Helping NHS GP Surgery Practice Managers Believe They Can Free Up An Hour A Day

One of the great things about being invited to speak to different companies, organisations and associations is that you get to appear on stage at some pretty amazing venues.

You also get to sample the delights of some very interesting and varied venues. In my career I have spoken at, amongst others, Aintree, the home of the Grand National (just last week!), The Barbican in London, Princess Royal Theatre Port Talbot, GMEx in Manchester, Olympia, A large theatre in Chennai in India, A former workhouse in Ireland, numerous smaller hotels and conference facilities, a castle, a library, many school halls and quite a few football grounds.

Today I had the privilege of presenting at St Mary’s Stadium, the home of Southampton Football Club.

My task was to engage, inform and entertain, 50 NHS Surgery Practice Managers for 90 minutes with the focus on showing them how they can release an hour a day by using some very simple strategies.

Now these people are extremely busy with tremendous drains on their time and energy and patience (excuse the pun). Being pushed and pulled by often conflicting demands from the practice patients, the GPs and the NHS (at the local Primary Care Trust level or the regional or national NHS levels).

The pressure on these people is huge, but they do like a good time and so my brief was “give them something that they can take away and use immediately AND give them a good time”.

So what did I do?

Well first of all the biggest challenge that many people face when looking to make progress in their personal and professional lives is the issue of belief. A belief is a feeling of certainty that something is true to you.

The extent to which you believe something will be the extent of its control over you, positive or negative. Now if you are in a busy, ever changing environment, constantly overwhelmed with paper work, conflicting demands and numerous challenges and problems (most of them with hair on top!) and some smart arse stands before you and says cheerfully, “I can help you free up an hour in your busy day” you are at best going to ignore him and at worst want to punch him in the mouth!

This is because with an existing frame of reference (or belief if you like) it is often a challenge to see how else things can be and even the mere suggestion that things might be different will often find people seeking out reasons (or possibly excuses) to justify their view of the world.

So that was the first challenge I had – to shift their belief that things could be different. In the short space of time I had that could be quite a challenge and so rather than meet that head on, I outflanked them by shaking the foundations of a firmly held belief about their memory.

Just about everyone in the audience, when asked, believed that they had a poor memory. Well 5 minutes later I showed them that this was a belief that probably was not true by demonstrating to them that with the right knowledge it is in fact very easy to remember something that 2 minutes earlier had seemed impossible.

With that in mind, for the rest of the session I shared with them some of the lessons I have learned over the last 20 years about how they can deal with information far more effectively, what stops people from being the best we can be and what to do about it, and how to cut through information to find the nuggets of what you really need saving them both time and effort AND more importantly giving them back control over their in-tray.

It was a great day and fortunately for me they were a lively, energetic and interactive group who really took on board the message and got fully involved in the interaction and participation. Ah, if only every group was like that…

And my closing message to them was “Just remember to Believe….” because at the beginning they thought they had a bad memory but I showed them that was not really true. So if that belief wasn’t strictly true, then perhaps there were other beliefs they had that might be holding them back from making progress in other areas of their lives that were not true….just a thought.

Now I had a great day because I had a really good audience, my client who put the seminar on was delighted and from the response from the audience both during and after, they seemed to have enjoyed it to. Certainly one audience member did and here is what he wrote to my client:

“Thank you for the fantastic seminar in Southampton yesterday, it was an extremely good day overall and I particularly got a lot from the day! I thought Michael Tipper was excellent and I certainly will remember his lecture, I think! I went to visit a friend at Southampton Hospital, she works in the ITU department, and passed on the memory skills from the session to her and also my wife when I got home. It was powerful and very useful in our very busy lives. I trust this has only taken you a milli-second to read! Many thanks for an excellent day.” NM Practice Manager