Recently, I traveled to a conference that focuses on the administrative side of your practice. It was very powerful, and it got me thinking about the owners I help.
Many struggle with handling the administrative side of their practice like I did when Mike and I were getting started.
I had been a PT for well-over 18 years when I decided to take over the administrative side of our practice. It wasn’t a difficult choice because I saw our expansion and the need for more control. The difficult part was figuring out how to implement more effective control. I know that we were blessed because it was Mike and I working together - so I could handle the day to day administrative actions and Mike could run the production side of the practice and work on building his dream. Many times though, there’s only one owner, who is 'doing it all' and this can result in administrative actions being set aside due to the “busy-ness” of production. And while it can seem like the only plausible action at the time, it's almost always at the expense of the practice. And here’s why…
Definition: relating to the running of a business, organization, etc.
Definition: the process or activity of running a business, organization, etc.
What happens when we don't focus on the administrative side of our practice
By not wearing the administrative hat to establish policy that is essential to the day to day management of our practice, by not ensuring there’s a consistent flow of potential new hires being interviewed and run through a set process, by not ensuring our employees have quality training in place that ensures that they can and will do their jobs well, we - as owners - end up with more work and less effective 'management' and less control in our practices. This usually leads to confusion and inefficiency as well as upset, frustration, and burnout for the owner. In the end, we work harder to ensure that our team gets paid; usually before we do. We’ll take home problems that are occurring in the practice that could be handled with standard policy and processes; which then takes away from our personal and family time. We’ll see our practice and staff stats/metrics roller-coaster; causing frustration and confusion as to what to do next. And most of all, we won’t see the expansion we know is possible.
Ever feel like your next big break, big expansion is sitting just around the corner; but you just can’t seem to get there?
Initially, wearing the administrative hat was very difficult for me. I was trained as a PT and the reason I got into medicine was to help people. So, how could I work as an administrator and still help others and also be effective?Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever struggle with the confusion of how to best manage others without holding a hammer or being so generous that someone else ends up being ‘in control’? Do you ever feel unsure on how to train your team, how to establish a well-written job hat that ensures a new hire can be trained and duplicate the actions necessary to produce? I understand how difficult it can be and I also learned what ‘not to do’ the hard way. My goal is to make it easier for you.
How do we establish Effective Management?
Effective management starts with proven systems and well-trained employees. Without a specific system in place to ensure that things run smoothly, there is chaos. Without your team being well-trained on the duties and specific actions of their post, you end up with employees who make up their own way of doing things and many times, they aren’t efficient or effective in getting their product. This costs you patients and, in the end, time and money.
By about the 3rd time I didn’t get paid - because we couldn’t make payroll - I was really upset (and that's putting it mildly)! I was working 70 hours a week and I was the one who wasn’t getting paid. I was angry, frustrated, confused, and ready to throw in the towel.
But then I realized something; it was my fault that this kept happening. It was my fault because there were no effective systems in place to ensure actions could be duplicated patient-to-patient, and employee-to-employee which resulted in inconsistency. We didn’t have the necessary training programs in place to ensure that our employees were well-trained in their job duties which resulted in ineffective staff and a LOT of lost income for the practice.
Once I made these changes, I no longer had to work 70-hour weeks and not get paid. You see, by training our team and ensuring that there were effective systems in place to handle common patient issues, I established effective control and provided myself with a way of ensuring that it could be reproduced over and over again. It removed confusion, prevented employees from 'doing it their way', and in the end I had built a well-run machine.
It’s our job as the owners and managers to ensure that our employees are well-trained in their job duties; that they can and will be able to perform the actions necessary to produce.
If we don’t put those systems in place, then it’s on us when someone doesn’t produce and as such, we’re the ones who suffer. Are you tired of mis-action or in-action on your team?
Here are a few things to can do right now to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you:
Train your team and train them well
Ensure that employee training is in place and not just some random action. Without training, people make up what needs to happen and everyone does it their way.
Ensure that everyone has a job hat written and in place
If you don’t, you’ll end up with employees who are very effective and others who aren’t; and this can breed dissatisfaction and confusion with both employees and patients.
Don’t just hire someone with ‘experience’ and hope they can get it done
There need to be systems and control in place to ensure that everyone does it your way, not some ‘other way’. Many times, we hire people who had ‘experience’ and that doesn’t always work out. Ensure they are trained well based on your expectations.
Put systems in place that are effective and efficient.
Have systems that handle common problems that occur in your practice and ensure that you get a good return on your investment. If you don’t install quality systems, you end up only get 20% of what you could get if they were in place.
Hire only the best.
Don’t hire someone who reports that they did the job for someone else without ensuring they can do it really well for you. Put in place, effective hiring practices that ensure you hire someone who can and will do the job you need them to do. It isn’t your responsibility to give them a job, it’s their responsibility to earn it. Make sure your hiring process reduces the risk of hiring the wrong person so you don’t waste time and money only to have to start over.
Hold people accountable.
If you have quality training, effective systems, and a set way to do their job, you should also hold your employees accountable for getting it done. If they aren’t producing, why keep them around? That too is costing you.
Make time to wear the Director of Admin hat.
Make time each week that takes you out of production and lets you wear the administrator hat for a few hours. This gives you time to look, listen, and plan. This is your practice and without effective administration, you will lose time and money.
Stop losing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. If you want to ensure consistent expansion in your practices, establish systems in place, train your team and ensure they are achieving your practice goals, and begin wearing the administrative hat. Don’t let the busy-ness of the production stop you; and don’t wait to start putting in systems. Your practice success begins with YOU wearing the administrative hat.
Wishing you the best, today and always, Dee