Taking the pain out of switching hats between clinician, CEO

By Lynne Leggett, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

December 12, 2019 -- I find the overwhelming complaint of dentists/practice owners is the constant change of thinking as they switch between business owner and clinician throughout the day. For most, the energy used can be draining. Sometimes, dentists just want to escape at the end of a grueling day and not use their "business owner hat" any longer.

If this sounds like your struggle, I have some ideas for you to try.

Lynne Leggett
Lynne Leggett.

As clinicians, you work "in" your business all day. What I am asking you to do is set aside devoted time to work "on" your business. I know this is not the fun stuff. You would rather keep your clinician hat on all day instead of being interrupted to switch to your CEO hat. However, think of it this way: You block your schedule according to the procedures you want to do in the morning versus the afternoon -- and the same idea applies here. Block your time as the CEO.

I know you can have laser focus on things on which you want to focus. By being intentional with your focus for certain time periods, you can get a lot of things done as the CEO of your practice.

Pick at least four hours each week to work "on" your business, breaking up your week with that focus in mind. This amount of time assumes you have someone doing your payroll, along with other weekly tasks. Use this time to think and to come up with a strategy for your business.

Where are you today? Where do you want to be in six months or a year? Answering these types of questions require focused thought, and this does not happen while you are driving home from the office. Understanding where you currently are is the key to understanding where you want to be in any given future time period.

Start your day by getting into the office at least 30 minutes before your morning huddle begins, and make sure you are delegating certain tasks to members of your team for your huddle meeting. You are the CEO. They need to be accountable to you and the area they represent in your practice.

For example, have your scheduling coordinator prepared to speak about any openings that day or week in the schedule. Are you able to do any same-day dentistry? Where are you as a team with your scheduled production versus your daily and monthly goals? You should know where to see these numbers. However, as the CEO, it is not your responsibility to provide them at your morning huddle.

I know my clients who do not enjoy switching clinician and CEO hats all day appreciate a designated time for their team to communicate to them. The best time is at the start of each day, during your huddle. There is no mystique about a morning huddle -- it is just communication time for your team.

If you have a team and not employees, they will welcome this responsibility to share their information during each huddle meeting. The more you can get your team to focus their questions to you during the huddle, the less switching of hats you will have to do during your clinician time.

This process has worked so well for some of my clients that the dentist likes to have a quick time together before starting in the afternoon. I realize that may not be feasible for some practices, but it is something to think about for your situation. For those offices that have an office manager, making time each day before you leave the office is important as well. You need to have a separate, intentional time with your office manager to review any items that need your input.

I have more thoughts on how you can painlessly "switch hats" in my video below.


Lynne Leggett is the founder and CEO of Victory Dental Management. She has more than 25 years of business experience in several industries, including dentistry, medical, pharmacy, sales, transportation, logistics, and project management. Learn more about her and her services on the Victory Dental Management website.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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