Strategies for Building a Strong Team
By Lisa Bilodeau, CA
"Great teams, great companies and great families have great leaders. Real leadership is the process of empowering others by abdicating one's power over them. It means to set others free to become all they can be in an atmosphere of inspiration, innovation and mutual respect."1 - Dr. Denis Waitley
You have invested a lot of time and money in finding the ideal team members. Now you need to invest even more to keep them with you for as long as possible. What you do at the beginning will determine the strength of their commitment.
It has been said, "It is not satisfied patients that refer, but enthusiastic patients that refer." Your enthusiasm about chiropractic will greatly affect the level of enthusiasm in your chiropractic assistant. Remember that an enthusiastic CA will tell the world about the benefits of chiropractic.
Here are some ideas to help you build your team's enthusiasm and, by doing so, help build your dream team:
- Have a "mission statement" (vision) and "office statement" (purpose) that the team understand and believe in.
- Have an Office Procedure Manual and a Team Office Policy Manual that cover the following issues:
- patient relations and communications, emphasizing that patients' needs come first and the importance of reporting patients' comments
- understanding chiropractic and being under chiropractic care
- addressing doctors in the office
- lunch breaks, eating areas and break times
- office equipment and maintenance for both office and personal use
- family health care plans
- seminar attendance
- duties and responsibilities: office appearance, office attire, personal hygiene, and use of the office telephone
- compensation and other factors
- office hours, tardiness, emergency leave, illness and vacations
- salary considerations, including bonuses, incentives and pay periods
- performance evaluations
- termination policies and procedures.
- Conduct structured individual evaluations at regular intervals. The doctors should evaluate the CA, the CA should do a self-evaluation, and equally important, the CA should evaluate the doctor. As Denis Waitley says, "I would rather watch a leader than listen to a leader." There is always room for improvement, and if you are not changing and growing, you are dying.
- Team meetings should be held at least once a week and should be structured. This is an opportunity for chiropractic education, role-playing, goal setting and solutions for challenges, as well as for praise and celebration. Suggested structure:
- Have rules stating what time the meeting will begin and end. Be sure to start and end on time.
- Start and end with a positive note.
- All team members are required to attend and contribute.
- Phone calls will be picked up by voice-mail or your answering machine/service.
- Team members take turns conducting meetings.
- Notes will be taken. The written format is as follows:
Opening chiropractic story: You can use brochures, a patient story, X-rays, client history or a video, which you can review and critique.
Reports and discussion by department: Department reports should include the front desk, appointment book/scheduling, insurance and collections, office supplies, health care classes, and team procedures.
Practice promotion projects: Include patient education theme for the next month, a review of the next three months, and the status and delegation of projects.
Office goals: Achievements, goals for next week and next month, as well as celebrations and acknowledgments.
- Job descriptions that clearly define the duties and responsibilities of each team member are essential. If you have written job descriptions, it is recommended that all team members receive a copy of all job descriptions. Give each team member a different colored highlighter, and ask that each member go through all of the descriptions and highlight the items that are their responsibility. At your next team meeting, review the lists together and find out what is getting done, what is not getting done, and what changes need to be made. Rewrite your updated job descriptions accordingly.
Remember that items 1-5 above will need to be reviewed and revised periodically to meet changing times and the needs of the community and team members. Also remember: If your team is not being trained, stop complaining and get them trained now. Don't expect anyone to read your mind and know what the job is if you don't have clearly written policy and procedure manuals in place. And finally, remember:
T - Together
E - Everyone
A - Achieves
M - More
- The Denis Waitley Ezine, March 2, 2005, Issue 22.
for previous articles by Lisa Bilodeau, CA.