problem solving strategies for CEOs

How to Approach Problem Solving Strategies Like a CEO

Trouble (like heat) always seems to rise to the top. 

No matter how effectively you’ve structured your PT clinic for growth and how strong your staff is in managing issues, it typically always comes up to the CEO and executives to make a big call. The good news is that, if you approach problem solving the right way, you won’t need to worry about these decisions taking you away from other important work.

What sort of crises might your physical therapy practice face? As fans of the Daily Mentoring with Darren Hardy segments, we enjoyed a recent strategy shared on problem solving for CEOs. We’ll highlight the takeaways for PT business owners and executives.

The Million Dollar Space Pen

Though Hardy opens his premise with the demonstrably untrue parable about the “Russian pen,” it’s a perfect example to showcase problem solving in this way. The story goes like this (long story short): NASA needed a pen that would work in zero gravity so they went to work designing a wonder pen that worked. Only cost millions in time and research… When the Russians encountered the same issue, they just used a pencil.

True, this story is not. Nevertheless, Hardy’s point isn’t missed: Focusing solely on the problem can lead to needless work.

The parable of the “space pen” is essentially an urban legend, but it illustrates the need for “solution-based thinking.” Focusing on the outcome you’re looking to achieve. Writing in space was the need, and in this story, the answer is simple: don’t overcomplicate with the problem; instead, consider a solution-forward mindset.

Such a mindset is seen in the 1:3:1 formula, introduced in Darren Hardy’s video.

Utilizing the 1:3:1 Method to Problem Solving

The 1:3:1 method is a three-part formula for solving problems. Consider working this problem-solving strategy into your therapy practice. Within his own teams, Hardy explains that he doesn’t want to be approached with issues unless this strategy has first been used.

Step One: What is the one problem?

The first part of this process is to identify the problem. Precisely a narrowed-down issue. Not several matters at once either, but how the team must solve a concrete issue. Problems can pile up and arise, but often your team can only handle them one at a time. That is the intent of this first step – sift through the noise and pinpoint the issue at hand.

Step Two: What are three viable, vetted solutions?

The second part is where most of the work comes in. It’s about changing the mindset of your team from approaching you with problems, and instead delivering solutions. 

To do that, they just focus on three different ways to solve the problem and then research and think through the solutions. By doing the groundwork needed to solve the issue, leadership has empowered their staff to be solution-based from the start. 

It’s yet another way that shows why focusing on the problem is the wrong route and improved outcomes happen by encouraging a solution-first approach.

Step Three: What is your most recommended solution, and why?

The final step in this problem-solving process is that the messenger must have a plan of action before bringing it to leadership. As the manager or CEO of a private practice, your time is valuable. Introducing the problem with potential solutions and delivering a recommended fix creates a far more agile team who are set up for success via the 1:3:1 process. 

At this point, provided the process is followed, it makes problem-solving more efficient on your end as a leader because the groundwork has already been laid out with potential alternatives.

Work Smart, Not Hard to Manage Private Practice Personnel

As you steer your physical therapy practice to success, consider utilizing Darren Hardy’s 1:3:1 formula in your decision-making and communication process. 

To learn other great keys to success in the private practice, enroll in our introductory leadership program for PT owners that provides the tools necessary to optimize your practice environment, operations, personnel and overall structure!

4 Keys to Practice Management Success

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