Monday, 24 July 2017

I don't have enough time

This week I have had lots of conversations and communications with members of dental practice team, all with a common theme – “We don’t have enough time.”

I am being told that there isn’t enough time to
  • ·        Speak to patients
  • ·        Discuss treatment plans
  • ·        Spend time with the team
  • ·        Train the team
  • ·        Keep on top of compliance
  • ·        Keep track of the numbers and KPI’s
  • ·        Discuss adverse outcomes and near misses
  • ·        Review and up-date processes and protocols
  •          Learn, develop and train
  • ·        Etc, etc, etc

What are you too short of time to do?

There are only 24 hours in any one day for any one and the knack is how you manage yourself to make best use of the time you have here are some simple tips that will help you have the time you require

·        Do less you can action this by either saying “no” and delegate more.

·       Allocate time. For the tasks and responsibilities that you are failing to do, calculate how much time they will take and schedule the time in your diary to complete them.

·       Recruit – if your team don’t have the time available to do the what they need to maintain and improve the quality of treatment and care you offer, you will need to recruit more members to the team or use external contractors

·        Automate Some of what you do manually could be completed by software, or machinery, if so, bite the bullet by the appropriate tools to free up some time.

·        Ultilize the time you do have. If you have a FTA rather than a cup of coffee and a casual chat use the time to do something constructive.

·        Eliminate distractions. If. Like many you don’t get your tasks done because of too many distractions and interruptions, create open door and closed-door times. During closed door times, you are not to be disturbed save for a medical or other emergency.

·        Walk away. This may seem counter intuitive to walk away when you have too much to do and many incomplete tasks. However, evidence and experience shows that when you work for too long the number of mistakes you make increases. Step away, nourish, hydrate exercise and sleep so that you can return renewed, revived and reinvigorated.

     Let me know which of these strategies you have used an what difference it has made

Friday, 14 July 2017

Which box are you in?

I often get contacted by practice owners or practice managers because they have a high turnover of staff and want to stop the rot. The never ending revolving doors of staff members in and out is stressful, expensive, demoralizing and extremely time consuming.

Not surprisingly there is more to solving this problem than can be addressed in on blog and let’s make a start.
Consider the people who have left your emplyment and their reasons for leaving, where do they fit on the matrix below?

What do the axes relate to?
The X axis relates to how challenging the role is. This does not necessary hard it is more a function of variety, opportunity to learn, develop, and grow and having personal responsibility for achieving goals and targets.

The y axis is engagement, how much time you and your time spend interacting this could be;
ü  Being genuinely interested in how they are personally and professional
ü Listening to feedback
ü Productive staff meetings
ü 3/12 staff achievement and planning reviews
ü Informal ‘water cooler’ conversations
ü Social events
ü Empathy and compassion

Quadrants 1 and 4 are great fun places to work, where the team interact and get on, their mantra is “communication is the key to success” The same cannot be said about quadrants 2 and 3. Where “knowledge is power” and information is never shared. When I visit practices with high engagement they are buzzing and communication is effective I am expected and all members of the team know who I am and why I am visiting and make me feel welcome as I am sure they do for all their patients who look forward to their visits. By, contrast, when I visit 2 and 3 practices, it is a surprise to the receptionist that I am expected, there is nothing in the appointment book and they have not been told and no one else knows except the principal who is generally hiding in the surgery. Often described as mushroom management, keeping everyone in the dark it - it doesn’t work   A common plea from team members in quadrants 2 and 3 is “All I want is for the dentist to say, good morning, good bye and a thank you would be nice”. The key to creating high engagement is prioritizing time for conversations.
“A Problem can only be present when a conversation is absent”

Low challenge practices 1 and 2 are generally bumbling along with very little engagement from the principal. The team make the day to day decision and the practice owner offers little if any guidance. The mantra for these practices is “This is the way we have always done it”. The danger is that practice is out of date with compliance or new clinical advances and because there is standing still in business these practices are going backwards as those around them develop and grow. “If your practice is not growing it is dying”

High challenge practices, embrace learning development and improvement, they not only stay up-to-date, they lead the way. For these practices, the mantra is “good is not good enough”

Consider the matrix for a moment which box do you think is the most sustainable from a business perspective, rewarding to work in and the one that patients want to be treated in?

Box 1
A nice place to work and no-one is using their gifts or fulfilling their potential. Conversations in this quadrant tend to be much more personal or social and far less about work, with little or any targets or accountability- Cozy and mediocre.

Box 2
Team members are less likely to want to come to work because there is little comradery and the work is not challenging. Team members are generally bored and looking forward to payday. Apathetic and boring

Box 3
This is toxic an environment with little communication and high demands. Commonly in this quadrant, practices are understaffed, under resourced and there is a dictatorial style of management, staff meetings, if they happen, are a list of what has been done wrong. Discouraged and stressful.

Box 4
Utopia a practice where there are productive conversations, share understanding and appreciation of one another. There will be a vision for the practice and program of growth and development tailored to each team members. Team members in this quadrant are loyal and stay for years and will generally only leave because of re-location of a partner. Empowered and Fulfilling.

Which box are you in?

If you recognize that your practice is quadrant 1,2 or 3 and you want to move to quadrant 4 call me on 07989 757 884 and I will show you simple and effective tools to make the transition.

If you are in box 4, you know there is still room for improvement, and I can support you in your continued growth. Call me on 0798 757 884.