Most practitioners have themselves said or heard said in their practices some of the following: “It’s not my fault that …” “You didn’t say to get that done.” “Why didn’t you tell me that you wanted it done that way in the first place?” “Whose job is this really?” “Is that in my job description?” “I told the patient what was going to happen if he didn’t go ahead, so it’s not my fault.”
The definition of accountability: The obligation of an individual or organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner.
The scope of accountability then includes many aspects. One is the practice itself being accountable for providing the highest quality service possible to the patients or clients in exchange for the fees charged doing the service.
Another example is the practice owner wearing his or her CEO hat and ensuring that the practice is solvent and growing. Being irresponsible about the finances or the marketing or the training of the staff and so on will lead to a practice that struggles financially and is no fun for anyone to work in.
A staff member in a practice is accountable for the accomplishment of all the duties of their position in a timely and high quality fashion. Staff who show up late, take long breaks and surf the internet or text during work hours are not being accountable.
An interesting addition that should be reflected on all job descriptions from boss on down is: “And anything else that contributes to the survival and well being of the group.”
For instance, one of the assistants in our office was asked to make and bring coffee when a client appeared unexpectedly and the usual person to do this function was not available. And she refused. And she is now a past staff member (not just because of the coffee incident but because of the long term overall attitude that was evidenced).
Working in a group of gung-ho, high energy staff and managers is a total delight and the sense of accomplishment is huge. Each helps one another as needed and possible, and they have the three musketeer motto: “One for all and all for one!”
To help increase accountability, there are lots of tools for tracking performance and there are bonus systems to reward high production.
Each position in a practice is a trust. The boss and all staff each trust that the others will wear their hats and be accountable for their production, and then ultimately for the overall production of the practice as a whole.
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