Catch Your Staff Doing Something Good!
Over the last few decades, I have been jaded toward my staff. I would catch them reading the newspaper during work, surfing the Internet, socializing and throwing work out, so I wouldn’t catch them not being up to date. Just to show you how terrible I was as a boss, I installed surveillance cameras throughout the office, without their knowledge, to see what was really going on, as I had a hard time paying my bills and I was busy. It had to be them! I told you, I was really, really bad as a business person for many years.
Now, here is the worst. I caught an associate doctor stealing software from my personal office and in the same month, caught my office manager doing the “nasty” on the couch in my office with another doctor. As I fired both of them, I informed them I wouldn’t tell their individual spouses if they left quietly and didn’t file unemployment against the company. I had no control over my office…that is the understatement of the decade! As a note, it took many gallons of very strong disinfectant before I could sit on that couch…Ughhhh!!!!!!!
It was about that time, I realized I was going about managing my office all wrong. I gave my staff too much free reign and I would react with anger after the fact. I was living in the world of effect and not cause. My business life was upside down, just like many of our patients’ approach to health.
It was at this time, I hired consultants. I hired a consultant with 3 other doctors for 60 days at a cost of $116,000.00. It was the best money I ever spent, as I learned how to get control over my business. I created office manuals and wrote up every task in the office with scripting. I became system dependent instead of people dependent. It gave me freedom and efficiency. I also got paid by having a system that no one could deviate from, as they now had clear direction…including me.
One thing I did institute that I learned from my daughter’s elementary school principal, 20 years ago, but never practiced it because I was a stupid, self-centered, egotistical ass…You get the picture… Basically, I thought more of myself than anyone else in my office. This principal would walk the hallways with a clipboard and certificates and catch the students doing things that were good. Cleaning up after themselves in the lunchroom, carrying someone else’s books, smiling brightly, etc… He would stop the student, write them a certificate to take home with a “Caught you Being Good Citation” and bring the student to his office to call their parents to tell them how great their child was in school. The previous principal was like me in my office and the environment was negative, bordering on hostile. Teachers and students alike did not like going to school and work. The new principal's actions transformed the entire environment of the school and to this day, my children have the best memories about elementary school.
After I found my office manager and the other doctor in my office along with not being able to pay my bills, I decided it was time to do something drastic…look in the mirror and learn from elementary school! I embarked on a mission where every day I would look for something positive from at least 1 staff member and privately thank them for a job well done. As I had over 20 staff members, full and part time, it took me a few weeks to cover everyone. I never deviated from that practice, as my entire office transformed because I transformed. My patients commented on how my staff was so much happier and they were benefitting from the change. As a result, my volume increased. Please note, I still cannot sit on that couch, but I refuse to remove it, as a reminder of how I failed my staff by being a jackass.
Although I no longer have an office, I have fond memories of my escalating my appreciation for my staff, as I became the coffee and bagel boy at my expense. This created staff getting in early to have breakfast on me, because they couldn’t eat while they worked…a no-no in our written policy, but they were so happy because I was buying! An extra $150 per month for bagels caused my 1st hour of practice to now have a full schedule, as the staff was there early and no longer late. This allowed the patients to feel confident that if they got there early, there would be no wait, because all of the staff showed up on time. Everyone won! Transforming my office did one other thing; it made it fun for me, too, and to this day, I run into old staff members who tell me working for me was the best job they ever had. That is one accomplishment I am very proud of, as I deeply cared for my staff!