As you begin to get busier, you will see that there is only so much that you, the doctor, can PHYSICALLY do. At lower levels of production, you may end up wearing a lot of “hats” other than just “doctor.” As you grow, these other hats become more and more difficult to do from a time standpoint.
When your practice gets to this stage of the game, you have three options:
1. Work 80+ hours a week doing “everything” and burn out.
2. Limit the growth of your practice so you have time to get everything done.
3. Create an organization consisting of a stable office manager and staff who can do these things for you.
It goes without saying that option three is the obvious choice and way to go.
You could compare a successful organization to a machine and be fairly spot on. However, you lose a part of your organization or it isn’t working right, you cannot go out and get the same “part” as the parts of your machine are PEOPLE…and people are different.
What makes your organization a living, breathing entity is the PEOPLE in it – your staff. As I mentioned above, there is only so much YOU can do. And even if you were to look at your practice strictly from a financial standpoint, you will see that as the doctor, you are worth anywhere from $250 – $1,000 (or much more) per HOUR! Doing anything during production time other than wearing your doctor and sales hat means your organization is losing money. So, that means you have to get someone ELSE to do it. Not only that, they have to do it as well as you could!
(Related: Fixing a Broken Area of Your Business)
Staff – the Key to Increased Productivity
So, the relationship between a STABLE staff and increased productivity becomes pretty evident here. If someone really does their job and does it well, then that means you don’t have to do it and can spend time doing things which are more valuable to your practice, such as treating patients.
All of these things we are talking about here fall under the heading of organization and executive skills. If you thought of all of your staff as people who have taken a piece of your job and are doing it with/for you, you would not be far off!
Creating Stability with your Staff
Now, if you grow your organization without making your staff STABLE on their jobs, you will find that your practice will eventually contract or hit the skids. Let’s say starting next month you got an additional 80-100 new patients. Cool eh? Well think about your receptionist for a moment. What would happen to them? They may get overloaded and begin to find their job difficult to say the least! Things would start to not get done. And it gets worse…they would eventually get to the point where he or she would not actually WANT any more new patients! Why? Well, they have hit a point where they can no longer effectively/comfortably handle them. In order to make this work you would need to get your receptionist more help and/or make the position perform more efficiently!
Now, you might read this and think that you should not try to expand until you stabilize your staff. This is NOT the way to do it. The real test of an executive is being able to do it all, push for expansion while creating a stable staff!
How is this accomplished? Well first off, you have to have an organizational structure that WORKS. We cover how to do this on the MGE Power Program. From there, you would need to be able to QUICKLY create staff who are STABLE in their positions so they can handle what comes at them.
(Related: Why Your Staff Don’t Listen to You)
When we say a STABLE staff member what exactly do we mean? Stable is defined as: “Reliable; steady; consistent; not easy to shake up.” If a staff member is stable on the job, this means that their performance is predictable. You no longer HAVE TO “WEAR” their hat as they are doing it WELL. All of the traffic concerning that hat in your practice is being handled properly by that person! A stable financial secretary would handle all of your financial arrangements per office policy and collect the fees for services in full – on their own. The statistics in the area would be good. When a staff member is UNSTABLE, you will often find yourself doing bits and pieces of the job that float up your way (or in some cases a lot of the job.) Now, for someone to be STABLE on the job means they have to KNOW HOW to do the job. In the case of a financial secretary they would have to KNOW all of your financial policy and be able to apply it as well as how to handle PEOPLE. Any area where he or she would run into difficulty would trace back to something they either a) Did not know or b) Something they learned and could not apply.
The Importance of Training your Staff Correctly & Having Good Office Policy
So if you look at this, you will see that if you start with the correct raw materials (an upbeat, productive staff person) you can make them stable on the job through TRAINING. And by training we mean far more than just showing them how your office computer works! It means teaching them 1) all of the policy that applies to their job and 2) As you are in the people business – teaching them how to work, effectively communicate with and handle people.
If you have no policy written on how to do a job in your office, your staff may feel lost. Policy provides the rules and procedures of the “game.” It also serves as a basis of continuity and consistency. In other words if you have a set way of handling financial arrangements, and all of your staff are aware of and can apply his policy – it will be handled the same way patient to patient – regardless of WHO is doing it.
(Related: Suggestions on Training Your Staff)
Unfortunately, just having them read policy is not enough. You need to include practical application type exercises where they apply it in the real world to clean up any confusions. One very successful action that quite a few MGE clients use is actually establishing a set time every week where training is done in the office. You might say “I can’t afford to give up the time to train the staff.” Let me tell you something – you can’t afford not to! Proper training is the key to competence on the job. If someone learns something and then applies it until they know it “in their sleep,” their certainty on how to do their job goes through the roof! Think about it: What would happen to a professional sports team if they did not practice their plays before a game? They would be out of coordination and most likely they would lose! In addition to training your staff on office policy, you can drill (role play) key procedures in the practice, such as handling a new patient phone call. You can also break this down to key parts of every individuals job, such as making an appointment for a large procedure or collecting a balance or co-pay from a patient. Start off easy and then make it more difficult for them until they have a win.
Anything and everything has a technology to it. This technology can be learned and with drilling and practice can be mastered. On the MGE Power Program we teach a doctor and Office Manager numerous skills and tools on how to be an effective executive. From there we work with them until they are skilled in application. This makes an MGE Client STABLE as an executive. This same concept can be applied to your staff to make them stable on their jobs. Stable staff are the necessary “parts” for an organization than can and will expand. Give us a call today and learn how you can become a great executive and create this stability in your office. Then your practice will flourish and prosper, which again is my wish for you.