2.19.16 Issue #728 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

3 Tough Questions to Ask Your Team of CEOs
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Part of being a practice CEO is asking yourself tough questions. The answers can lead to positive change in your practice, growing your patient base and your bottom line. But if you want to be successful, you can’t be the only one answering these questions. As the CEOs of their specific practice systems, your team members can be a valuable resource. Getting input from your employees not only creates that CEO mentality in your team, it helps improve practice efficiencies and save money.

Training your team members to think like CEOs will give them a sense of ownership in the practice. They’ll see how important their contributions are to the practice’s success, and their insights will help you make necessary improvements.

Not sure what to ask? Here are three questions to get you started. Trust me, when you really listen to the answers and take action, your practice will thrive.

1. “What is it time to get rid of?”
This is one of my favorite questions to ask team members. Why? Things are constantly changing in dentistry and it’s important for practices to keep up. Procedures that were critical 10 years ago might be inefficient and antiquated today – and if you’re still using these outdated procedures, it’s probably time to move on.

Let me give you an example. Once upon a time, managing recall required a lot of paperwork. That isn’t the case today. It should be a streamlined system that’s mostly run through email and text messaging. Here’s another example. Remember those patient forms that you once had to hand out in person or send via snail mail? Today those forms should be available on your practice website or emailed directly to your patients.

Once you’ve been practicing for 10, 15, 20 years, it’s easy to settle into a routine and the “this is the way we’ve always done things” mentality. Unfortunately, that mentality gets you nothing but wasted time and unnecessary expenses. Asking this question gets team members thinking about streamlining processes and updating technology to improve practice efficiency and productivity, which will help you reduce costs and increase revenues over time. 

2. “What would you change if you were paying the bills?”
This is another great question. Think about this scenario. No one is accountable for ordering supplies in your practice, and as a result, different team members place orders at different times. The problem? More often than not they’re ordering items you already have. If you make one person accountable for this task, it helps ensure practice resources are used effectively and that you’re not wasting money on supplies you don’t need.

Bottom line: Paying attention to specific budget targets will encourage both you and your team members to closely evaluate the value of large purchases. Look for ways to eliminate unnecessary expenses, and everyone in the practice will benefit.

3. “What systems are working well and how can they be improved?”
The questions you ask yourself and your team shouldn’t always be negative. While it’s easy to focus on what isn’t working when you’re looking to make practice improvements, it’s just as beneficial to take a look at what actually is working. I recommend sitting down with your team members to talk about practice systems that are performing well. Discuss what sets these systems apart and think about how you can implement similar approaches in other areas.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your schedule runs like a well-oiled machine. You always hit daily production goals and you rarely have to deal with the problems broken appointments bring. Take a step back and figure out why. What have you done to ensure consistent results? What type of training have you given your Scheduling Coordinator? Does your Scheduling Coordinator use a well-thought out script to ensure he or she always knows exactly what to say? Do you give regular feedback so the Scheduling Coordinator knows what’s working and what needs to be improved?

Answering these questions – with the help of your team – will enable you to apply successful protocols in other areas of the practice, leading to improvements that will grow productivity and profits. 

If you want to be the proud owner of a successful, profitable practice, you need to continually evaluate and improve procedures. But this isn’t something you should do on your own. Empower team members to take ownership of their systems and to serve as CEOs in their respective areas. Ask them questions to get their input and make sure they understand how important that input is to achieving practice goals. Get them thinking like practice owners and, as a team, you’ll be well on your way to practice success and profitability.

For additional information on this topic and more, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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