I have talked at great length about the importance of creating systems to ensure that your practice functions efficiently, freeing you up to spend your time with patients and performing high-level strategic functions. Of course, creating systems that function efficiently, time after time, can be a challenge. The truth is that no matter how talented and well-trained your team may be, they are still human—and humans are unpredictable and prone to mistakes. Today I am going to share four tips that will help you create efficient and effective systems that stand the test of time.
1) Specific assignments for your team. Whether it is your system for managing patient files, keeping the books, or even answering the phone, it is essential that each member of your staff involved knows exactly what is expected of them. Don’t leave anything to chance, and don’t trust the “common sense” of your team to figure it out. Everyone involved should know exactly what is expected of them – and they must be held accountable.
2) Clear metrics of success. Define the objectives of each system so that you can tell whether or not you are on track. This can be as simple as making sure that every invoice goes out on time, or that your phone never rings for more than 15 seconds before it is answered.
3) Built-in flexibility. You can always count on something unexpected to go wrong—that’s the beauty of life. As you are creating systems for your practice, build in flexibility so that when the unexpected happens, you can adjust. This could mean creating a system to ensure that all of your bills are paid two days early, so that an unforeseen delay doesn’t make you late. Or it could mean keeping extra supplies on hand so that a delayed shipment from a vendor doesn’t leave you out of luck. Plan for the unexpected, and design your systems to be able to cope.
4) Regular review and adjustment. Now that you’ve defined your metrics of success for each system, take the time to review each on a regular basis and look for areas that need improvement.
Effective systems are the key to running a profitable dental practice. If you’d like to learn more, contact me today!