Urgent message: The entrepreneurial nature of urgent care “business” means that care providers are frequently thrust into management decision-making, for which they are unprepared—putting them at risk for common but avoidable mistakes.


Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc is Chief Executive Officer of Velocity Urgent Care and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine.


Owners and operators in the healthcare industry have a lot on their plate. There’s no getting around this fact of the job. Many urgent care owners are also practicing physicians. Thus, these individuals are tasked with twice as much duty—and twice as much decision-making.

It is known that making smart, engaged decisions is central to the concept of leadership. Whether this is in a healthcare practice or in a Fortune 500 company, an organization cannot thrive without a leader who makes sound choices. Unfortunately, many fall short in this regard.


Humans make mistakes. It will always be so. Fortunately, this means other people have researched these errors in-depth, analyzing trends and patterns that exist. There are four main areas where leaders slip up when making decisions.


Let’s take an in-depth look at each of them and then see how urgent care owner/operators can avoid making these mistakes:


Telling People They Have a Voice When They Don’t

Everyone wants to have a voice in the organization they work for. This is true of nurses, office staff, and even the custodians. Moreover, everyone should have the right to be vocal about their opinions in the workplace.


Some leaders view this as a hindrance and want to get by with “checking the box” rather than actually listening and incorporating feedback. However, it isn’t so easy to simply ignore the voice of employees altogether. After all, nothing makes someone angrier than a closed door when they have a complaint. So, a boss will pretend to listen but have no intent of using the input when making a decision. This sham listening can unravel an organization if employees catch on.


To avoid this, owner/operators should be genuine. Not everyone can have a say in every decision. It is the job of the leader to determine who should have a say and then listen, genuinely, before considering their feedback as part of the decision-making process.


Not Knowing When to Slow Down

Healthcare is filled with life-and-death decisions. Running the business side of an urgent care center may not be equally dire, but that doesn’t make the decisions any less important.


The second flaw of leaders’ decision-making is not knowing when to slow down. For important, risky crossroads that arise, it is crucial to take a step back and examine the situation before rushing into a decision. The problem occurs when owner/operators get so caught up in the speed of running the fast-paced business that they forget to slow down.


Making the right decision can often lead to success, while the wrong one leads to failure or even closure of an urgent care center. By taking the time to slow down, owner/operators can help make their business stronger.


Flip-Flopping on Final Decisions

It is necessary to have some sense of finality and security in business. So, when a leader revisits a “final” decision too soon after it is made, widespread problems can result.


This can happen following a major decision because of an early setback, complaints, or anxiety about the situation. Regardless of how it happens, leaders should confidently make a decision and then stand by it—at least for a little while until it has been analyzed effectively as either right or wrong. Doing so can help give a business a sense of security and a stronger path forward.


Using Decision-Making as a Substitute for Action

Decisions themselves mean nothing without follow-through. Unfortunately, some leaders think after they’ve made a choice, that is the end. In truth, it is only the beginning.


This deals with the age-old saying of “putting your money where your mouth is.” Once an owner/operator decides something, he or she must act on it. The only way a good decision will help move a company forward is if it is acted upon by a team of passionate employees. After all, why make a decision if not to put something into action?


By following through on their choices, good leaders help bring positive action and momentum to their companies.


Running an urgent care center is no easy task. Neither is good decision-making. Fortunately, by avoiding the mistakes explained above, owner/operators will be well on their way to heading up a business that thrives, helps the community, and is profitable.


(Adapted from: The Biggest Mistakes Bosses Make When Making Decisions—and How to Avoid Them. The Wall Street Journal. Accessed April 19, 2019.)

Biggest Management Decision-Making Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Alan A. Ayers, MBA, MAcc

President of Experity Networks and is Practice Management Editor of The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine
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