Ivan Delman, DC offers ways to establish success through practice management.

by Ivan Delman, DC

Whether you’re driving a truck, selling groceries or managing a chiropractic practice, to make any of those activities work properly, the theory or desires have to be matched with the function— that is, your dreams must be translated into reality.

For example, you have dreamed for years about being a race car driver. Finally, you get to attend race driver’s school. You spend several days in the classroom learning about all the types of braking, various driving lines, the meaning of the course flags and the all-important safety procedures. However, until you buckle into your car and start driving laps, at speed, around the track, it’s all theory.

Stay with me!

If this sounds like a misplaced oversimplification, it might qualify. But let’s see if this applies to the way you currently manage your practice.

Think back to all of the practice management seminars you’ve attended. You’ll probably remember that most of those seminars offered you some excellent ideas. You probably planned to install some of those ideas into your practice as you energetically strode out of the classroom.

When you returned to your office on Monday, were you distracted from your intentions by more “pressing” matters?

If you were eventually able to use those seminar ideas, congratulations. You’ve joined a very small and rare group. How rare? About as rare as the number of insurance companies who have never cut your reimbursement for services rendered.

During the early stages of your practice, you had a clinic full of dreams, goals and desires. As time went on, most of you became sidetracked and many of those ideas were set aside as you worked hard to build your practice.

Too many docs have never returned to their dreams. They have never changed those dreams into operating reality.

For those who might be in that group, here are some steps you can take to get you and your staff onto the same page. As a cohesive group, you then can start driving your practice toward the successes of your dreams.

First, Look at Yourself…

• What is your management style? Wet noodle, absolute dictator? The extremes usually don’t work. Keep reminding yourself that you are the leader. You steer the direction of your practice.

• Know where you want to drive your clinic (your mission).

• Make certain all your passengers (staff, patients) know where you’re going (your goals) and want to help.

• Focus on how to make it happen (your strategies).

Second, Look at Your Staff Meetings

• If your meetings are nothing but a platform for your pontification while the rest of your staff sit there with half-closed eyes, then it’s time to change.

• Consider issuing an agenda for your staff meetings several days prior to that meeting. Make a point of assigning each staff member the responsibility of giving a short report on problems, successes and ideas for their area of responsibility.

One of the things you’ll learn is whether your staff understands how you want your practice to function and what you want to accomplish.

Third, Share Your Dreams with Your Staff

• Take a few quiet moments and write down your mission, your goals and the strategies for achieving those goals. Share that information with your staff and make certain (by asking them questions) they understand your mission, goals and strategies.

• Require (no option here) your staff’s input regarding those goals.For example, do they believe in your mission, do they feel your goals are realistic and do they have any problems with your strategies?. You will get great feedback from your staff, which will enable you to examine ideas that might not be reasonable, sharpening your operating focus.

When you started your practice, it was with ideas and theories on how you wanted it to function. Make sure those ideas and theories are alive and well in your practice. The way to do this is to be certain your team knows what your dreams are and how you want to accomplish them. The success of those dreams will depend upon on how successfully you implement the reality.

by Ivan Delman, DC. Reprinted with permission from Do Write Publishing. 

Dr. Delman is the author of the book The Business of Chiropractic: How to Prosper AFTER Startup. He has degrees in both business and chiropractic. After 38 years of enjoyable, productive work in both fields, he and his wife have retired to travel and write. He can be contacted at:  Ivan@BusinessofChiropractic.com.

Dr. Chris Clark, a chiropractor and consultant, purchased Do Write Publishing and Business of Chiropractic Publications in 2007. For more ways to improve your practice, visit  www.businessofchiropractic.com.