Ever wonder why the staff do not always follow through on things you (the boss) have asked them to do? And sometimes you may find that at first the things you ordered are complied to, but then drop back out over time? Or perhaps the order is partly done and never quite gets finished? Do you get irritated and frustrated with the staff?
Do you start thinking it’s a problem with your staff and that you should fire them all and hire new ones who will listen to you? Well, maybe there’s another answer! I thought the same thing about my staff 24 years ago and then found out the real answer and it may surprise you!
Right between the eyes!
Sorry, but you, the boss, are the main culprit when it comes to things not getting done in the practice or if systems and structure drop out. You ARE the executive and an executive is one who gets others to get things done.
There are 6 main reasons why you can’t get things done:
Yes, it may be true that you have a bad staff member or two. Maybe they are lazy or lack focus or even drive and motivation. However, except for the “lazy” category, most staff simply need better direction and/or training – this boils down to you as the boss being a good executive.
Training, protocols, job descriptions
Perhaps you have hired someone because you think they already know all about the position you are hiring them for because they worked in another similar professional practice. This is a FALSE assumption. In fact, they know how the OTHER boss wanted things done, but not necessarily the BEST way or how YOU want it done in YOUR practice. They need training from you, protocols written up, job descriptions that are very complete as to all duties and expectations, a policy manual with the rules and guidelines, and a strong vision statement for the practice that they are working towards.
This is the big one!!!! Most bosses do not give positive [firm] enough direction or orders to their staff. I used to be guilty of that! For instance, I would ask if they could please get the mailing out the door by Friday and they would say they “would try.” Come Friday, it would not have been done and now it would take a gargantuan effort to pull it off, but more usually, it would just float on into the next week. The answer was learning how to give POSITIVE direction and orders. Night and day result! Now I say with great firmness and positiveness: “I want the mailing done and out the door by Friday. What do you need to get it done?” and I work through each of the things that are needed and require organizing (ordering more letter head, who can pitch in to help and when, etc.). Weak orders leave room for non-compliance.
Priorities have not be set
Perhaps you have never worked out the priorities of each position in the practice, or clarified them for the staff when you give an order that will alter the usual priorities. For example – at the front desk:
- Priority #1: Do whatever you have to do to give perfect service to every patient or client who walks in the door today. Exceed their expectations and ensure that they feel like a “somebody” – i.e. important. This starts at the front door when they walk in and applies all through the practice until they walk back out the front door.
- Priority #2: Confirm tomorrow’s patients to ensure that they get the service they should be coming in for. This may include phone calls, texts and emails till you reach the person and confirm them.
- Priority #3: Do the recalls/reminders/reactivations that will fill up the next week or two in order to deliver the ideal service that the patient or client should be having next.
Then, if you give the front desk person an order to do, say, a newsletter and they feel they can’t do that AND the above top priorities, they should offer you a solution/proposal that will ensure the mailing project gets done … such as hiring a high school student for 2 hours per day after school for 5 days. Spend $100 and save yourself from losing $3,000 from no shows due to lack of confirms being done or openings from not enough recalls being done.
Inadequate follow up and accountability
You must always diarize yourself to follow up on any orders given. The best way to give an order is in writing with explicit directions and a time frame firmly named. When the order has been done, it should be put in your in-basket with a “DONE” on it. Another way of following up generally to “see” if systems and procedures have been dropped out is by noticing whether statistics in the area concerned are going up or down. Example: No Shows statistic is worsening – this may mean that confirms weren’t done properly. Statistics measure quantity and quality of service to the practice’s clientele. For more information about the importance of using statistics click here.
Lack of incentives
Bonus systems and other methods of incentivizing are super important in order to recognize hard work that results in increased production and income. Lunches, games, gift cards, acknowledgements at a staff meeting, a thank you card … all these and more can encourage accountability in getting things done.
Take some time to work out how to fix the above and watch things get done and your staff shine!