First, allow me to congratulate you on your achievements. As a solo practitioner
with one million gross, you're in an elite group.
Practice growth inevitably necessitates
more staff. A larger staff can create a management nightmare. Doctors find themselves
in the exam room more with less time to assure staff is staying within the bounds
of office policy procedures. Individual personalities may clash within departments.
These types of human dynamics in the workplace are morale busters. create tension
and stress in all departments.
Another common staffing behavior is "department
phobia" (a term I made-up). The employees who exhibit this behavior, have blinders
on when it comes to anything outside their own workstations. For example, the optical
department is over-loaded with patients and there aren't enough frame stylists (opticians)
to handle the crowd. Front office staff is in a temporary down time, yet no one
steps out of their department to assist. This creates feuds among departments, destroys
the team concept, long wait periods and inconveniences patients.
employees are self-starters who take on responsibility, have awareness and common
sense. It is unfortunate but true that these behavior patterns occur due to lack
of oversight and management.
Nice guys finish last
Dr. S. Sorsee called my company for a consultation
and disclosed staffing issues as I have discussed. After observing his staff, meeting
with them both as a group and one-on-one, I determined that this group had no boundaries.
There were arguments, cliques, departmental feuds, excessive tardiness, improper
language and discussions in front of patients and tremendous time embezzlements
for starters. Dr. Sorsee was "nice to a fault." He enabled negative behavior.
The doctor would never be a hands-on
manager, so I appointed two supervisors: one for optical and one for front desk
and technicians. I gave the them three months to demonstrate their managerial skills.
I spelled out their duties and was available by e-mail, fax and phone to assist
along the way. As they showed they could handle management responsibilities, I empowered
them to make decisions on their own. Each department now has a "state patrolman"
with the knowledge and authority to control behavioral patterns as defined by the
office's standard operating procedures. The results have been tremendous.
It was necessary to terminate three
"anchors" and replace them with team performers. The result for Dr. Sorsee is an
organization that exhibits high morale, professionalism, efficiency and productivity.
He is smiles and enjoys his practice more than ever.
Optometric practices are professional
businesses that require employees with varied dynamics. It is your duty to have
checks, balances and controls to assure the operation runs smoothly with minimal
DR. KATTOUF IS
PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF TWO MANAGEMENT AND
CONSULTING COMPANIES. FOR INFORMATION, CALL
(800) 745-EYES OR E-MAIL HIM AT ADVANCEDEYECARE@HOTMAIL.COM.
THE INFORMATION IN THIS COLUMN IS BASED ON ACTUAL