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Q&A – Resistance To Change

QUESTION (via email)

Hi Mike,
Just wanted some frank opinion on ________ (Front Desk) She is highly compensated and beginning to push back a bit on moving forward. She is complaining of too much work and not enough time. Stated she had to come in extra to catch up, then cancelled out of coming in at last minute leaving office with no coverage today. ____________ had a DR’s appointment. Is this a function of poor systems or is she unable or willing to work at it harder?
Dr. _______________________


ANSWER (via email)

First and foremost, it is a reflection of the culture of the practice. The reason I sent job descriptions and a policy manual was to create a black and white standard by which all staff members can be judged. It is chiseled in concrete and it does not change regardless of the staff member. In this case, no one should be able to take off for a doctors appointment. They do it on their day off. ________ needs to do what her job description dictates be done during her normal hours. I understand that she is paid with a salary, but I don’t know what that would equate to hourly. You are probably correct that she is over-compensated which is probably the result of longevity rather than merit. If you allow her to push back on change, fail to follow through with doing what she said she would do, or allow her to set a poor example, you are encouraging others to do the same. I would begin looking for another front desk person to create phantom pressure on ________ and signal the other staff that unlike the past, you will not back down or change your mind about where you want the practice to go. At the same time, you need to speak with ________ and find out what is going on. Let her know how valuable she is to you, but if she is not happy, you would be fine letting her move on. Be nice, listen, but be very firm and transparent about your vision for the practice. Lastly, it is also a systems problem. They cannot continue to alter systems any time they wish. Systems and your vision should rule the day. They deserve to see a very black and white vision of what you want and require for them to remain a vital asset for the practice.


Michael Abernathy, DDS
[email protected]
972-523-4660 cell