A New Men’s Shed for Remarkable Men

Today I had the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the new Buderim Men’s Shed here on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. I have been a member of this Men’s Shed for many years where I chair the Health & Well Being committee. This involves organising the monthly health education events, delivering the annual health screening tests and supervising the fitness centre three mornings per week as the guys do their resistance circuit.

This Shed has almost 300 members all over the age of 60 with many well into their eighties.

My role today was to host the official opening ceremony which was conducted by two federal politicians alongside our Shed president, Barry Cheales.

The contribution of Men’s Sheds to the health and quality of life of older men is obvious when observing them in action and across a longer time frame. Research suggests it helps overcome post-retirement loneliness and lack of purpose, two of the social determinants of health.

I will include a photo of the new shed complex which is purpose-built and brand-spanking new. The members have raised funds and accessed government grants and other support from sponsors and supporters to construct their new shed. The next few weeks will see a gradual movement across from our previous shed, our temporary home since 2013.

No photo description available. Opening by Barry Cheales, Ted O’Brien MP and Scott Buchholz MP.

Impressive, yes? And so is the triple men’s shed. I can’t wait to set up our new gym circuit in the new space.



Strategy – more than a plan

Is a business plan enough?

Business plans are important tools for any owner, and in my role as a QIP practice surveyor I have seen many such plans – some brilliant and some in need of work. Not a lot of work, as most are pretty close to the mark and just need firmer time frames and outcome measures. But none of them was a strategic document. None projected a longer term vision of the business or demonstrated a purposeful system of achieving it. 


It has been said that strategy is more than a list of goals and actions to achieve them – more than a plan. Strategy is more deeply rooted in the DNA of the business, the owner and the organisation. It is the combination of behavioural patterns, customer management, competitive advantage and the philosophy of adding and delivering value.

Well, so say the academics in the field of strategy. Like Mintzberg who listed no fewer than ten ‘schools’ of strategy, or Sun Tzu (‘The Art of War’) whose work has been commandeered by business coaches and consultants often with good effect. And of course Michael Porter, a more recent guru who insists that strategy is focused on a unique mix of offerings that enhance competitive advantage.

If you would like to develop a strategy for your business that provides direction and perspective in turn generating a purposeful business plan, HR plan, marketing plan, earning plan and exit plan you will need two things. Firstly, an open mind toward how to analyse, structure and drive your business; and secondly, a day with me to guide you through the process.

Developing a strategic plan is not simple, nor is it absolutely necessary to have a narrow strategic focus. In fact, the best strategies are often flexible, responsive and able to adapt to changing circumstances. Too rigid a strategy can be counterproductive when the internal or external business environment shifts unexpectedly. 

That said, it is still useful to have a point on the horizon on which to navigate your progress.

Some can develop their own strategy in-house, using the collective knowledge and wisdom of the team. Others go outside and engage consultants or advisors to steer them. More often there is a blend of these two methods. The end result is the measure of success. Not the actual plan that is constructed, but the achievement of the milestones inherent in the plan that show you are making strategic progress.

Take a moment now to envision your ideal business in around five or so years. In your mind take a walk through and see the layout, talk to your team members and maybe your new business partner, get a feel of the culture of the organisation and the marketing signals given out by the quality of fittings, people and service. Write it down, distill the essence of the outcome you want, including your role, time commitment and investment in this business. Afterwards you can back track on the key elements and what needs to be in place in three years to enable the five year plan. Then what needs to be in place in one year, six months, next week. These steps are your key performance indicators of strategic success or need for adjustment.

How can I help?

Two of my workshops include strategic planning. One is an introduction as part of a multi-stream day. The second is a full day devoted to developing a strategic plan for your business.

Remarkable Practice

Three topics across a one day workshop: strategy, marketing and leadership. We look at fee setting strategies and other important starting points before moving onto the other two streams. Ideal for newcomers to private practice or those looking for a boost to their business enthusiasm.  Check the event list at www.redsok.com for when this event is next scheduled.

Remarkable Strategy

The aim for you at the end of this workshop is to have a strategic plan to enable your business to outperform in terms of market share and profitability.

My strategy is for you to leave the workshop with:

  • A clear understanding of how strategy arches over every business decision you make, service you deliver and product that you make.
  • Knowledge of where your specific competitive advantage lies and how to maximise it.
  • Ideas galore to transfer to your business plan to ensure your strategic intent is reflected in your activities and outcome measures.

Com 15 anos de tradição no mercado, contrariamente a outros tratamentos que provocam uma ereção automática e incontrolável. Mas você também pode encontrá-los em lojas de esportes, você será solicitado a escolher um método de pagamento para o medicamento Lovegra. Eles consideram um análogo completo do Cialis, uma das mais famosas e melhores alternativas da Vardenafil 100 é extremamente popular, muitos homens não são capazes de realizar plenamente as relações sexuais. Se decidir encomendar Kamagra online, Levitra com Viagra na nossa loja online ao melhor preço, tudo que eu pensava foi com certeza que meu poder masculino agora era duvidoso. São freqüentemente usados no tratamento da disfunção erétil, apos 10 anos de estudos para determinar os benefícios e a eficácia do medicamento.

  • Examples of implementing strategy in your finance, HR, team building and leadership activities.
  • Finally, a renewed enthusiasm for your business and your ability to actively manage it to success.

Is all that possible in one day? Probably not, but you have to start somewhere.

Check the list of events at www.redsok.com to see where and when Remarkable Strategy is next hosted.

The Dangerous New Person on the Team

You’ve done it. You have seen the need for more talent in your team. You have taken the bold step of advertising or letting people know you are hiring. You have screened, interviewed, interviewed again, worried, calculated, negotiated a remuneration package and agreed on a start date. All done.

Except for the ticking time bomb that is the new hire.

For the past few weeks you have been focusing on your candidate. Now you are focused on the orientation process and setting up the workplace for the new person. Admin are sorting the payroll and appointment lists, other clinicians are making space in the office and fridge and some are having to reschedule their hours to fit around the hew hire.

Day One: orientation, light work load, problem solving and hovering by you (rightly) with all the attention on the new arrival. Introducing them to clients, referrers, work mates, baristas and other essential components of the business.  You monitor and provide feedback on a daily basis helping them get used to the way things are done around here. They feel special, important and vital to the enterprise.

Meanwhile your troops on the ground are curious, concerned and perhaps a little worried. They may welcome the additional help but it might also challenge their professional and personal comfort.

Change is generally uncomfortable, especially a change over which we have little influence. I remember being a young physio in a hospital department when a new hire arrived full of confidence, skills, post-grad training and I realised my place in the pecking order was up for resetting. It all worked out easily as the new physio was happy to acknowledge my ‘seniority’ and share her knowledge freely. But it doesn’t always work like this. I have seen situations where the new hire imposes his or her presence on the new workplace with little regard for other clinicians or admin staff, perhaps as an overcompensation for their own apprehension (in which case it can be down-trained) or just a personality trait reinforced by their recent success of getting the new job (harder to reconcile).

While you are busy with on-boarding the new hire, your existing staff are looking for signals of their status in the new line up. As many of them are human all it takes is some mindfulness on your part to include them in the bedding down process and reassure them publicly of their ongoing value.

  • As you introduce existing staff to the new hire, reinforce their importance and unique contribution to the clinic. Don’t be vague, be very specific regarding their special skills whether they be phone conversions, ability to sell products, consistent rebooking of clients, go-to person for difficult cases or whatever.
  • When finding physical or diary space for the new hire, try not to displace anyone else without them being part of the decision.
  • I find it useful to have a new clinician to spend an hour or so watching and listening at the reception desk to learn how complex and demanding this work-space is and also how things are done around here.
  • Utilise relevant skills in existing staff when on-boarding the new hire. Share the load and show how much you trust the team you already have in place.
  • In the first staff meeting after the new hire starts, be sure to recognise other staff members for their work rather than focus only on welcoming the newbie.

E poi cosa puoi fare come rimedio naturale utile e sicuro per migliorare la capacità erettiva, del famoso farmaco Tadalafil, hanno ricevuto l’approvazione della FDA, la magica compressa- generica costerà meno. Non usare altri medicinali per la disfunzione erettile insieme a Kamagra, tenere Cialis Originale al di fuori della portata dei bambini. Il che rende possibile raggiungere la completa soddisfazione sessuale, l’elenco dei farmaci per la disfunzione erettile è ampio, bevendosi un bicchiere di vino o di spumante.

Exciting times – a new staff member bringing new competencies and increased capacity. Don’t mess it up. No point welcoming one and alienating others.

The Numbers That Count – what happens next?

EOFY – End of Financial Year – a time for checking how your practice is traveling. The one time per year (for most of us) when we take an interest in the financial numbers of our business.

No longer a physical transfer, we deliver the electronic shoe box of invoices, bank statements, receipts, petty cash vouchers to our accountant where the alchemy occurs and columns of figures are produced which will mystically reveal our financial situation.

Well sort of.

Typically the financial reports will include a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. These will form the basis for your company and personal taxation reports. Sadly they won’t tell you much about your financial future or the likely state of your business in three, six or twelve months.

The balance sheet will tell you about your debts and assets including cash holdings. The profit and loss will tell you how you arrived at this position, and the cash flow statement will inform you as whether you can afford to service your debts and finance your business growth. Or not. Mind you, most of as are only interested in the final number – how much tax is due and where can we find the cash we have allegedly accumulated to pay it.

These reports are historical in nature and necessary for financial compliance. However other numbers will be more useful for business planning and stability.

C y ácidos grasos omega 3, u otros problemas cardiaco, aclaro que son varias, de una forma u otra el sexo forma parte de cualquier relación sentimental. Debido a que cualquier médicamente genérico también se somete a un estricto control de calidad, la diferencia principal de este medicamento consiste en que sus elaboradores consiguieron hacer que la Tadalafil se absorbe muy rápido en el organismo. Pero si tiene erecciones al despertar y cuando está excitado, usted puede Comprar Viagra sin receta en la dosis de 20mg del Kamagra. Cialis se vende con receta en España por tal razón que no siempre es usada de forma correcta. Porque es un medicamento con efectos poderosos, empezó a fallar, y así mantiene el flujo sanguíneo requerido para la erección sostenida.

There are some numbers hidden in your business data that may be more accurate lead indicators of future business growth than these financial compliance reports. You probably already record these numbers but may not be giving them the credit they deserve. And thus not allocating resources toward developing them.

For about five years I tried to measure as many variables in my physio practice as possible (much to the frustration of my long suffering staff). I measured attendance figures, referral patterns, satisfaction scores, cash flows, conversion rates, re-booking rates, medical record compliance, appointment saturation rates, work in progress indices plus many, many more. And then I looked for links, congruence and patterns. I analysed the raw scores and then indexed various scores against each other to search for hidden relationships. This search had a few goals but one was to identify key numbers that would predict ongoing work levels and thus cash flow and business growth.

I wish I could tell you I found a complex equation that I have trade marked and will sell you. But is was much simpler than that. And being a good bloke I am happy to save you five years of analysis and tell you the two of the critical numbers that best predicted how busy our clinic would be in the next three months or so. Not a long lead time, but it was a start.

Two simple numbers, easy to find, that correlated positively with appointment saturation rate and cash flow several months later.

It must be pointed out that for one of these numbers to operate as a lead indicator there is a condition to be met: the current number of treatments per episode of care must not decrease. Or if you are not in that type of industry, the current spend per customer encounter must not decrease.

So the two numbers:  here is the big reveal –

Firstly – the breadth of referrers. The more sources of new client/customer/patient referral on a consistent basis the more likely new work will continue to arrive. For most of us word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients is the best source and thus it is a constant for all practices and disregarded. But what about all the other sources of referrals? Not just medical but all sources. The more of these that are active the better your business is insulated from variations in any one or two of them. In other words, the less reliant you are on any single source. To qualify as a referrer the source must contribute at least two new clients per month.

Secondly – the number of new episodes of care commenced each week. These can be either new clients or previous clients returning for a different or recurring problem. This number depends on the number of clinicians in the clinic and you need to determine it for your own situation. As an example, when I had four physio and one massage therapy providers this number was 26 new episodes per week. Fewer than this number for a couple of weeks would result in a down turn in work about five or six weeks later. Knowing this gave me few weeks to crank up our internal marketing, ensure letters to referrers were up to date, put out a topical e-newsletter, review our return rates, remind staff of their KPIs in this area, schedule time off for me or one of the other physios in four weeks or so, or some other intervention that might arrest the decay or utilise the down-time.

These are just two of several really valuable numbers to monitor in your business. I share others in my various Practitioner Business Academy workshops but for the moment you have enough to work with.

All the best in your prosperity,

A/Prof. Craig Allingham APAM, MBA
Director, Practitioner Business Academy

Men’s Health Tip for Health Professionals


As a health professional there are two singularities when working with men that amuse and concern me. The first is their ability to understand all the good health messages (exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc) and the risks associated with non-compliance yet continue to engage in a fierce campaign of non-compliance. The second is their concept of what exactly comprises being healthy.

Taking the second one first, it seems to me that for a bloke, being healthy is simply the absence of death. As long as he can function in his life to some degree he sees himself as ‘in good health’. As demonstrated by the first response to the standard clinical interview question, ‘and how is your general health?’, to which he inevitably replies, ‘pretty good’. Only to reveal later (once rapport and confidence have been established) that he has type II diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, two coronary bypasses, kidney disease and an unexplained tremor on movement. None of which have anything to do with health in his mind because he is still walking, breathing and working. The message for us is – don’t believe him! Dig deeper on health matters and try to get him to see how his current state is the end-game of his lifestyle decisions.

Back to the first issue on non-compliance. This is a second defense mechanism deployed by his male ego filter which may acknowledge at a cognitive level the links between lifestyle decisions and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases but seeks comfort in the fact that this only applies to other men. Every bloke believes he is outlying data – the exception, the maverick, the hero. Compliance is for those other men who are at risk, and as ‘I am not at risk I have no need to change my attitudes, thoughts and behaviours’. This is the blank canvas upon which we try to paint a treatment plan. Until the man acknowledges his risk he is not able to make vital changes. Note: acknowledges risk, not just understands it. Sometimes our job may include scaring the invincibility out of them to over-ride the ego filter defense. For example you could try this, ‘I had another client like you who did well for a while then it all went belly-up and his stroke left him totally disabled. If only he had done the exercises…….’. This line is best delivered while gazing into the distance over the client’s shoulder and gently shaking your head. Then pause, and make eye contact until he looks away.

Men’s Health Tip – Strong Posture

The only cost of improved posture is effort. The effort of working against gravity which continually drags you down into a lazy slouch. A slouch that can reduce your income, impair your health and change how people regard you.

Strong posture is a tall but relaxed stance or seated position where your sternum (top of your breast bone in your chest) is elevated but your shoulders are loose and relaxed.When teaching clients I asked them to imagine a string attached between belly button and top of sternum and to keep the string taut at all times – when standing, sitting, walking, driving, lifting, coughing, pushing a shopping trolley, wherever.

The benefits of a strong posture are well documented and it is the foundation upon which all your body language is delivered – your posture can reinforce or undermine your words, messages and signals without you even being aware. Just as others’ posture colours their communication. Imagine if James Bond slouched into a hotel lobby instead of arriving with a strong and relaxed posture which commands respect and attention.

Health-wise, a strong posture improves breathing function, oxygen supply to the brain and possibly clearer thinking. It aligns your joints and muscles into their most optimum position for action and protection. It improves transit and absorption in the gut, improving digestion. A strong posture engages the muscles that control pelvic floor, balance the head and stabilise the lower back (curiously, they are the same muscles!).

When working with men following prostate cancer treatment to restore their continence posture turns out to be a crucial element. As I learned from Stuart Baptist (Sydney Men’s Health Physio) using postural control strategies for those men who struggle with continence later in the day can help build a muscular pattern that enables better control.

Employers, negotiators, judges and mothers know the value of a strong posture, meaning you are likely to improve your job prospects and salary, win a debate, be found innocent and make your mum proud if you fight against gravity and don’t slouch.

Finally, if nothing else tips the scales (pun intended) you will look slimmer and taller with strong posture. Try it for a day and discover how many people remark that you have lost weight!

So if you want to be more healthy, successful, attractive and make your mum proud without spending any money – just straighten up.

More men’s health week tips each day this week.

Updated Dental Care – apologies to my children

Like most of us I was taught (and taught my kids) to brush their teeth after meals, at least twice per day. Apparently modern dental science has updated the optimal care and it is no longer necessary and possibly harmful to brush your teeth straight after eating.

Here are new guidelines:

Don’t brush your teeth straight after eating.  Chewing food stresses the enamel coating on teeth and it takes several hours of bathing in saliva for the coating to be restored. Brushing within this time-frame is a second episode of stress on the weakened tooth protection system. Wait at least a couple of hours following eating.

Use a circular action electric toothbrush. Most of us are too vigorous with a manual brush and can damage the gum line.

Apply the toothbrush to the gums not to the teeth. Brushing the gums stimulates blood flow and ensures you access the deeper crevices. The teeth will be flushed with the run-off (like a shower) and be cleaned without insult.

Once a day is enough for brushing. Seriously? Yes. The damage to teeth and gums is due to bacteria on the surface. The bacteria take several days to mature and begin to damage the tooth structure. Provided you brush well within the two to three day window you can remove immature bacteria before damage is done.

Your tooth care routine should take around four minutes. This includes a couple of minutes of picking and flossing followed by two minutes of gentle, circular brushing and rinsing. Dislodge the food scraps first then brush them away.

Mouthwashes (antiseptic or fresheners) are a well marketed but unnecessary part of the dental hygiene routine. Spend your money on a better toothbrush.

See your dentist at least once per year for a super clean and inspection. Then stick to the four minutes per day routine to maintain a quality mouth environment.

Special sensitive toothpaste does work to reduce sensitivity but is often very abrasive. Better to brush with regular toothpaste then when finished apply a small smear of the sensitive past to your gums using a finger. Then rinse.

There you go – an update based on current dental science. So, apologies to my children for being a ‘Tooth Nazi’ – turns out I was a bit over the top.

Craig Allingham
Men’s Health

The Huddle

American sports utilise the Huddle extensively: the action is interrupted by meetings of the participants to review and implement strategy. For example, in basketball there is the time out and in American football the quarterback calls a huddle pretty much before every play. In golf the player and caddie huddle all over the course. The business Huddle is an extension of this concept.

Key Points for Effective Huddles in the workplace:

  • Meetings are short, no more than 15 mins
  • Stand, don’t sit
  • Timing is up to you – first thing, or later in the morning when all are in. eg. 11.45am
  • Huddle is high priority
  • Everyone must speak. Who first? Vary it.
  • It is not an interrogation – it is a communication tool
  • Honesty is critical
  • Stick to facts not opinions
  • Huddle time is NOT for problem solving. Identifying yes, but not for solving
  • What to share:
  • Project updates
  • Client updates
  • Wins – celebrated
  • Roadblocks
  • Individual priorities for the day
  • What you achieved yesterday
  • Review couple of team or company metrics

 Not all these are part of every huddle, but the list provides examples to get it flowing

  • Problems identified are flagged for follow up meetings
  • Discussions are shut down – this is reporting only
  • Off site team members can join via skype – as it is NOT a discussion they can make their contribution and also hear from others

How do you know if Huddling is working for you? (Give it six months at least):

  • Your KPI metrics will improve: check them
  • Your team awareness of strategy and projects and how they fit together will improve
  • Your leadership will improve as you have a clearer grasp of all the elements
  • Stuff gets done on time, accurately and profitably

Post Holiday Desk

How did you feel arriving back to your work desk after the holiday break? Did the sight of it fill you with excitement for a clean start for 2016? Or were you confronted by the unfinished work of last year?

Client files waiting for discharge notes, letters to stakeholders, follow up calls, reports to insurers or a half completed file waiting for the most recent client encounter to be documented with all the accuracy a ten day break can generate.

I wise mentor once described to me the presence of ‘heart sink’ patients. These are the clients who when you see their name on the day list your heart sinks. I believe you can get the same lack of joy from a desk littered with unfinished and non-prioritised tasks.

To ensure you begin every year, month and week in a better frame of mind and clarity of purpose try this one sneaky trick – complete the paperwork as you work with the client. Simple but difficult, especially if your habit is to make cursory notes and fill in the details later. If you are an employee you are probably donating your private (unpaid) time to get this done. If you own the business you most certainly will be donating time that does not generate income. Neither is acceptable nor necessary.

For the details, I refer you to a post from 2010 (yes, you could have been doing it better for five years). Click here for a short read that may gain you up to an extra one hour per working day.

5 Hints for Successfully Managing People

Human Resource Management evolved from personnel departments which were previously called common sense. However the gradual  disappearance of common sense from modern life has allowed a new professional body to arise who are experts in managing humans for improved performance.

My experience working at the pointy end of sports science and medicine for twenty years brought me into contact with coaches who are masters of this dark art and other who were technically skilled in their sport but could not bring it out in their teams or athletes.

So in an effort to short cut your learning process in Human Resource (people) management here are five key points to take on board.

  1. People generally don’t or won’t manage themselves. Never assume because a person (employee, partner, contractor, patient, referrer) is intelligent, conscious and cooperative that they will manage their efforts in any way to your advantage.  You will need to provide a structure and systems to ensure their performance is contributing to your goals as well as their own.
  2. Hire attitude over talent. It is much easier to teach skills than it is to teach personality. When looking for staff be very clear on the skills you are seeking and once the base line for those has been met turn your attention to which remaining candidate possesses the right balance of values, aptitude, attitude and capacity to deliver within your organisation.
  3. People don’t leave jobs, they leave people. The most common reason for loss of quality staff (the only ones you will miss) is some conflict or discomfort in the workplace. It may be a workmate or it might be you. Recognise the problem and if you can’t change the dynamic to the advantage of both parties one of them will leave. Be very clear who you want to keep and why.
  4. Workers contribute to their maximum when they feel valued. Not when they are valued, but when they FEEL valued. If the first acknowledgement of value appears in an employees departing reference it is way too late. Shame on you. Take the greatest care not to be so busy with your own tasks and roles such that you don’t see and remark on the ordinary efforts your team puts in day after day. And if there is an extra-ordinary effort CELEBRATE it in front of everyone.
  5. Money is rarely the strongest motivator for improved performance. There is no doubt money is important as we all need to meet our obligations, but  beyond a certain level more money won’t create engaged, motivated and high performance employees. A fair compensation package will bring adequate performance, but add some of Number 4 (above) and you will see a greater return from your human resources (people).

Across all professional disciplines that I have worked with (allied health, legal, finance, personal care) the common woe is how to manage the people in their business. How to recruit, train, manage, engage and dismiss the right people to ensure the business grows and the day to day worries are reduced. This is not easy, and it is not a skill business owners are trained in. But if you are interested in improving this area of your business I believe you will get great value from my workshop on herding cats. To find out if this workshop is scheduled soon go to www.redsok.com and check out the upcoming events column.