Two months ago, I conducted a full day retreat for six OB/GYN doctors in Greensboro. One of the doctors said, “It’s time we make some important decisions.” When you are constantly working IN the business, it’s critical to take time to work ON the business The dynamics of the practice have changed in the last few years including the addition of four new providers, two providers transitioning to part time and another provider wants to transition to part time in the next two years. There was a lack of communication, leadership, ownership and even worse.

Inertia had set in among the majority of doctors. The definition of in-er-tia is a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. The last time the doctors invested time for a business retreat was close to 8 years ago when I facilitated a ½ day retreat to help them address communication issues, build better teamwork and improve leadership. To customize this year’s retreat I sent a questionnaire to each provider. Only two people returned it to me prior to the program. The session began with an inspirational opening on change and the agenda was reviewed, then I asked this question, “What impression do you think it sent to me that only two providers returned the questionnaire to me before our event today?”

I smiled and then looked around the table and embraced the awkward silence. One person said, “That we didn’t care.” I nodded my head up and down in a yes motion. And said, “What else?” “That we were too busy.” “That we didn’t think it was important.” I continued to nod my head in a yes motion. Then the ‘aha’ moment happened. One of the providers said, “Inertia has set in.” I asked, “Why has inertia set in?” The doctor continued to share that whenever ideas were presented at meetings she was either told they would not work, they have been tried before and were unsuccessful or that their ideas were stupid.

If organizations want to demotivate their team, just keep adopting the red light thinking mentality of looking at all the negatives in a situation before exploring the possibilities. Yes, it’s important to weigh the positives AND negatives, and if leaders never move forward on ideas, continually criticize colleagues or have bad attitudes – this all creates inertia. People will check out. It’s what HR professionals refer to as employee engagement. What needed to transform, was their ability to take action. The definition of ac-tion is the fact or process doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

I was super proud of the group for creating a set of core values that each one commitment to focus on moving forward. I asked each person to write down their top 3 core values that they wanted to see as a priority moving forward in the practice, in how they interacted with one another, the team and the patients. I also shared that whatever they wrote down had to be something they believed in the heart and mind if they wanted to REALLY follow through on their core values. Then a master list was created and voted on.


Good Listener
Good Communicator

This list is framed with their logo in the board room and we reviewed the list before each provider meeting. I also printed a copy for each of them to have posted in their individual offices. Here’s the deal. You can create a list of core values for yourself, your team or your family. When you involve others in decisions, people feel important and valued. It’s all about being a catalyst for change.