in my care; I will keep the faith with the country which has singled me out, and with my God.

I do solemnly swear these things by the heavens in which men fly.

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What do you do if you’ve hurt a physician team member, intentionally or unintentionally?  Difficult as it is, your first step is to acknowledge it. You might say something like, “I’m sorry I didn’t follow through on what I told you I’d do,” or “I apologize for not listening to you and respecting your point of view.”  Doing this requires humility, but it’s an essential first step to rebuilding trust in any relationship.  The second step is to prove, through your actions, that you mean it.  Words without actions are meaningless.

Confronting issue in a non-accusing way

What if someone has hurt you?  You must gently confront the issue and tell the person, in a non-accusing way, what hurt you.  Begin your sentence with “I”, not “you”.  For example, “I felt hurt when you were critical of me last week.  I need to know you support me and believe that I’m doing my best.”

Developing Healthy Physician Team Relationships

This give and take is what healthy physician team relationships are all about. Whether you have hurt someone else or someone else has hurt you, taking these steps will leave you with greater peace of mind.  Do this, and you will have the kind of relationships that can handle disagreements and move forward when they occur.

When you as a physician team member have a conflict with someone, it can be very difficult to put your emotions aside.  Many people lead with their emotions, often to their own detriment.  Psychologists have discovered that more people behave themselves into new ways of thinking than think themselves into new ways of behaving. Sometimes we believe that we must have the feeling first, before we act.  But in fact, changing your actions will lead to a change in feelings.

Act Respectfully

For example, if you are in a heated discussion with a physician team member, you may not feel like acting respectfully toward the other person.  Act respectfully anyway, and see if you don’t feel your blood pressure falling.  You may not feel like listening to their ideas with an open mind.  Listen anyway, and see if you don’t find some common ground with them.

If you want different results, take different actions!

As the saying goes, “If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten.”  Act first, and the feelings will follow.

When physician team members get into a conflict with one another, they often go on the defensive.  Team members ready themselves with their reasons, opinions, and certainty that they are right!  However, most of us give very little thought to the atmosphere in which our conflicts happen.

The atmosphere matters

The atmosphere makes a difference.  Conflict left unresolved will usually grow until an explosion occurs.  For your part as a team member or physician leader, do you make it safe for other people to come to you with problems?  Do people know they can come to you with a difference of opinion or something that needs to be settled, and they will be treated with respect?  Do you approach it as if you are part of a team, looking for a solution?

Conflict as a Mature Discussion

Conflict can be a calm, mature discussion between equals, when you both listen and truly try to understand each other.  Will you put your defenses aside for the sake of seeking a solution?