Finding the Sweet Spot

A review of “Conversational Capacity: The Secret to Building Successful Teams That Perform When the Pressure Is On”

By Craig Weber | Reviewed by Carol Slack

Given the rapid pace of today’s business world, it is crucial to have effective and efficient communication among team members. In Craig Weber’s book Conversational Capacity, the author describes several key strategies to ensure that a team communicates in a productive manner. Conversational capacity, defined as the ability to have open, balanced, and nondefensive dialogue about tough subjects in challenging circumstances, allows a team to make informed and effective choices. In addition, it promotes an expanded awareness of differing viewpoints, encouraging participants to “lean in” to others’ views. When executed effectively, these conversations increase participation of all team members in the decision-making processes, enhance commitment to the organization, and reduce the tendency for leaders to overexecute on their decisions.

The Checklist Manifesto


How to get things right.

By Atul Gawande | Reviewed by Eric Cardin, PT, MS

“I’m not a business person, I’m a physical therapist.”

This statement probably comes second to “This time it’ll be different” for the shortest but most powerful and dangerous statement in the business of physical therapy. The truth is that physical therapy education spends very little time preparing aspiring therapists to navigate the complexities of the health care marketplace. Most gain their management/business bona fides via the School of Hard Knocks (or the equally unforgiving but fruitful School of Trial and Error), but we can supplement those experiences with the words and wisdom of others. Books on communication, relationship building, marketing, and strategy abound.

Boston-based surgeon and renowned author Dr. Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, gives us The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right and opens a frank and honest discussion of how important tasks are often routine. A simple checklist can remove or at least corral the complexities. His writing infuses just enough anecdote and hard evidence to support his claims.

But what to take from this book as a business person? The story Dr. Gawande tells starts and ends in complex environments such as operating rooms and the construction site of a skyscraper. Clearly, in these workplaces poor decisions or missed steps can have catastrophic results. Luckily for the average physical therapy clinic owner, the choices are not as dire. Yet the concept is highly valuable. Think about all the decisions a business owner and physical therapist has to make in a day or a week. What parts of those decisions or entirety of those decisions are routine? There is always something that you should be thinking about, checking on, and ultimately making a decision about. Decision fatigue is real! Revisiting issues that ultimately have been decided is frustrating. Missing key details just because you have hundreds of details to manage is pure folly. A simple solution? Look at processes to determine what are the important components whose omission results in compounding problems and use a checklist to reduce or eliminate the chance of mistake.


Eric Cardin, PT, MSPT, is a Private Practice Section member and executive director of South County Physical Therapy, Inc., located in Auburn, Massachusetts. He can be reached at

Healthcare Disrupted

Healthcare Disrupted

Next Generation Business Models and Strategies

By Jeff Elton & Anne O’Riordan | Reviewed by Susan Nowell, PT, DPT

The adage, “With adversity comes great opportunity” certainly rings true for physical therapy private practice owners of today. The health care climate is rapidly changing. In light of increasing reimbursement-based demands, the need to implement new national health care delivery systems is evident; however, definitive, strategic paths remain to be seen. The United States spends more than any other developed country on health care, and the costs continue to rise. With increasing administrative burdens, declining payment for services, and growing patient cost-sharing, more physical therapy providers are implementing alternative services and payment streams into practice as a way to maximize both overall revenue and the quality of patient care.

Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed

Pysched Up
By Daniel McGinn | Reviewed by Eric Cardin, PT, MS

Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed packs a lot of punch into its 269 pages. Author Daniel McGinn weaves anecdotes and scientific evidence in such a way that the reader is instantly engaged. It’s the kind of informative book that leaves the reader nodding and muttering “yes,” “uh-huh,” and marking certain pages to come back to. What does Jerry Seinfeld’s jacket or which songs the New England Patriots listen to have to do with your success? This is a book that can answer those questions.

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