Keeping Up in a Down Economy
Like many business leaders, you're probably feeling the pinch of these turbulent economic times. The unemployment rate in the United States was last reported at 9.1% in September of 2011. There is great discontent as seen in the Occupy Wall Street protests that have emerged throughout the country. It's likely that patients are postponing treatment or downgrading to low cost alternatives.
It's during these times that leadership skills are put to the test. How do you show up for work? Complaining about the economy or the holes in the schedule will do nothing to make employees feel better or buoy their spirits. And whatever they feel will ultimately trickle down to patient care.
You need to strike a balance between ‘the sky is falling’ and ‘Pollyanna’. Direct employees to focus on how their actions directly impact the bottom line. Help them to see how they can work to achieve production goals and improve patients’ experiences. In conversations, show that you are concerned about them. Seek their ideas. Encourage risk-taking.
As for patients, during economic downturns they will be more careful about spending. Factors such as price and value take on greater significance. However, people's underlying needs do not change and dental leaders who continue to meet those needs will prevail. Here are some basics.
There is a positive emotional connection with the dental team.
They feel that their needs are understood.
The Doctor is authentic and has integrity.
They feel treated like an individual, not just another patient who’s like all the rest. Be careful to see each patient as unique. Avoid clichés and generalizations. Statements such as, “I see this all the time” may be intended to connote experience, but the impact of those words can convey, “You’re no different from 100’s of other people I see.”
Their time is respected.
Stop blaming the insurance companies, the economy, the weather. Focus on the things you DO have control to modify…yourself. Stop bringing your emotional baggage to work. Visualize the future with more financial freedom, whether its recreational activities, travel or simply more work satisfaction and joy. Pay attention to the emotions that accompany these inspiring images. Repeat this exercise several times per day.
This long term view will lead to big payoffs, not only as your practice navigates these difficult times but even more when the economy picks up. Set yourself up for significant competitive advantage. Engage your staff. Engage your patients. Become a more resilient leader. Today.
The potential to become a better leader is well within your capability! Contact Dr. Haller at: email@example.com.
Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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