Little Decisions

Hard times are never over, trouble always comes
Still, I’m looking forward to tomorrow when it comes
(Paul Kelly: Little decisions)

About 3 months ago, we made the decision to close down one of our practices. Our vision was to have a presence in a growing area of the city where treatment options were limited. We felt that due to the demographics of young working families, with a high proportion coming to Australia from other parts of the world, that there was a need for a good evidence-based biopsychosocial-focused approach. The practice has been doing well. Client numbers were growing and we had two practitioners on-site and admin cover. We were making a profit. We knew when we started the practice that it was going to be a slow boil. The goal was to establish and grow the practice with the vision of a highly skilled multi-disciplinary team, colocated in a purpose-built location.

In the intervening three years, we had updated our other two practices with purpose-built facilities. A costly and time-consuming exercise. There are two of us leading the decisions and a practice manager who helps us with implementation. For any of you either running, starting, or growing a practice, you will know the time, work, and money that goes into these pursuits is immense.

Covid changed a lot of things for us. We had a run of resignations as a number of our staff, both clinical and admin, had spent time reflecting on what they wanted from their working lives. We had higher staff absences due to illness, with a requirement for staff to backfill and more burnout due to the insidious ever-present impacts of the virus. Not only the endless news cycle but also impacts on visiting family and friends and eagerly anticipated holidays. We went through several recruitment processes within one year and have spent many hours ensuring that we employ the right people, provide them with the mentoring and support that they deserve, and work on maintaining a tight and cohesive work culture in a time of a lot of change.

As we neared the time for consideration of our lease renewal, we thought about what had happened over the past year and how we were feeling. A lot of the time, we felt that we were chasing our tails. The seemingly endless change was having an impact on how we felt that we could stay true to our vision of helping people to “Discover What’s Possible”. We also knew that come the 2nd July, we would lose another of our experienced clinicians due to an overseas posting.

The time-consuming task of recruiting and upskilling the right person to replace her to be able to manage complex presentations was a little daunting. We value our team and it is important to us and to them that they are well supported. To recruit someone else and keep our third practice running would mean that we were continuing to spread ourselves too thinly. When we come back to the values that I talk about all of the time, it was a no-brainer. The quality of what we do is important to all of us. In order to stay true to our vision and values, we decided to forfeit future growth and increased profitability and close the third practice.

To be honest, my only concern was that to an external observer, they may have thought that we were not good enough or have what it takes to build a successful business, despite evidence to the contrary with our other practices. It did not take long for me to realise that what others might think is not important and that it should in no way influence our decision. It was important however for our brand that our messaging was right.

 I wrote a blog several months ago about Jaeger and Claire Richmond from Delish who had decided not to compromise on the quality of their product despite the efficiency guy telling them that they should cut out a step in the production line.

I see our decision as being somewhat similar to this. It is our “no compromise”. It was not a “Little Decision”. It was a big decision and right now there is no doubt that it was the best one! I will let you know how we go!

Dianna Howell MAPA MIML Certmgr July 2021

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