5.25.07 - Issue # 272 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Your Practice Is Only As Good As Your Weakest Team Member!

A McKenzie Management Case Study

Dr. Byron Sparks– Case Study #45

Let me set the stage for you so you can appreciate this situation, as it may be happening to you at this very moment:

Practice Facts:

  • Dr. Sparks was a new McKenzie client of 2 months.
  • He had a Schedule Coordinator and a Financial/Hygiene Coordinator with Job Descriptions and a clear understanding of what their responsibilities are.
  • He conducted his monthly staff meetings following the McKenzie format of reviewing the previous month’s statistics and goals that were specifically established for his practice, as well as the To Do List.
  • Morning huddles were being conducted.

Practice Statistics:
A review of the monthly system monitor spreadsheet revealed:

  • Production goals were not being met for the month
  • Daily production goals were not being met
  • Too many openings in the schedule on hygiene and doctor side
  • Accounts Receivables over 90 days were improving
  • The practice was collecting over 100% of net production
  • Insurance claims over 60 days were dropping

It’s one thing for a practice to gather statistical data but another if the practice does not understand the meaning behind “all the numbers”.

Practice Performance Analysis At the Two Month Interval:

  • The Financial Coordinator WAS doing her job!  Her numbers were improving.
  • The Schedule Coordinator WAS NOT doing her job!  The lack of improvement in the areas that she was responsible for was obvious.

Telephone conference meetings identified Dr. Spark’s true feelings about his employees after 2 months of implementing the new protocols and systems and tracking the results:

“Sandy, my Schedule Coordinator, seems to spend too much time on the phone with her family and friends.”

“Sandy isn’t making appointments when the assistant or hygienist hand off their patient to her, even though the clinical staff are telling her what the patient needs and has accepted”

“Sandy always seems to have an excuse for not being able to fill the openings in my schedule when they occur.”

Sandy had NOT accepted her role as Schedule Coordinator.  To her, nothing had changed.  It was “non performance as usual”.  The only difference was Dr. Sparks actually knew it instead of assuming it because the numbers don’t lie!

What to Do?
Dr. Sparks realized that Sandy was not performing.  He suspected it all along but just didn’t have the “proof” to discuss it with her.  She always seemed to have an excuse for everything. He asked the question, “What do I do to motivate her?”  The solution:

  1. Make sure she has the tools to do her job (training and support which she has through McKenzie Management).
  2. Make sure she understands her job description and what she is responsible for.
  3. Conduct 2 one-on-one informal reviews with her discussing her lack of performance based on the facts.  Be sure to document these conversations in her personnel file.
  4. If no improvement, conduct a formal review with a written warning that you both sign, asking her what you can do to assist her in reaching her peak performance.  Give her 30 days to improve or assume that this position in your office is not a good fit for her.
  5. Bottom line – dismissal if performance has not improved!

Conclusions:
Dr. Sparks must understand that the practice is only as good as his weakest employee, just like a basketball team.  The smaller the staff size, the more important it is that EVERY employee performs at their peak.  There is no room to “hide” a poor performer.

It is also important that he understands that his non-performers are affecting his income, as well as the salaries of his team members that are giving 100%.  He is running a business and businesses are meant to be profitable.  It takes ALL his team members to achieve this.

It is not easy to dismiss an employee…I understand that.  It is also not fair to the other team members that work hard each day for the profitability of the practice to observe a non-performer and wonder why their doctor allows it.

Dr. Sparks finally stepped up to the free-throw line and made his shot.  The rest of the team will be in complete support and will respect him as an employer.  More importantly, your team will WIN the game!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies….. email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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