Team building questions revolve around hiring, sharing goals and holding team meetings to raise engagement and revenue
When it comes to success, you are only as good as your team. It’s not just the people you hire, but also how you manage them that makes the most significant impact. All too often, we try to do everything ourselves and run ourselves into the ground with minimal impact on our businesses. Great teams don’t just happen by accident. They are created with purpose and vision. It’s much easier than you think to answer team building questions and build a powerhouse team in your office.
Find strengths for weaknesses
When it comes to hiring for your practice, choose candidates who are self-reliant, take the initiative, and are diverse in their way of thinking. You do not want to surround yourself with people who think like you. It’s more important to fill in the gaps and hire employees whose strengths are your weaknesses. You want to hire people who will represent the profession of chiropractic and your practice well. You also want to find candidates who have the potential for longevity in your business. Turnover is expensive, and you are wasting time and resources by hiring people who are not looking for long-term employment.
Training is essential, and all too often, it’s a step that is overlooked in most businesses. We can’t expect our teams to operate at their full potential without providing the resources for them to do their jobs effectively. It would be best if you had a general training plan for all of your employees and a more specific training plan that addresses their particular job responsibilities. Skipping this step, or cutting corners, will only get in the way of your business success.
Goals and collaboration
Every employee on your team should have specific responsibilities and goals. Provide regular feedback, be direct and encourage your team to communicate on what works and what doesn’t work in your practice. If a process in your office is creating a roadblock, work with your team to find a better way to get tasks done. When tasks have always been done a particular way, it doesn’t mean it should stay that way. Be open to collaborating with your team to improve operations and efficiency.
Lead your team with a strong vision and values. Take some time to determine what your team building questions and goals are for your practice. What do you value? What is your vision for the future? Share this with your team and let it guide you in the decision-making. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Better yet, how will you know how to get there? Share your goals with your team and provide regular updates to let them know where you are as a team in achieving those goals.
Team building questions: empowerment and learning from mistakes
Don’t micromanage. Hire people you trust to get the job done. Empower your team to make decisions when it comes to executing their job responsibilities. Mistakes will happen from time to time, but that is OK. Mistakes provide the best educational opportunities. Encourage your team to own their mistakes.
One of our long-time employees frequently shares with new employees the time she made a $3,000 mistake. The minute she realized the error, she came to me and laid it out; what happened, her part in it and how she could fix it. Not once did she make excuses or place the blame on others. I could have been angry, but it wouldn’t have accomplished anything more than encouraging her to not be so forthcoming in the future. Instead, I thanked her for her transparency and assisted her with fixing the problem. She shares the story to let everyone on our team know that we don’t expect you to be perfect. We expect you to be human. We are here to help and learn from one another.
Spread out the responsibility
Don’t depend on the same person each time you have a task or a project that needs to get done. Spread out the responsibility. Give your team projects to manage that they are passionate about and that will provide them with an opportunity to shine a light on their strengths.
I have an employee who is very detail-oriented and organized. When we have projects, such as updating procedure manuals or creating procedures for new processes, she is my go-to person for executing these responsibilities. I have another employee who loves to establish new processes and procedures and test out new products and services. She gravitates to anything new in the office. If I were to ask her to create a procedure manual for these new processes, she would be lacking a lot of content and it would probably take months to complete. Whereas her co-worker, who is extraordinarily detail-oriented, can knock it out in just a few days. So, one will implement a new process, and the other will document the steps. Their strengths complement one another, and together they get it done.
Encourage and provide additional educational opportunities. It is not enough to drag your team to your annual convention to obtain necessary licensure hours. If you have an employee who works in billing and coding, send him or her to earn certifications in billing and coding. Don’t think of these opportunities as an additional expense, but as an investment. Employees trained in billing and coding make fewer mistakes, collect more revenue, and run this vital area of your practice more efficiently. Send your CTAs to seminars on the latest techniques for effective therapy, benefits of taping, etc. There are many opportunities to invest in your team members, and the more they know, the more you know.
Team meetings: getting on the same page
Don’t overlook the importance of team meetings. Many of my colleagues view team meetings as a waste of time. After all, if we are not treating patients for an hour, we are not generating revenue.
Team meetings are vital to keeping everyone focused and moving in the right direction. Meetings should start and stop on time, have a detailed agenda, and be held on the same day/time each week. We keep our agenda in Google Docs, and it allows for every member of the team to add items to discuss. We don’t always get through every issue — some carry over to the following week — but it allows everyone to contribute to the conversation. We start each meeting reviewing our core values and our mission. We review our scorecard, a Google sheet that has all of the numbers we track in the office, with each reported by the person responsible for meeting those numbers. Together, we identify issues, cover any new training, and provide updates on individual projects taking place in the office. Any time a project gets off track, we discuss it as a team. Often, other team members can offer a new perspective or provide assistance to help get the job done. Those are the moments I love best. I sit back and listen to them collaborate on issues and work together to solve problems.
An engaged team increases operational income by over 19%, while a disengaged team can drain over 34% of a business’s operational income (Associated Benefits and Risk Consulting, 2014). Additional risks of low engagement can be seen in increased turnover and low patient satisfaction ratings. When we take the time to focus on building teams within our clinics, we see results. There has never been a better time to allocate the time and resources to build your ultimate team. It takes hard work and requires you to make tough decisions and answer those team building questions. But in the end, it can pay dividends if you have what it takes to see it through. Trust me.
Ray Foxworth, DC, FICC, MCS-P, is a certified Medical Compliance Specialist and President of ChiroHealthUSA. A practicing chiropractor, he remains “in the trenches” facing challenges with billing, coding, documentation and compliance. He has served as president of the Mississippi Chiropractic Association, is a former staff chiropractor at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center, and is a Fellow of the International College of Chiropractic.