In last week’s Make Your Mark, I mentioned the art of over-communicating and how that will support your success when you start working in your office again. Today, I am going to provide you with three steps to support the “soft” skills that I was referring to; the more difficult skills of minimizing office politics, minimizing confusion and keeping morale and productivity high. A healthy organization will Emerge Stronger from this pandemic.
Step One: In some cases, you have been working side by side with your team for many years. As owners we are trained to never show our vulnerability to our team. In this case I would relax your usual stance and let them know that you are nervous too about coming to work with the new regulations and the PPE. The place that you call “home” has been invaded with barriers of all kinds. It is also going to be initially very tiring for you and them with all of the extra added steps. Acknowledging that it is affecting you as well, will build a lot of trust with your team. You may have had trust with them before, but you will need to build their trust around these new circumstances and adding some vulnerability in will go far for you.
Step Two: Your team needs to have one Rally Cry right now. It can’t be each area of the office having their own concerns in their own silo, every decision in the office should be based on one Rally Cry. My suggestion is that the initial Rally cry for each office is SAFETY. Every decision, every temporary measure, every step of every day should be decided by your Rally Cry.
Step Three: Have effective meetings far more frequently than ever before. There should be one meeting a day (possibly midday) to discuss how the morning went, what you can expect to happen in the afternoon and to discuss what is needed for the following morning. This is about a team check in as well as the patients. Go back to your Rally Cry daily and check in.
I would have your team keep track of all the new touch points with a stoplight system. I would have a list of every new initiative in the office and daily everyone has a chance to rate it as a green, meaning I am good to go on it. A yellow rating means that I am cautious and may not be comfortable with it yet and a red rating means we aren’t hitting any success with this point yet. This kind of system will give the entire team a chance to weigh in and let you know how they are feeling. Right now, for your patients to feel comfortable you and your team need to feel comfortable as well.
As I close this edition of MYM, I want to remind you to keep in touch with your practice advisors. You have chosen your support team of accountant, lawyer and practice management coach for a reason. If you don’t have these professionals in place, I would advise that you choose your team now. Although you don’t feel that you can afford outside help now, it will actually save you money in the long run. Mistakes can be costly, let your trusted advisors guide you. There are too many “experts” out there right now who are offering solutions without plans. Developing a plan with those you trust, will help your practice Emerge Stronger.