6.7.13 Issue #587 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Gene St. Louis
VP Practice Solutions
McKenzie Management
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4 Reasons Why Your Practice Needs Job Descriptions
By Gene St. Louis

I often wonder why it is that some dental employers are so reticent to create job descriptions for employees, while others can’t imagine trying to operate effectively without them. Most often, those that don’t have them are largely convinced that job descriptions in their practices really aren’t necessary. Why? The typical response usually goes something like this: "Well, 'Jane' and 'Ellen' know what needs to be done and they just split those responsibilities evenly." Doesn’t that just sound so nice, and wouldn’t it be great if every office could be so fortunate?

Reality check: These doctors are dreaming and it will soon become a nightmare, guaranteed. In virtually every practice in which job descriptions do not exist, doctors assert that they don’t need them. Then we start to dig below the surface and evaluate why accounts receivables are high, why there is this current of tension and uneasiness that is percolating through the corridors, why the schedule has the team frantically racing to the finish line one day only to be parked in the starting gate the next, and the list goes on. I’d like you to consider four outcomes that job descriptions can enable you to achieve:

4. Peace and Harmony
Consistently, we find that dentists who are the most stressed and the least satisfied professionally and personally have non-existent or weak job descriptions. They resign themselves to frustrating financial results and less than stellar performance among staff. They also are the doctors most likely to assume that staff know what to do. Employees grumble and bicker, patients complain, “Jane” thinks that “Bob” should be doing more, “Bob” thinks that “Jane” acts like a princess. The doctor just wants them to do their jobs. The problem is that they are both perfectly happy carrying out those duties they like, but when it comes to those duties they view as “beneath” them they claim it’s the other person’s responsibility. Clear job descriptions ensure that Jane understands her duties and Bob understands his. Understanding who is responsible for what is the first and most essential step toward peace and harmony among the team.

3. Vision and Direction
Do you have a vision and do your employees know what it is? Vision is the ability to see your practice, not where it is today, but where you want it to be. If so, share your vision as well as your passion for achieving it. If you see the practice you want in your mind’s eye, and you share that with your team, you can provide the direction necessary - through the job descriptions - that enable you to develop the systems and strategies to make the vision your reality.

2. Accountability and Leadership  
Have you established clear, written expectations for every team member to ensure accountability? Job descriptions are the cornerstone of practice accountability, which is essential to creating a culture of success. If team members don’t take responsibility for their actions, there’s no accountability. But if there is accountability, the team can act quickly to solve problems when they arise and continuously monitor key systems to ensure they are functioning properly. Moreover, where there is accountability, there is ownership. If Jane is accountable for collections, she can take ownership of that system and become a leader in that area. Accountability builds trust and confidence among the entire staff.

1. Money and Freedom
When production and profits are on pace, it happens by design, not by accident. Staff turnover is minimized. Training protocols are in place. Specific goals for collections, production, and scheduling are in place. Holes in the schedule are minimal and they are managed. Unscheduled treatment is tracked. Performance measurements are ongoing. And opportunities to expand and enhance services are on everyone’s radar. You have cultivated more than a staff; you have created a team of leaders who can identify and distinguish between system hiccups and system breakdowns. You’ve achieved this because you started with one fundamental yet essential tool: the job description.

With job descriptions you begin to build the framework for peace and harmony in the practice, as well as buy into the vision and direction that you, the doctor, have set forth. From there, accountability and team leadership can take root, and the practice can flourish.

If you want to discuss how you or your team can improve accountability, call me at (877) 777-6151 or email Gene@mckenziemgmt.com to explore the possibilities.

Interested in speaking to Gene about your practice concerns? Email gene@mckenziemgmt.com

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