Knowledge Expansion

MGMA19 Session Spotlight: Brian Donnelly on the 6 key components of your healthcare business

Insight Article

Leadership Development

Chris Harrop
Brian Donnelly, MBA, CMPE, professional EOS implementer with Momentum Solutions LLC, has spent 35 years managing medical practices of all sizes, between 20 years in private practices and another 15 in practices owned by a hospital system.

“My first group was three [doctors], last one was 153 — $2 million to $200 million,” Donnelly notes. He’s also worked as a partner in a management company, which means he’s held any number of titles.

“Chief administrative officer, chief operating officer, chief executive officer, chief strategy officer,” Donnelly went through the list. “Through all of it, what motivates me is helping leaders gain clarity and cohesiveness.”

Donnelly says that his upcoming session, “Strengthening the Six Key Components of Your Business,” Tuesday, Oct. 15, at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference is about sharing a set of tools he’s developed across those 35 years of experience with his colleagues and brethren running medical practices. “What excites me here is the opportunity to elevate the standard of leadership in local groups,” Donnelly says.

From idea disaster to delivering success

Donnelly is fond of one phrase in particular: the “tsunami of potentially useful ideas,” which most healthcare group leaders will encounter in confronting the myriad areas of concern in day-to-day operations.

“I was overwhelmed by the tsunami of possible useful ideas for years, and I had to say, ‘Stop — enough is enough,’” Donnelly recalls about his own experiences.

“Healthcare is a place where we respond to crisis, whether we're clinical or administrative,” and it creates the mindset of being heroes, Donnelly says, which can become counterproductive. “The administrative team needs to stop trying to boil the ocean. When everything's important, nothing is.”

Mythbusting: Culling an impossibly long list

Donnelly cautions practice leaders against thinking they have 1,000 top priorities. “You might think you do,” he says. “Less is more — do less, better; you will go further, faster.” The mindset of leadership teams with long, undoable lists ultimately drives a lack of success, he says.

The solution? “Get the leadership team together and get them to really dig in, lean into the work and identify the three to seven top goals for the next 12 months,” Donnelly contends. Using short-term goals to understand what needs to be done in the next 90 days to stay on track with those focused goals can then lead to development of weekly monitoring of progress on those 90-day goals.

“I need you to choose three to seven top priorities for the next 12 months, not 37,” Donnelly says. “If you can be disciplined, focused and accountable for pushing those three to seven goals over the finish line in these next 12 months, you will have accomplished more in these next 12 months.”

A message for practice leaders

During his session in New Orleans, Donnelly plans to emphasize six key components for practice leaders to focus on: vision, people, data, issues, process and traction. These involve getting everybody on the same page with where you’re taking the organization (vision), how to execute on that vision (traction) and doing it all with trust in the leadership team.

Donnelly acknowledges this “less is more” mindset is difficult for some people to embrace in an industry where multitasking is not merely the norm but considered essential.

“It's counterintuitive,” Donnelly concedes. “Leaders and leadership teams think they have to have 27, 30, 45 top priorities to accomplish in the next 12 months — you will not accomplish them.

“The primary message I want it to deliver to folks is I want you to do less, better,” he says. “When you do, you will go further, faster.”

Learn more

  • MGMA19 | The Annual Conference is packed with sessions to spark your curiosity and rekindle your commitment to leading in healthcare. Register today.
  • For more information about speakers and sessions you won't want to miss, read The Fuse, the Annual Conference blog.


About the Author

Chris Harrop
Chris Harrop
Senior Editorial Manager MGMA

Chris Harrop is senior editorial manager for Medical Group Management Association. In this role, he serves as editor of MGMA's flagship print publication, MGMA Connection magazine, and oversees the publications team that produces the MGMA Member newsletter, Executive View, Student newsletter. Prior to joining MGMA, Chris was managing editor of multiple community news organizations in the Denver metropolitan area. Email Chris Harrop.