DENTAL PRACTICE ARTICLES
Empower Your Team with Standardized Operating Policies and Procedures
Standardized daily operating policies and procedures help your dental team to align production goals with the daily activities that support the goals. They provide structure and support for the day to day activities as well as training guidelines for new staff.
When you construct internal policies and procedures, and share a ‘big picture’ view of where you are headed, you hone your team’s ability to synchronize efforts for the execution of the daily tasks and gain the commitment needed. It is important to clarify expectations so the team understand what needs to be done, why it needs to be done and how to do it.
Start by identifying key targets: Think about what is most important to your office? For example; the financial performance of the practice, operational efficiency and marketing effectiveness are key performance indicators that move your practice forward.
The outcomes must be clear, specific and measurable, for example reduce downtime by 10%. How will that be achieved? By prescheduling all hygiene appointments, avoiding no shows and short notice cancellations, eliminate holes in schedule, etc. Expected outcomes must be relevant to the job and support the operational plan of the practice. If you want the sundry supplies to stay within 5% of production, provide the lead assistant with a dollar figure that she is expected to stay within. It is helpful if you involve the staff developing operational plans that support your budget, because people commit to what they help create. Then the budget and the operational plans become more than static documents in an active world, they become living documents, adaptive and responsive to change.
Reviewing the operational plans during team meetings is a superb coaching process and will help your practice to stay current. Your staff will acquire the know-how of asking questions, for example, does this policy fit with your primary objectives, or do you need to make revisions?
When your dental team members exercise their skills of inquiry and encourage the open expression of all viewpoints, this threads these dialogues together, builds relationships and energizes your people to expand their capacities. This process helps your staff to build confidence and core competencies, in the dental practice and in themselves. The team knows that they can meet and exceed your expectations and create positive outcomes. You must be sure that each person is consistent in practice and has the right information to create accountability for what they do on a daily basis.
Standard operating policies and procedures help to link targets with reality. They are the foundation of the process that develops your social operating system. They are the bedrock of accountability and help team members take ownership of their daily tasks.
To effectively execute a tactical plan requires you to take the following actions:
Give all those involved in executing the tactical plan the resources and level of authority they need to do their part.
Make sure that effective modes of communication are in place to minimize the conflict or overlap of activities
Continuously monitor progress to ensure that you are on target
Information is the path to empowerment. As a dentist you simply don’t have the time to communicate your expectations on an on ongoing basis. Creation of standard operating policies and procedures helps to clearly state what is expected and how to perform the task(s). It also forms the basis for performance reviews.
The financial health and sustainability of dental offices, especially during times of change and economic stress, depends on the widespread dissemination of information throughout an organization. Employees must be empowered with information so that they can make the best decisions at every level in the organization quickly and decisively.
To empower your employees is to do three actions:
- Give employees the freedom to get a job done (no breathing down their necks).
- Provide employees with the right level of support to get the job done well, including information, training, resources, and so on.
- Hold employees accountable to produce the outcomes needed.
Your greatest potential for continued growth exists in the potential, talent and empowerment of your staff. Give all those involved in executing the tactical plan the resources and level of authority they need to do their part
The heart of the working of a business is how the three processes of people, strategy and operations link together. Administrative leadership involves leaders who master the individual process and the way they work together as a whole. Leaders are the foundation for the discipline of execution, at the center of conceiving and executing a strategy. The discipline of execution based on three core processes is beating heart of your organization.
Author: Sandie Baillargeon