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Column | Leadership

I dare healthcare finance pros to get ‘unstuck’ in 2020

Column | Leadership

I dare healthcare finance pros to get ‘unstuck’ in 2020

Stuck is a word I frequently use when talking about my “Dare You to Move” theme. It goes straight to the heart of why we need to be dared in the first place.

It’s all too common for people to get stuck. It can happen to anyone, at any stage of their career, from an early careerist to the experienced and proven professional. The good news is that we can also get unstuck. I think there are two concepts that can get us out of stagnant waters into a free-flowing river.

The first concept is to understand behavioral science and the out-sized role behavioral tendencies play in how we make decisions. Our default setting is typically this: If we gain more knowledge and collect more information, we will make better decisions. I’d say more often we are educated beyond our obedience to act. We know what the facts tell us, but we don’t have the will or courage or preparation to act according to that knowledge.

Behavioral science and behavioral economics have many explanations for why we fall victim to our cognitive biases. The concept of framing, for example, teaches us that how we “frame” the facts will impact the decision. The endowment effect suggests we value what we possess more than something we don’t yet possess, even though what we possess is objectively less valuable. We use heuristics, or mental short-cuts, to quickly make decisions. The availability heuristic leads us to use the most easily obtainable information. The affect heuristic leads us to make decisions based on our emotions in the moment. These behavioral tendencies cause us to circle around the same situations making the same ineff ective decisions andgetting the same results we don’t want. In other words, we’re stuck.

Your call to action? Be aware of how cognitive bias plays a role in our decisions. I highly recommend reading The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis. It’s an intriguing book about two pioneer behavioral scientists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman.

The second concept is to reinvent yourself regularly, even when you don’t think you need to. The best thinkers and leaders are doing that intentionally and regularly. Develop the habit of challenging yourself and making yourself uncomfortable. Learn something new, put yourself in a new social circle or eliminate long-standing practices at work to allow light to shine on new and better ways.

HFMA is the ideal place to help you with all of this. It off ers a wide variety of opportunities to get unstuck, whether through volunteer leadership, writing an article or joining a community. The possibilities are endless. Let’s all resolve to keeping the river flowing in 2020!



About the Author

Michael M. Allen, FHFMA, CPA,

is CFO, OSF Healthcare in Peoria, Ill., and National Chair of HFMA for 2019-20.

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