Speaker 1: Dr. Marketing Tips, paging Dr. Marketing Tips. Dr. Marketing Tips, you are needed in the marketing department.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast, your prescription to the answers you seek to grow your medical practice easier, better, and faster. This show is all about connecting practice administrators and medical marketing professionals with peers working in practices, learning from experiences, making mistakes and sharing successes. Let’s get started.
Jennifer: Hey there. Welcome to the Dr. Marketing Tips podcast. I am Jennifer.
Corey: And I’m Corey.
Jennifer: And today we’re going to talk with Corey about what he learned after a deep dive, brilliant eight hours session with a bunch of practice administrators where they went through some training on the Seven Habits for Highly Effective Leaders, which if you read Stephen Covey, you know that’s one of Stephen Covey’s bestselling books. And then they turned that into a full day intensive with all the practice managers. So Corey’s going to share with us some of the things that he learned. So Corey, let’s go ahead and get started. If you can give our listeners a brief overview of the course and what you learned and what you guys kind of discussed along the way.
Corey: Yeah, so like you said, it was an eight hour course and a lot of what we talked about what sort of the intense scrutiny and the focus on patient satisfaction and outcomes we’re all sort of facing, and this was specific to ophthalmology, but I think it applies to a range of sub specialties. And we discussed the increasing regulatory burden focused on payers, decreasing reimbursement, rising costs of staff and supplies and we also touched on physician and staff burnout.
Corey: And so this kind of set the stage for the seven habit discussion. And so once we kind of laid the groundwork, we went into areas that we need to improve and things that we should value. And then we actually went, I would say probably 80% of the day we went through the seven habits. So if you’re listening, don’t worry, we’re not going to have an eight hour podcast, but we’re going to kind of hit the highlights as we can. So I’m going to flip through some of my notes so you may hear that in the background, but yeah, we wanted to touch on some of the key points and takeaways from that.
Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. And that physician burnout thing is something that comes up all the time and it’s really not just physicians, even though physicians are at a higher rate. Practice administrators burnout at an accelerated rate I think as well. So what was kind of one of the, if you had to pin it down to one or two things, what was your key takeaway from this deep dive?
Corey: Yeah, I think one of the most important things that we talked about was sort of engagement with the staff and the physicians. So some of the goals when you’re looking at engagement, when it comes to physician that can help them decrease stress, reduce the probability of burnout, it allows them to focus on their passion, which is patient care obviously, more quality time with patients and a higher satisfaction overall with the practice of medicine.
Corey: And then on the flip side, when it comes to staff, when you’re engaging them, you’re really empowering your employees. And a greater engagement actually leads to a higher job satisfaction, increased employee retention, which is an issue that we hear more and more that practices are facing, they’re having problems with, and increased commitment to values and the mission of the practice. And actually one of the things that we talked about was it was almost like a little pop quiz where they were asking the administrators what was the mission and what were the values of the practice. That was actually a lot harder for some of them to answer than you may think.
Jennifer: Interesting. So one thing that I think about all the time is what’s the difference between a manager versus a leader. I know for me sometimes I get relegated to a management role because we’re a small team and somebody has got to manage the projects and make sure that they’re moving forward. But my strength is in the visionary and the leadership area, not in the management area. So I know that you said kind of offline that there was a discussion with this group about the difference between a manager and a leader. So tell us a bit about that discussion.
Corey: Yeah, that’s a great point. So leaders, they don’t really motivate anyone. They sort of create this culture that lets people reach their potential. So manager’s more about getting predictable results. You’re focused on the tangibles, that the system’s kind of rule the day there and honestly sometimes managers are money focused.
Corey: And leaders you’re more about inspiring the team. You’re focused on the intangibles, typically have a high emotional intelligence. You’re looking at sort of the big picture strategies and where relationships kind of ruled the day versus the systems and the processes and kind of getting into the weeds, which is more of like a manager role. Leader is sort of at a higher elevation, that’s sort of guiding the ship, if you will.
Jennifer: Absolutely. Well there you just said it to a T. That’s how I see myself. I hate being in that management role, but then it takes all kinds to make these practices run and to make our our marketing practice run too.
Jennifer: Okay, so let’s hear it. What are the seven highly effective habits of leaders?
Jennifer: If you like what you’re hearing and need some help marketing your medical practice this year, be sure and check us out at insightmg.com. That’s insight M as in marketing, G as in group .com. Don’t think you’ve got a budget for this kind of stuff, think again. We’ve got you covered. Make sure you schedule a free consult today.
Corey: All right, so habit number one was be proactive, which essentially is just saying that you need to recognize that change is needed and then you need to understand what change actually needs to happen. So here we talked about sort of the high, middle and low performing bell curve. So if you imagined that your employees are on a bell curve, the middle group is sort of like your average employee, then you’ve got the high end on the right side, low end on the left side. And what they were saying was when you’re looking at being proactive, one of the things that you can do is focus on the high end employees and kind of cut off the lower end employees, because if you think about how much time you spend sort of managing and trying to lead those individuals, it’s a lot of wasted time and effort, whereas the middle folks, if there are more sort of high performers in the area, they’ll tend to shift towards those high performing individuals.
Corey: So proactive leaders kind of take this responsibility for the current state. They acknowledge their role and they commit to change it and to make it better.
Jennifer: That’s great information, great information that can translate very well into the medical practices that we’re working with. So what’s the next one?
Corey: So habit number two was begin with the end in mind. So which is basically saying what is your ideal state, so where do you want to take the organization. So if your ideal state is you want to grow the practice by 20%, if you imagine yourself there, then you can sort of work backwards and say well how did we get here? Did we open a new location? Did we just become more efficient? Have we changed something to increase conversions from an online web standpoint or social standpoint? What has changed to get you to this ideal state? So if you start with the end in mind, it can kind of back you into potentially a strategy to help lead the team.
Jennifer: Yeah. And I think that’s great advice in a lot of areas, not just in leadership. But I know in marketing oftentimes when we’re starting to talk about budgets for the next year or something like that, it’s so important for us to understand how many patients you need and to understand the end result, what you’re looking to achieve. So maybe you’re looking to achieve 100 new patients or surgical procedures with XYZ Surgery. Well, then we can back into that number. And I think that’s kind of what you’re saying is start with the end in mind so that you can back into the number or back into that process in order to achieve the goal. All right. What’s number three?
Corey: So number three was putting first things first, which basically is just saying that, okay, so if you start with the end in mind, right, so you have your ideal state, well then you want to put the first things first. So what’s the easiest thing you can do that’s going to help you take a, it could be a baby step, could be a big leap and whatever, make progress toward your ideal state.
Corey: And one of the things that they were saying I thought was a really great piece of advice is if you break your goals into small pieces, then you can have quick wins. And when you have these quick wins, you can kind of get buy in from the entire staff. And that works from a management and a leadership position. So if you can have something, you can change a small system or a small process and then suddenly people start to say, oh, okay, so maybe they do know what they’re talking about, then you can kind of build that authority, you build that trust and once you have that trust, then you can take a little bit bigger of a step and a little bit bigger of a step. And so if you start with the first things first, you’ll wind up kind of backing into again, that ideal state with the end in mind.
Jennifer: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. I mean, having quick wins, I think that’s so important, especially as you’ve got a younger generation that has a younger attention span at times and when you’re looking at let’s say a millennial or even someone a little young, a younger millennial, sometimes you need a little carrots along the way so that they stay engaged and being able to identify what those quick ones are going to be, it’ll allow for more engagement. So what’s the next one?
Corey: Yeah. And exactly. So when you have that engagement, it actually helps with retention. So I wanted to talk about that real quick. So a couple of things you can do when it comes to big retention drivers. People, they report that work is more than a job to them. So that helps them retain. So it’s not just a job, it is actually a career. They need to work with a servant leader. So they want to work with someone who they can really trust and they look up to. They want to have a meaningful positive relationships at work. There’s opportunity for personal and career growth and that can be a promotion or it can just be sort of a learning opportunity that’s provided to the staff. A flexibility with that life work balance, be fairly compensated. Nothing too crazy. But I feel like sometimes, just as managers or as leaders within your practice, you kind of get dragged down in the day to day and you don’t think about how growing your team can help you advance your practice.
Jennifer: Absolutely. And you want to surround yourself by people that are smarter than you. One effective leadership tool that I’ve been able to incorporate over the years, and I think it speaks volumes when you look at our team and how long our team has been together, we’re truly a family. Well, you can really test the skills of a leader by putting too much on their plate. See what their breaking point is, and if they’ll convert, it’ll help them grow. Especially when you have the younger generation putting projects on their plate that are more like MBA type projects where there’s a start and there’s a finish, but it’s a quick turnaround. If an employee can thrive in that type of environment, then they can be coached into a thriving in any type of environment within your practice. So what’s the next one?
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Corey: Yeah, that well actually leads right into the next one-
Jennifer: There you go.
Corey: … which is-
Jennifer: I tell you this stuff, I haven’t even read the book and this stuff is like right up in my alley.
Corey: Yeah. So the next one is think win-win. So basically when you’re having these conversations you want to provide a scenario where it’s a win-win for both the employee of a leader and everyone within, the patients, everyone within the organization. We didn’t spend too much time on that one. We actually went into like a kind of a workshop mode at this point. So we were thinking win-win we went through different scenarios and how people can react if there’s an initiator of a conversation, there was a coach position and then also the recipient of the conversation. So we just kind of did some role playing there and got sort of hands on here for the win-win.
Corey: And also for the next habit, which was a seek first to understand then to be understood, we continued sort of the role playing a dynamic there where we were saying person A feels one way person B feels another way. So as an effective leader, how do you sort of coach them through that?
Jennifer: I think that’s, I mean these are all things that you’re going to bring back to the office and go through from there. I mean, to me, anybody in your practice can follow these skills and developing effective leaders is the best way that you’re going to have to deal with this, the retirement of the baby boomers and really starting to have to coach these younger folks into the practice and finding out who’s going to sink and who’s going to swim or who’s going to be on the medal stand at the end, because those are the ones that are going to be leading your practice. What’s the next one?
Corey: Yeah, so the next time it was a synergize, which basically means how do you change the management and create a culture of sustainability, which translates to essentially do your team members know what to expect. So is everyone on the same page at the same time? So essentially what you want to do is you want to set your goals and sort of outline them and then explain them to every member of the team regardless of their role, whether they’re the front of house, back of house, wherever they are, if they’re dealing with patients or maybe they just deal with billing, whatever the case may be, you want them to all know what are effective communication means, how we’re unify, we’re in this together and what sort of training is needed and available to help everyone, again, stay on that same page and work toward the same goal.
Jennifer: Yeah. And staying on the same page. I think communication at end of the day, communication is the number one reason people probably become disengaged at work or leave the job in general. And it’s interesting because we’re working, we’re halfway through or about three quarters of the way through a big promotion for employee engagement. And we’ve got automated emails that go out every single week to all the employees for the employee engagement project. Plus, we’ve got communication going to management. We’ve had big presentations to the board of directors for a bunch of doctors to make sure they’re fully versed. I’ve done presentations in front of the entire management team, making sure they’re all completely on the same page. And it blows me away that we still get folks saying, I don’t feel like I know what’s going on and that, I mean it just blows me away. But part of that is that everybody gives and receives information differently.
Jennifer: And sometimes you need that constant reinforcement. And just because you think you’re communicating doesn’t necessarily mean it’s being received on the other side. And so that just goes into this whole necessity for building relationships and being able to have those soft skills where the servant leader can walk the floor and make sure that the person on the other end is receiving the information as they’re trying to give it.
Corey: Right. And that’s where the trust factor kind of-
Jennifer: There you go.
Corey: … comes in too. It’s because, so if you put yourself in the shoes of the person who, like one of your techs, let’s say. They’re thinking that you’ve outlined a process for change, right? But that person’s thinking, well, how do I do my job today, what’s going to change with me, will my manager support me through this, or am I just kind of going to get thrown to the wolves here. And sometimes when we change processes and systems, we don’t think about it from that perspective. So that was kind of what the whole point here was to say that every system is perfectly designed to get the result that it gets. So if something is broken, well then maybe when it was being set up, something that wasn’t actually set up correctly. So that’s why you synergize and you can kind of build from there.
Jennifer: That leads me into one of my biggest pet peeves is that when something isn’t necessarily working and it typically has a communication breakdown, there’s nothing that drives me nuts more than when somebody says, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Jennifer: The system, you’re right, the system is probably set up to fail and sometimes you just need to blow up the system and start from scratch and you’ve got to be flexible to be able to acknowledge when it’s not working.
Corey: Yeah. And so speaking of being flexible, the final habit was sharpen the saw, which basically means once you kind of get these things in place, know that you’re not done and everything is sort of always evolving and changing. So you’re going to constantly need to go and sharpen the saw to make things a little bit better, to make things a little bit faster.
Corey: Culture change, it’s a longterm process. It doesn’t happen overnight. So the barriers to change obviously must be addressed. And then to have some sustainability, you need to continue to revisit these things.
Jennifer: That’s good. That’s good information. All right, so Corey, how are you going to take these seven habits and incorporate them into what you do back at the marketing and the training group?
Corey: Yeah, I think that we do a pretty good job, I feel like, of a good handful of these, but one of the things that we can do and that we will do is sort of put pen to paper on some of the vision statements, the processes and how we’re actually going to reach our ideal state. So we know kind of where we want to go, but we’re going to write it down. We’re going to put it on the wall and then we’re going to get there.
Jennifer: Awesome. Well do you feel like it was a good spend of a day going to this training?
Corey: Yeah, so it was eight hours long. I probably could’ve sat there for 12 honestly. It was super interesting.
Corey: Yeah, it was awesome. Great spend the time. Met some great practice leaders and yeah, overall I’d highly recommend it.
Jennifer: Good. I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of our investment in your overall engagement in your education come back to the practices that we work with. So with that, I’m Jennifer.
Corey: I’m Corey.
Jennifer: And we’ll see you next time on the Doctor Marketing Tips podcast.
Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to the drmarketingtips.com podcast. If there’s anything from today’s show you want to learn more about, check out drmarketingtips.com for our podcast resource center with all the notes, links, and goodies we mentioned during the show. If you’re not already a subscriber to our show, please consider pressing the subscribe button on your podcast player so you never miss one of our future episodes. And if you haven’t given us a rating or review yet on iTunes, please find a spare minute and help us reach and educate even more of our medical practice peers. Thanks again for listening and we’ll catch you next time. Doctor’s orders.