Play Calling in Healthcare
3 Tips You Can Try This Week

Leading a successful healthcare business and calling plays for a sports team are quite parallel in more than just a couple ways. If you’re the coach of any team, the way you organize your communication and direction are probably related to your wins – and losses.

Just like a team showing up for practice, employees show up understanding why they are in the office that day. Often the right mix of encouragement and accountability will bring the best out of them.

When drawing a comparison between sports and business, we have all heard cliché analogies for having the ‘Hail Mary’ sales plan or a manager that feels a project is ‘in her wheelhouse.’ This blog focuses a little more an existential comparison – specifically on the way that you call plays in your business and the players on your team that you choose to run them.

There a few things to consider when choosing the type of coach you want to be:

Is it important enough to interrupt?

Sometimes problems work themselves out. Prior to interrupting the game (or day, in this case), it’s important to be sure that you need to.

Do you know the solution?

When recognizing an issue that needs an interruption, you should know enough to know whether you can solve the problem. If you can, call the play! A short, directive communication might be all that’s necessary.

Who is in your lineup?

It’s likely that if you’re interrupting, there’s an issue that you see. When evaluating a lineup for a project or an issue in your HME business, make sure you pull the right players into the mix. If it doesn’t need to be an “all-hands” effort, don’t make it one. Put together a tactical team to focus on the solution.

Youth Football GameWe talk quite a bit about coaching strategies throughout the LabTac Academy and if this story peaks your interest, you’ll find more detailed advice there. The course on Creating a Healthy Review Process focuses quite a bit on organizational structure and includes worksheets to plan and budget for incentivizing your team.

Most leaders handle problems and issues day in and day out, without thought. Sometimes this is great – especially if you have a decentralized organizational structure where team members are empowered to make their own decisions.

However, when more complex problems present themselves, a more serious and technical strategy is often required, like the one we’re describing here. Even if business exercises aren’t your thing… taking a few moments to mindful of the issue and pragmatic about your reaction will pay dividends.

Once you have a lineup follow,  coach your team to victory:

1. Know when to call a meeting and when to send an email.

Electronic communication is typically the standard. This could be email, screen sharing, or even a recorded video. All coaches use digital methods to win. It offers helps with accountability, consistency, and documented proof that you said it – but it can lack the opportunity for personal feedback. Certainly, there are times when we need documentation of things we communicate, but don’t use electronic communication to avoid conflict. It will come back to bite you. Nothing replaces a face-to-face meeting with your team member(s). Our Advice?Use a varied approach.

2. Use a whiteboard or handouts.

Speaking to your team with visual images is proven to work more effectively with adults than an open conversation alone. This is because it’s likely your work team has a varied ability to consume the information you’re sharing with them and preparing visuals will help your cause. This study from the NCBI gives proof and advice on being a better communicator. Quick note: Speak to the middle common denominator, not the lowest. It’s more effective.

3. Keep Score.

Creating simple metrics and games to keep score for your strategy will help jump-start the process. We call these Baseline Metrics and believe in them so much that we created a whole course for it. When keeping score on this type of thing, you need to be specific and frequent.

For example – if you to contact a huge number of patients in the next week for a certain purpose. Report back every night to your team how well they’ve done, even if you don’t know how many calls were ‘supposed’ to have been made. Frequent touches of coaching and cheering provide better results and help you identify your best lineups for individual problems over the long run.

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