by Kevin Scudder February 04, 2013


While we all hope that we can duck and dodge the viruses and germs that come our way every season, it just is not possible to be of good health all the time.  Some days we wake up and find ourselves under the weather.  Our pulse may be racing, our throats are scratchy, our noses are running, and a fever lowers a curtain over our field of vision. 

Even though on such days we are far from our best, we know from experience that in the majority of cases, with some TLC, vitamins, rest, and fluids, we will shortly recover and feel better.

Can the same be said of our Practice Groups?  What is your practice group like when it is healthy?  What is your practice group like when it is ailing?  Most importantly, what do we do when our practice group is under the weather? 

Here are a few suggestion:

1.      Take the Temperature of the Practice Group

At a Practice Group meeting ask each member of the group to describe what they understand to be the purpose/goal of the group.  Take the answers and look at them under a microscope.  Do the answers peacefully coexist in the petri dish, or do they behave in such a way that coexistence is problematic?

2.      Your Session Starts Now . . . .

Underlying the overt expectations of practice group members are the covert expectations that go unstated, but which ultimately have a greater impact on the overall health of a Practice Group.  These covert expectations help to establish the norms of our Practice Groups.  It is ironic that as Collaborative Practitioners we are entrusted with facilitating discussions of covert expectations between the parties yet we find it oh so difficult to have those discussions with our own practice group members.  Pull out the couch, lie down, and start talking!  

3.      Band-Aids and Antiseptic Cream

When there is an elephant in the room people are going to get hurt; and it is hard to be effective when issues go unaddressed.  Does your Practice Group have a protocol or other procedure designed to address interpersonal conflict that arises between Practice Group members?  When is the last time amends were made between members at a Practice Group meeting?  Amends can be Band-Aids, and hugs antiseptic cream.

4.      Good Nutrition Leads To Good Health

Good nutrition starts with an understanding of what your body needs.  In a Practice Group setting one of the keys to good health is to clearly differentiate between the tasks related to the purpose (temperature) of the Practice Group and the maintenance required to accomplish those tasks.   Be intentional with setting agendas and the work done at Practice Group meetings. 

5.      A Prescription For Good Health

The body is weak.  Sometimes we cannot resist the thing that is not good for us.  The prescription for this is clearly defined and strong leadership.  Is the leader of your Practice Group exercising authority granted by the Practice Group after going through the steps listed above?  Is the leader proactive when the elephant enters the room?  Does the leader bring a thermometer to Practice Group meetings to take the temperature of the group and individuals?

It is time for a Practice Group Check-Up.  Let us know the results of your exam to allow all of us to learn from these shared experiences.

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