Evening Sessions #9: ‘Analysis is Paralysis!’

When was the last time you an idea? A master plan? A eureka moment?

Maybe it was a dream, or a revelation whilst in the middle of a board meeting. Maybe you woke up in the middle of the night or were out with friends.

Did you research it, analyse it, Google it, PubMed it? Turn it into pretty charts and graphs? Discuss it with your wife, your friends, your colleagues even your boss?

After all that, did you go ahead with it?


Then it didn’t happen.

You see management theories, tools, techniques and science are great fun. You can never stop analysing and presenting but all of it is meaningless with out action.

My favourite analogy is that of when samurais duel. They would circle each other for an inordinate amount of time but once they had made a decision they would strike immediately and with devastating, often spectacular, results.

Now you might not be a samurai but you get the idea.

Next time you have an idea. Don’t hesitate. Don’t procrastinate. Think about it and then in the immortal words of Nike:

‘Just do it!’

Dr Saif Abed

CEO and Co-Founder

Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd


If you are enjoying this blog series, feel free to share it with friends & colleagues!


Evening Sessions #8: The ‘Ten Cs’ of Employee Engagement

Do you love your job?

You can tell me, I won’t tell your boss…I promise.

Or maybe you’re now the boss, do your employees love working for you? You really think so?

Actually, let’s look at it a bit differently, when was the last time one of your employees had an idea that led to a breakthrough? Did you have to ask or did they just tell you?

Seriously, I can’t tell you the number of times employees are asked for their ideas and none are ever explored or taken forward and then the top brass wonder why their employees aren’t feeling engaged and overtly loyal to their companies.

I might consult about strategy but I know that a strategy is all talk until it’s put into action and no matter how great you are you’ll need a team. So today I present to you a model by a pair of gifted academics Dan Crim and Gerard Sejits called The Ten C’s of Employee Engagement. So here goes:

Connect – show you care, talk to your employees and develop the rapport

Convey – be very clear about your expectations, have high standards but make sure they’re achievable

Contribute – don’t just listen, demonstrate that employee input can lead to significant change

Control – let them have some, they’ll feel ownership over their work and your company’s fate, empowerment = spectacular results

Career – create a dynamic, ever changing range of work that leads to personal and professional development

Clarity – you have a strategy, develop it and talk about it clearly with your employees

Collaborate – turn one empowered employee into a team of like minded, driven employees and watch the results

Confidence – You’ve got it in the way you work, share it

Credibility –  With confidence comes pride through maintaining an image and reputation which your employees reflect

Congratulate – Acknowledge success, create reward, you’d be surprised how far even a few words go

It may look like a lot but it’s a surprisingly simple and common sense set of steps. I’ve felt a need for at least some of these when I’ve worked as an employee and now I pledge to empower my employees out of respect but also because it perpetuates a cycle of success for my team.




Dr Saif Abed

CEO and Co-Founder

Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd


If you are enjoying this blog series, feel free to share it with friends & colleagues!

Evening Sessions #7: The Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model

“How do I motivate my employees to meet our objectives and goals?”

“What’s the best way to get my team to buy into my new new [insert project X or strategy Y here]”

I bet you’ve seen those questions plenty of times on websites such as Linkedin. I know I have and every single time my answer is simple.

You need to give your employees an interest and role in the creation of your corporate objectives and strategies. You need your employees to have a sense of ownership of your new project so that they can become self-motivated to go beyond the call of duty for the best interests of your company.

Easy enough to say but how do we do it?

A model I came across a few years back was The Drexler-Sibbet Team Performance Model created by Alan Drexler and David Sibbet of a consulting firm called The Grove.

It’s a seven stage model that teams go through to create the effects and sense of purpose that I have mentioned. If applied correctly it won’t just unite a team towards a purpose but also sustain it. How does it work?

The Development Phase

Step 1 – Orientation – Defining why the team exists, what our common goal is. (Why am I here?)

Step 2 – Trust Building – The team gets to know each other directly, building respect. (Who are you?)

Step 3 – Goal clarification – Exactly what it says! (What are we doing?)

The Performance Phase

Step 4 – Commitment – You know what you want to do and now you decide how to do it.

Step 5 – Implementation – Specific roles and execution. (Who does what, when and where?)

Step 6 – High Performance – Achieving results, acknowledge them (Wow!)

Step 7 – Renewal – Reviewing results, evaluate, sustain and move on. (Why continue?)

Now models are great on paper but applying them is often easier said than done but with this particular model I believe it can bring a sense of structure to chaotic environments such as the healthcare sector. The healthcare sector is undergoing massive investment often without much forethought. Hospitals, public sector organisations and private institutions are undertaking sizeable financial and objective responsibilities.

Creating a well defined and self-sustaining structure if applied in an adaptive and flexible manner can create the right corporate ethos to actually achieve the goals that many project managers set out to achieve.

Does structure promote action? I think so.

Dr Saif Abed

CEO and Co-Founder

Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd


Evening Sessions #6: Culture Clash! Business in the Middle East

Let’s get personal.

For the majority of my life I was raised in Great Britain, I went to school, studied medicine and then management all in some of the finest institutions in the country. I developed a dry, sarcastic sense of humour and a stiff upper lip. I listened to Oasis (don’t judge me) and I went on holiday to the Lake District.


My parents are Iraqi. I love arabic food and I speak arabic fluently.

So it makes sense that I would try to explore both healthcare and business opportunities in the Middle East at some point. If only it was that simple! I thought that my theoretical and practical experiences would be enough, in fact, entitle me to a myriad of successes.

What I needed to realise was that just speaking the language, telling some jokes and enjoying the food are not enough to get by in a foreign land. To truly know your market you have to understand the psychology of that culture. I don’t just mean business intricacies but personal foibles and characteristics.

When you meet a client you make assumptions. You’ve researched their business, their achievements and you make an estimate of what you think are their ambitions and objectives. You tailor yourself accordingly to make sure that you give an accurate representation of yourself so that you can develop a partnership that will succeed for the both of you.

But really, you are making those judgements based on your own personally held beliefs and experiences which may be similar to someone from a similar local market (no guarantees even then!) but when entering a profoundly new international market its a different ball game.

So what do you do?

There’s no easy solution but if you want to go global you have to take the time to immerse yourself in your target market’s culture. Join the people, visit and live in the land, enjoy the food but ultimately observe their motivational factors. Talk to the people to enrich yourself and your understanding of how they approach business.

I’m in the midst of a gradual re-acclimatisation to the culture of the middle east and having spent time making frequent visits there I now feel I’ve adapted. I understand people’s motivations, their inclinations and what tools and methods will be acceptable. More importantly, I’ve learned how to package my ideas and consultations so that their true potential is visible.

This was never going to be a how-to guide. It’s a lesson based on my experiences to never make any assumptions. Life can be an adventure and going global is one part of it.

Broaden your horizons and take your business with you.

Now go forth!

Dr Saif Abed

CEO and Co-Founder

Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd


Evening Sessions #5: Blue Ocean Strategy

Why’s your business better than any of your competitors?

You’ve got 30 seconds to give me three good reasons.

Don’t worry, I’ll get a coffee or something while you do that.


All done?

Did you perhaps say price, quality or value for money? If you did I’m sorry to say those are probably the same reasons your competitors across the street gave.

One of my favourite strategic theories is that of the Blue Ocean. It goes that most businesses are battling to be better than each other over the same selling points. They’re actually trying to outgun each other and it’s a bloodbath! They’re in a red ocean and it ain’t pretty.

How about we change up the rules of the game? Create your own market where you’re the alpha male where if everyone else wants to join the party then they’ll have to play by your rules. It’s a blue ocean and there’s no one battling you. If you get it right everyone will come flocking to have a bit of what you’re selling.

Focus, divergence and a simple, compelling tag line is all it takes to get started according to the innovators of blue ocean strategy. Sure, there are some tools to get you on your way but I’ll get round to those in my next blog.

Innovation has to start somewhere and sometimes all it takes is a change of mindset.

A bit of lateral thinking.

That old Chestnut.

Dr Saif Abed
CEO and Co-Founder
Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd


Evening Sessions #4: People aren’t Cogs, they’re People!

When did we forget that people aren’t cogs?

We’re not in a big machine.

You’re not a general.

And this isn’t one giant, messy, bloody battlefield!

If I had a penny for every time someone told me I was a cog in a giant machine then I would be a depressed billionaire (because billion is the new million, apparently). No wonder employees across the world become demotivated and demoralised but some of the most exciting and innovative firms often have the happiest employees.

For this reason, today I’m going to talk about two employee relationship theories called Theory X and Theory Y (there’s a Z too!).

In a Theory X workplace bosses think their employees hate being there, they’re only working there to pay their bills, aren’t motivated and won’t stay their a second longer than they have to. To get anywhere, you need an authoritarian approach where you as the boss know best and you decide what needs to be done and you make sure it happens.

In a Theory Y workplace its the contrary, in fact you believe your employees care about their work and the success of themselves and their firm. In fact given some free reign, they’ll have the ability to be creative and make some of their own decisions, they can be given responsibility!

Creating an environment of trust within your office will empower your employees and allow creative ideas and suggestions to flow. You will entrench the company’s interests into each of your employees by demonstrating belief in their abilities and in their motivations.

So often healthcare institutions, whether its at the management or clinical level operate, as Theory X organisations and that may be necessary to an extent due to the stakes at play. However, a bit of the other from time to time might drive doctors and nurses to take leadership and innovation themselves to new and greater levels.

A leader isn’t told they’re a leader, they just take the lead through action.

Dr Saif Abed

CEO and Co-Founder

Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd


Evening Sessions #3: Keiretsu

So today I’m going to introduce one of the first Japanese strategic concepts I ever encountered.


Now we all the know that there’s a range of Japanese management techniques which have been marketed to within an inch of their lives, namely Six Sigma and Lean. There’s such an endless list of firms promising to revolutionise your firms’ productivity and efficiency that it’s easy to become a little cynical.

Instead of exploring these methods I have decided to look at philosophical concepts that are very much unique to Japanese corporate cultures.


Let’s get a move on.

Keiretsu are groups of firms which in the strictest sense hold stakes in each other and operate as a group sharing research, competitive strategies and protecting each other from foreign firms (chiefly from takeovers). They normally have a bank at their centre which ensure their is liquidity available for group projects. Their cartel like function have through the years heavily influenced the abilities of foreign firms to enter the Japanese markets creating a profitable control of the market for Japanese firms.

Leading firms involved in Keiretsu include Mitsubishi, Sony, Asahi, Mazda, Yamaha and Sapporo.

How does this apply to healthcare?

In an ever competitive environment where trusts are increasingly expected to run their own budgets and prove their excellence by hitting government targets with ever diminishing resources, we require new strategies to keep moving forward. I would advocate increasing collaborations between hospitals and trusts to create greater ‘buyer’ power. In doing so, they can receive the best prices from their suppliers but even greater than this is the sharing of research and audit data. In doing so, hospitals and trusts can together investigate the different ways they manage and approach best practice in order to maintain costs while achieving clinical excellence.

The market isn’t a battlefield anymore. It’s an ecosystem where it’s possible to work together and still be profitable.

If you found this of interest, please share it!

Dr Saif Abed

CEO and Co-Founder

Abed Graham Healthcare Strategies Ltd