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Developing a federated model of General Practice: Feedback is a gift

"Making a decision usually means taking one of two roads. One is doing the right thing. To take the other road, you have to sit back and spin a story around the decision or action you are taking. If you find yourself thinking up an elaborate justification for what you are doing, you are not doing the right thing."
Wayne Sales former Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Tire Corp Ltd.

On leaving my hotel this morning I was asked if everything had been okay and was there anything I would change? What a fantastic question - I only wish it was applied day to day in life and people really worked to deliver the changes they are tasked with delivering.

This set me thinking about the federations we support and work with, and I recalled that every day in life people are presented with the opportunity to provide feedback, and yet in the vast majority of cases they avoid doing that.  Whether people receive good or poor service they invariably avoid the challenge of giving feedback, more so when the feedback is going to be negative.

I see many occasions when rather than give direct feedback people develop convoluted ways to avoid doing that, and end up in a worse situation or position than they ever would have found themselves had they simply given feedback.

This should not and indeed does not need to be the case. Feedback is one way to let people know how they are doing with the task they have been set, and of course any impact (positive or negative) they are having on you. Feedback provides an opportunity for people to learn, an opportunity to change for the better and an opportunity to develop.

Keep in mind that perception is your own reality. While this doesn't mean you are right or wrong, until something comes along to change your perception it will remain as your reality. 

There are two sides to feedback - giving it, and receiving it, and for some neither one is easier than the other. For me the key is that individually people work to develop the skills required to give and receive feedback, without it being viewed as an opportunity to give or receive criticism.

If you stop for a second and consider, nobody objects to positive feedback; however, hearing nothing but praise isn't going to help people develop further.  The key is therefore developing skills around giving and receiving feedback when you are imparting information that will allow people to learn, develop and change. Better still, develop your own desire to receive feedback, seek out the feedback and then act upon what you hear, both good and not so good feedback. Allow yourself the opportunity to grow and become even more effective in what you are doing. 

As your federation develops and starts to deliver services, would you be prepared to ask of each patient you provided a service to - has everything been as you expected and is there anything you would have us change?

The key of course is if you are not prepared to act on their feedback there is no point in asking the question. While some people will raise issues you cannot change (where you should provide feedback to that effect), some will come up with ideas you could implement, possibly further enhancing patient outcomes and experience.

This is not rocket science; however, it is easily implemented and will provide an excellent platform from which a new federation can build a very different way of working, where feedback is viewed as a gift and then acted upon - which is all anyone who provides feedback is hoping for.  

Next time we will explore the board role in communicating with Member Practices to keep them fully engaged with the board, and of course providing feedback to you.

For more information on how BW Medical Accountants can support you in forming a federation, or to arrange to speak to one of our experts please contact or call 0191 653 1022.

Additionally, if you should have questions for us, please email and we will do our best to answer these within the blog.

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