One of the areas in business management that is consistently overlooked is staff development. Most chiropractors dislike the management side of running a chiropractic business because their hearts are dedicated to serving their patients. The reason why so many doctors continue to improve their clinical skills and techniques long after graduation is that they are designed by nature to be passionate healers. However, they are not necessarily inwardly driven to improve their business skills or knowledge in practice management and, as a result, the business side of their practice usually has room for improvement..
Staff development should be a priority for every practicing chiropractor. There will never be a practice that will outgrow the development of the people who work within it. Many chiropractors are ignoring the most valuable commodity they have, their staff.
Development of yourself and others is one of the most rewarding privileges that business ownership provides. Staff should feel they are developing daily or they will become disengaged and bored or, even worse, treat their positions like a job rather than a career.
Does this sound like your practice environment? Here are five warning signs of staff under development.
1. High staff turnover
2. Your greatest source of internal referrals is not your staff
3. Your patients would score higher than your staff on chiropractic knowledge
4. Your services/collection ratios average less than 90% per month
5. You would rather have a root canal than an office staff meeting
Simply put, you are not leading anyone if you are not developing someone. If you are only known as the "check signer," that makes you the boss, not the leader. Once a doctor has taken an active role in leadership and mentoring his staff, the production or revenue in that office increases. In fact, you will never reach stress-free production levels without good staff, and that only comes from staff development.
People are starving for leadership. Nobody wants a dead end job. However, in environments where there is a lack of leadership, this is exactly the result. If you make an effort to become a leader within your practice and require accountability from your staff, you will be surprised with the results. Regularly we hear, once a doctor has taken an active role in leadership and mentoring his staff, the production in that office has a substantial increase.
We realize there are many chiropractic doctors struggling to pay their bills and keep their practices afloat. With those valid concerns on their mind, leadership skills may be the last thing they care about right now. Nevertheless, taking an interest in developing staff and their leadership skills may be the very thing that provides the growth that practice so desperately needs.
Doctors, you owe it to your staff and your practice to take charge. In fact, your practice will never reach its full potential without staff development.
Find someone who can mentor you and provide some leadership skills in practice management. Once you gain some confidence, you will find there is a motivating, self-confident and worthwhile leader lying dormant within you who is ready and able to share this skill with other members on your team.
Give me a great doctor and a poorly developed staff and you will get mediocre results. Give me a mediocre doctor with a highly developed staff and the practice will flourish! You may be surprised to know that it’s not you that determines the outcome of your production, it’s your staff. An investment in your staff is an investment in your practice. Help them develop personally and professionally. With your help they can thrive and, when they thrive, so does your practice!
Tom Owen III, President of AMC, lectures extensively from coast-to-coast to thousands of chiropractors and students annually. He is the author of Chiropractic from a Business Man’s Perspective, and has spent the last 25 years in the day-to-day trenches of the chiropractic profession. He lives by his quote that "In the end, all that is left are the lives we’ve touched and to what extent they were changed."
Dr. Osborne, a 1989 graduate of Palmer College, ran a successful high volume multiple doctor practice, and is currently Vice President of AMC, Inc., as well as an author and lecturer. Visit www.amcfamily.com or call (877) AMC-7117 for more information.