Editor’s Note: For this week’s blog post, we’d like to welcome guest author Aleksandr Dayanayev, DDS. Dr. Dayanayev is a general dentist practicing in New York, as well as a speaker and seminar instructor for MGE. His bio can be found here and you can see him speak in person at select MGE seminars around the country.
As the New Year approaches, it’s important to:
- Review the prior year,
- Evaluate areas that need changes/improvements, and
- Set goals for the next year. This gives the whole team direction and something to work toward.
I’m sure you do something of this sort already, whether it’s done formally or informally. But I’ll tell you where I see many doctors go wrong: they make decisions and set goals all by themselves and then simply inform their staff later on (or don’t).
If you really want to make changes and increase productivity in 2017, you’ve got to get the whole team involved. Here’s how I suggest you do it:
(Note: this is for an average size office. If you have 20+ staff, it’s a bit of a different scenario, which I’ll touch on at the end of this article.)
1. Meet with Your Office Manager
Get together with your office manager ahead of time to review the numbers from the previous year and see how you project for the coming year.
This isn’t just looking at the production statistic and then coming up with an arbitrary number for the New Year. Look at every area of the practice: production, collections, new patients on a monthly basis, the number of weekly recall appointments, recall compliance percentage, case acceptance percentage, how much empty time there is on the schedule, the number of missed/cancelled appointments, the number of phone call inquiries vs the number actually arriving for a new patient visit, etc.
(If you’d like help interpreting these numbers, you can call MGE to speak with a consultant for free at (800) 640-1140 or get a practice analysis as one of MGE’s free seminars around the country. Seminar calendar here.)
Once you’ve reviewed all the information, you can evaluate which areas need to improve and intelligently set goals for each of these areas. All of this should add up to a certain increase in total production and collections.
It’s important to have your office manager present for this step because there are things we don’t see while we’re chairside, whereas your office manager is “in the trenches.” They can often provide pertinent information so you don’t go off track with impractical ideas due to lack of information.
Now that you have general goals set, it’s time to get into the details of how it’s actually going to happen.
2. Meet with Your Entire Staff
This is where you bring the staff in. Schedule a new year meeting with all of your staff when you can have at least an hour or two uninterrupted.
In this meeting, you should:
1. First acknowledge them for all the great things they did the prior year and all the goals you did make (this is important!), and then
2. Lay out the goals you have set for the New Year. Now it’s time to coordinate with your staff. Specifically, you want input on what exactly is needed in their areas to increase each of these numbers up by X%, how they’re going to do it, what issues they’ll need to overcome, and any ideas they have. After all, they should know the ins-and-outs of their jobs better than anyone else.
The point of this meeting isn’t for the staff to shoot down all the goals as unrealistic or bring up problems, but to figure how everybody can contribute and how to overcome any hurdles.
3. If you have a special bonus attached to these goals, this is a great time to unveil it—or at least get ideas from the staff as to what kind of reward they would like (a team trip, party, physical prize, financial bonus, etc.).
4. By the end of the meeting, everybody should be on the same page for the future and you should have a real plan for making all of these goals—i.e. you’ve assigned who’s taking care of what and who is responsible for implementing any new changes, as well as exactly what those changes are.
If you have a large office (20+ staff), this would go a bit differently.
In my office, we have 36 staff, and each department has a manager. So I start by meeting with all of these managers to review the prior year and make projections for the new year, and then these managers go to the staff in their departments to get ideas, input, and come up with proposals of exactly how they’re going to make these goals. They bring these proposals to my partner and me, and we finalize everything. Then when we do the big meeting with all the staff, it is simply to acknowledge them for the prior year, recognize stellar employees and inform them of the finalized goals and any new programs being implemented. To get individual input in a meeting of that size would be too hectic and time consuming.
This has worked in my practice to keep growth steady year after year. Give it a try in your office and I think it’ll help you make your practice goals a reality in 2017! And if you’d like to experience the rapid growth that I did, call MGE today at (800) 640-1140 and take the first step to improving organization and efficiency in your practice.