Asking the right questions will always be the first step in improving your practice. Often times we tend to major on the problems that we judge most pressing. The problem with this is that we nearly always are trying to put out “smoke” instead of the actual “fire”. When I speak with doctors, the norm is that they explain something as a “problem”, when in reality it is just a “symptom”: “I have a collections problem“, when really it is a lack of financial arrangements, or “I have a new patient problem”, when really the people that come in to see you don’t like your hours, systems, staff, etc. I find that one of the more pressing issues for us as coaches is helping the team and doctor realize that “they” are the problem, and that without making drastic changes in how you build this team, and create a culture in your practice that makes serving your patients your “job one” you will never sustain growth.
A 360-Degree Review is based on having everyone that interfaces with a particular staff member or doctor review that person, not just the office manager or doctor. Each one has a different relationship with that person and sees them in a different light. Regardless of the reason, each one will also see one another in a particular way. This type of review is the most profound way of understanding how each of us affects those around us. Like it or not, perception is most important. How you and each member of your staff are perceived by each person they have to work with is the best question of all. Without this on the table, we really can’t assess each member’s effectiveness.
In order to get the most unfiltered responses in this process, I feel like the doctor needs to be the first person to be reviewed. In leadership, you always begin with the leader when it comes to accountability and change. In order to begin changing any negative actions that your staff members seem to have, and in order to create a difference in the “culture” for the future, I would consider allowing the staff to do a review of each owner doctor and do it anonymously. I have included a link with this review form. It would be filled out by each employee, but then forwarded to me rather than being gathered by any one staff member. I want it to be totally anonymous so that the staff can vent and/or be totally honest on their perception of the questions formulated in the review form. I will collate the answers and return a summary sheet for each doctor in a few days. It is important that in reviewing the summary, you need to realize that with or without merit, the results reflect how your staffs see you. This can directly affect the direct referrals, the treatment acceptance, and the stress level in the office. Be sure you act in a very positive manner about the project and once you have the summary, it should be publically posted for the staff. You should then work to make improvements in all of the areas where you might be perceived as falling short. This should be repeated one more time anonymously before a final review where each person must sign the review. Exposing yourself to the hard truths of a 360-Degree Review, and the vulnerability you will feel at the comments and assessments of your performance and overall perception of your leadership skill, will be the perfect start to making an effort to then review each staff member. It also creates phantom pressure when they see how you act upon having the review, how it affects your current and future actions, and how much commitment you make to improving. It can be contagious and nothing but positive things will result if you do your part.
This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS