5 Steps To Get What you Want & Grow Your Practice - E6
One of the biggest hurdles a new practice owner must face is learning how to handle being in charge of more than just themselves. The days of merely seeing patients, filling out chart notes, and calling it a day are over. As a practice owner, you are the CEO and you need to have that mindset in regards to every aspect of the practice. 4 factors you must consider in everything you do are: 1. How does this affect patient care? 2. How does this affect the staff? 3. How does this affect the doctor(s)? 4. How does this affect your office as a whole?
In my early years I would make decisions based on just one of those four factors instead of all of them and would have issues later on (I’d lose the forest amongst the trees). Over more than a few years, as a way to always cover all four factors, I have developed a 5 step system for making a change or implementing something new. I believe if you use this method when tweaking things in your office you will reach your goals more consistently and grow your practice exponentially. Let me explain the method and then go listen to the first segment of Episode 6 on my podcast [link] and I will give you a real world example of how I am currently utilizing this method in my office.
5-Step Method for Making a Change:
#1: Set Goals
Everything you do needs to have the end in mind. You need to have a clear purpose for the change you are making so you can stay on task and ultimately help get buy in from the people who are going to help you along the way. This is a great time to consider the four factors listed above. If any of the four are going to suffer or be worse off, the other 3 better get a considerable benefit. Even then, you still may want to tweak or reconsider the goal.
#2: Decide what you want to change/delegate/implement
Once the goals are set, how are you going to get there? This is a key part of the process because it helps you figure out what needs to be done, who you are going to need to get there, and how you intend to do that. This is the time to brainstorm and consider every possibility and eventuality. Step #3 is going to take buy in from patients/staff/ doctors, so you want it to be well thought out and be able to answer any questions they may have. Even if there is pushback (there will be), a well thought out plan has much more of a chance of succeeding because you can answer ALL the questions.
#3: Figure out if you have the staff/resources in place currently to make the change
At this point you know what you are trying to do, you know how you are going to get there, now you have to see if you have the people and resources in place to get there. This comes down to being able to honestly evaluate your manager(s) and your staff. I do not care how good you are as a doctor/business owner, if you want a business instead of a job, you need to have the right people on the bus. For every manager and staff member you need to know: their strengths, weaknesses, what motivates them, what they like/do not like to do, and if they have the ability to do what you need them to do (can they be trained). Hopefully you have all the right people on the bus so this is in essence putting them the correct seat. Do not forget that none of this matters if the person driving the bus has zero clue where they are taking everyone (that should be caught way back in Step #1 with setting goals to know where you’re headed). Now, I’m not saying you won’t ever have any fear or reservations because you will (especially if it’s a BIG change you’re making - like adding a specialty for example), but your staff does not need to know that and your confidence becomes their confidence!
If you do not have the staff, managers, or resources you should stop here and address that issue first. Your people are the foundation of any success you may have, so make sure you are not building on sand.
#4: Commit to implementing the change
You have made it this far. You know what you want to do, how you are going to do it, and you have the people and resources in place to get it done. Are you willing to see it through? Let's be honest, getting to this point has been more work than you probably anticipated, do you have the stamina and drive to keep going? Again, when I first started, I did not follow this process and it drained me to no end. I would constantly get push back or lukewarm buy in from my staff. I was changing on the fly and honestly it was extremely chaotic.
Since developing these checkpoints I now am able to look myself in the mirror and know if I am ready to move forward. There is no shame in hitting the reset button and starting the process over if you have lost the energy to carry on. Truthfully, you will be better off if you stop now if you are not all in.
That being said, to properly implement the change you have got to set crystal clear expectations with everyone that is involved. They need to know what is expected of them, how/where to get help and instruction, and how they will be evaluated (how and when). Feedback and coaching has to happen in a productive manner. You cannot come off as a micromanager, there has to be a level of trust. This is easier to do if you give a definitive structure and guidance.
#5: Have checks, balances, and a manageable timeline
You did it! You set your goals and you have made it all the way through to the implementation phase, now what? You have to make sure you are getting reports or feedback as to how it is working. How are your patients, staff, doctors responding and is this the best thing for your office. The beauty of being the CEO is this is all your responsibility and if you do not set up a system to monitor what is going on, you are still responsible for it.
I like to set a criteria to measure at certain intervals (think weeks and months vs years). You choose the criteria that fits with your big picture goals, but keep it pretty black and white, that is they are measurable and quantifiable. If your goal was to see more patients, check your patient counts. If you wanted to see more people between the ages 20-30, make sure you are tracking that from the get go. It is also important to tell everyone involved how things are going. If they have bought in, they will have a sense of ownership and the feedback will be appreciated.
There you have it my friends. Follow these 5 steps and you will be able to get what you want and grow your office exponentially!
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