4.29.16 Issue #738 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

6 Ways You Might Be Hurting Your Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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If your practice is hurting, it’s easy to blame your team members for your problems. But the truth is, many of your problems are likely your own doing – and the situation will only get better if you’re willing to make some changes in yourself as well as in struggling practice systems.

I know this is difficult to do, but it’s vital to your practice’s success. Ignoring problems or blaming others will only make it worse, and you’ll never achieve the success you want and deserve. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today, but with a few changes you can go so much further – and I want to help you get there. Here are six common ways you could be hurting your practice and how you can make improvements to get back on the right track.

1. You ignore staff conflict. I know most dentists want nothing to do with staff conflict, but ignoring it will only damage your practice. The gossip, eye rolling and snide remarks continue until the conflict finally boils out of control. Patients notice the tension and opt to go to a practice with a friendlier environment, hurting your production numbers and your bottom line.

Conflict is inevitable, but it’s important to create a policy and let employees know gossip won’t be tolerated and is grounds for disciplinary action. Include the policy in the employee handbook you give to new hires. When you notice tension or someone comes to you with complaints about another employee, work with the team members involved to reach a solution – without finger-pointing or placing blame. This could actually lead to positive changes in your practice and a stronger team.

2. You think job descriptions are a waste of time. If that’s how you feel, you couldn’t be more wrong. Job descriptions give team members the guidance they need, letting them know exactly what tasks they must complete and which systems they’re accountable for. They truly serve as a roadmap to success and leave no question about who’s accountable for what. This not only ensures everything gets done, it also helps prevent conflict and misunderstandings.

3. You never offer praise. Your team members work hard, and they need to know you appreciate their efforts. When you see employees going above and beyond, let them know you’ve noticed. This positive feedback will motivate them to continue to excel.

4. You’re too generous. While I know you want to help family and friends when you can, it’s killing your bottom line if you offer them free or nearly free care every time they visit your practice. It’s also undermining the team member in charge of collections, who can’t follow the collections policy because you seem to have randomly set your own. If you want to improve collections, you have to stop offering free services to every relative and friend in the area.

5. Your staff meetings are more like a lecture. When it’s time for the monthly staff meeting, you create an agenda and report on different areas of the practice. You put a lot of time and effort into preparing, yet these meetings are never very productive. Team members just throw complaints and angry questions your way, so you’ve stopped holding them altogether.

Staff meetings are a great way to improve communication with your team members, but only if you let them participate. Instead of holding a one-man show, ask team members to report on their systems. Use the time to talk about what’s going right and where improvements could be made. Work together to come up with solutions and task team members with reporting back on progress during the next meeting. This will foster teamwork and help you make positive changes in your practice.

6. You don’t have a policy on raises. You’re not a fan of performance reviews and you haven’t developed any policies on how raises will be determined. You think it’s easier that way, but trust me, you’re just setting yourself up for trouble. If you don’t make it clear how performance will be measured and under what circumstances raises will be discussed, team members will come to you whenever they feel like it’s time for a raise. And because you don’t like to say no, you usually give in – without knowing how the raise will impact the budget or practice overhead.

Rather than giving out raises every time someone asks, I recommend putting a system in place so employees know exactly what they need to do to earn a pay hike. This will motivate them to improve performance and will help keep overhead costs from skyrocketing.

I know change can be difficult, and it’s much easier to make excuses and blame others when problems arise. But if you’re ready to grow your practice and finally reach your true potential, give me a call. I’ll help put you on the road toward 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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