2014: You Have a Choice
I have good news. Within a few days, we will be at the dawn of an entirely new year. Like a brand new car, you get to open the door, climb in, and chart a whole new journey. It’s the opportunity to embrace real, positive change as well as leave a few not so helpful behaviors in the rearview mirror. More on that in a minute.
This is the time of year in which we reflect on the choices we’ve made over the past 12 months. Perhaps they were choices made out of habit – the way you’ve always done things. All patients are scheduled for one hour with the hygienist. Or maybe they were choices made out of guilt. Raises for the clinical staff seemed like such a good idea at the time, until you felt the full financial impact. They may have been choices made in haste. The new employee seemed like such a good fit during the 15-minute interview, not so much after a few months in the office.
What if you could turn back the clock and reconsider some of the choices you made during the past 12 months? What amendments and course corrections would you make? What cliffs would you have the courage to leap off of this time around? What relationships would you nurture? What arrangements would you end?
No, you cannot alter the decisions you made in 2013, but 2014 will bring you a host of opportunities to make any number of positive choices and changes for the better. I have a few suggestions to help you get started.
#1 Choose to establish your practice goals and vision. In other words, chart your course. Where do you want to be when the next 12 months conclude?
#2 Take concrete steps toward achieving your goals every day in the coming year. Implement key management systems that enable you to monitor and measure every step along the journey and make course corrections as will be necessary.
#3 Foster a culture that enables everyone to perform at their highest potential. First, train your team to be truly excellent. Second, create an environment based on mutual respect and professionalism. Tune into those seemingly minor interactions that quietly chisel away at practice goals and undermine your success. Pledge to leave the following behaviors behind as you and your team move forward:
Negativity. I pledge that I will not complain about my personal life, my job, my colleagues, my boss, my staff, the patients. Nor will I shoot down another’s idea by telling them, “It won’t work. We’ve tried it before. It will never happen.”
Micromanaging. I pledge that I will not swoop in and take control just because I don’t like the way someone is doing something.
Temper Tantrum. I pledge that I will not blow my stack. If I am angry I will not take it out on my team or my colleagues. Just because I’m stressed, frustrated, and at the end of my rope doesn’t make it okay for me to throw a fit. Everyone else is probably just as stressed, frustrated, and clinging to the end of their own ropes.
Stinginess. I pledge to not withhold appreciation. I will not ignore the good things that my staff and colleagues do. Nor will I hog the credit for good ideas that are the result of my efforts as well as others.
Playing Favorites. I pledge to treat everyone with dignity and respect and demonstrate that I value the opinions of all – not just those whom I like and who agree with me.
Sniping. I pledge that I will not make destructive or cutting comments about others – the doctor, the staff, the patients, the salespeople, or anyone else. Nor will I gossip and spread the latest “news” about “so and so.”
Dodging. I pledge that I will not blame my teammates, the traffic, the weather, the doctor, the patients, my ex, my spouse, my children, or anyone else for my inability to effectively carry out my professional duties.
So this New Year, in addition to resolving to take your practice up a notch or 10, also consider how you can better yourself and your team by simply committing to leave a few potentially destructive behaviors behind in the year that was.
For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side
Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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