If you live in or around Orlando, Florida, the world appears to be about characters.
Yet the truth is, no matter the city, every business is filled with a cast of characters performing a daily show. Consider their performance and management like the making of a movie.
There is a director, a producer, a cast of characters, and special effects that together make up the trailer that precedes the movie. How do these parts relate to one another? How do they all manage to do the right thing to make the story rich and appealing?
They each play their part.
Each has been selected for their special talent, look, or accent. The casting director brings out the very best in them. The same holds true for the business owner or practice manager with a team of employees. The biggest difference is that the viewers of a business get to see the figurative movie in production, versus a movie audience only sees the final outcome.
Were the cast members of your practice specially selected? Have their lines and scenes been managed in advance? Are your characters working well together? If not, or if your desire is for them to be even better, consider these guidelines for a winning production.
Choose the screenplay
What is the story of your practice? Is it a love story? An action-adventure tale? A soap opera? What is the story you want to tell your patients, and what emotions do you want them to experience?
Movies are stories that come to life. Businesses offer services and products that come to life for buyers. Tell a bad story and people will stop buying.
Your employees can create emotions and share a part of the story for patients in a chiropractic practice. To manage and lead your team while keeping them motivated, each employee (or character) needs to know their role and how it fits into the larger picture.
If you don’t craft a compelling story, your employees will be left to flounder or create one of their own (and their story may not necessarily align with your practice or profit goals). There is a vast difference between choosing cast members for a movie and hiring employees to serve popcorn to viewers. Which one best describes those employees who greet your patients and run your practice?
The casting call
There is a vast difference between choosing cast members for a hit movie and just filling chairs. What cast is needed to tell your story the right way? Helen Mirren and her British accent may not have fit the right time, place, or age needed to make the story believable had she been Belle in the recent Beauty and the Beast.
What type of background do your employees require, what skills do they need, and what sort of demeanor should they have?
These requirements are more important than a person’s experience level or previous job history. When you’re interviewing to find the ideal cast member for your prac- tice, focus less on a résumé and more on the candidate’s ability to interact, connect, synergize, and collaborate with other team members and patients.
Perhaps you need a massage therapist who has a luxury spa background and a thick skin for working with a demanding clientele. Or maybe you’re seeking a person good at multitasking because payroll only allows for one more headcount, but the practice really would benefit from one-and-a-half more people.
You might be looking for the natural smile and motherly demeanor of that ideal front desk person who remembers every patient’s name and makes them feel welcomed. Special traits are a challenge to train and are most often natural gifts.
What’s more, special traits are the clincher when the selection between potential cast members is a close call. These are qualities that employees bring, deliver, and maintain with little or no effort. Bringing them out does not require constant leadership or motivation if you have hired people who already have the best gifts within them. Watching these team members shine in the area of their special abilities is a joy, and they usually only need to be given general guidelines about how to operate.
Give them their lines
With the previous points in mind, it’s time to consider the matters of managing and motivating. If a movie director assembles an undisciplined cast, who are lacking in talent, disinterested, poorly focused, and rebellious, the movie will be doomed.
The same can happen to any business if the characters are not a good fit and lacking talent. It’s especially pressing if the product or service is a nice-to-have. You can get away with poor cast members if you’re just selling groceries—everyone needs groceries and customers usually are looking for low prices more than stellar service.
But the story in a chiropractic practice is about being an addition to a patient’s healthcare needs—their insurance may not even cover it. So, once cast members have been brought in to bring your story to life, the next step is to give them their lines.
Tell them what to say, who the target patient is, how to manage logistics, how soon to report problems, and what the desired office feel and energy level should be. Give cast members their lines and their roles and then get out of their way.
Stick to the story
Many doctors and practice owners begin by enforcing adherence to their practice rules and procedures. But if a practice doesn’t have the right cast of characters, gaining employee compliance is an exercise in futility. If the practice lacks clarity on the type of patient it serves, the type of environment it should be, and the quality of service each patient receives, then conjuring up the motivation to stick to a rule is difficult at best.
If team members are in roles that allow them to shine, where they can demonstrate their special traits, then motivation will come naturally. Motivated people don’t need more motivation.
Your academy awards
A chiropractic practice is not the same as a Hollywood movie set. Yet your employees provide a show for your patients, don’t they? A chiropractic practice is not the same as a Hollywood movie set. Yet your employees provide a show for your patients, don’t they? They smile even when their day is going bad, and are nice even when a patient ticks them off. The story is the type of practice for which this team wants to be known. The story is about reputation and branding. The characters are the team members who give life to the story and make it real for patients.
As the doctor, you can be the executive producer, director, and casting leader, or you can delegate some roles. But if the team you’ve assembled has bought in to the story, has the tools, lines, and directions needed to do what they do best, you will find they need minimal management—but you should still give out awards for stellar performances.
Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development coach, consultant, and professional speaker. As CEO of training firm Contagious Companies Inc., she and her team work with chiropractic practices, healthcare, retail, hospitality, government, and industry leaders to develop their leadership skills. She can be contacted at 866-382-0121, or through monicawofford.com or contagiouscompanies.com.