In “Not Your Ordinary Business…or Is It?”, we talked about the importance of developing a more focused approach to growing a practice or getting unstuck. That started with developing a Key Strategic Objective. If you haven’t done that or didn’t read that article, click HERE and make sure you know what that Key Strategic Objective is. Without knowing that and being committed to focusing on it, your efforts will tend to be distracted, inconsistent, and ultimately ineffective.
Assuming you know your Key Strategic Objective, and feel confident that is the most important change you can make in your practice, it’s time to engage your team. You can’t do this alone. Your team has perspectives you don’t have and will never have. Unfortunately, sometimes our leadership style has squashed their ability or desire to share those thoughts openly.
Preparing for the Bottlenecks Meeting
The amount of prepping you need to do for this meeting will be largely dependent on the structure of your previous team meetings. If team meetings are typically led by you as the owner and doctor, and you do most of the talking, you will need to spend more time prepping. You will need to find ways to engage the team. You will need to strategic plan your communication to encourage open communication and brainstorming.
And you will need to be prepared for the sound of crickets when you initially ask for their input because they may not feel comfortable sharing, or they’ve somewhat turned off their creative side because it hasn’t been used or welcomed in the past.
1. Evaluate your ability to allow for the team lead a meeting and get them to openly share ideas.
2. Plan for your opening introduction that may take accountability for not allowing them to express their ideas as much as you could have in the past and how necessary it is to hear all their ideas today to get the most from this meeting
3. The week before the meeting, notify the team when this meeting will take place, letting them know that it’s going to be a very open meeting with a great deal of brainstorming. Share the Key Strategic Objective and ask them to think of all of the potential bottlenecks in the office, and give some examples. Make some of the examples very system driven and some very personal so they know to be thinking about all of the possibilities.
4. Based on your Key Strategic Objectives, come up with your own list of bottlenecks that could be affecting that result. Include in this list any personal distractions that you can be transparent about that may have caused you to lose focus, be negative, or otherwise affect the results. By sharing openly, you will encourage your team to openly share their own personal challenges as well.
Executing the Bottlenecks Meeting
- Tell them the importance of the meeting and how it relates to the mission of the office in serving more people
- Acknowledge any previous role you’ve had as the leader in shutting down their creative ideas and assure them this will be different.
- Let them know that anyone is able to bring the meeting back to focus if a discussion goes too far where it is no longer focused on the goal.
2. Sharing of ideas
- Have a whiteboard or flipchart with the Strategic Objective written on the top.
- Ask if someone wants to start with sharing one of the top items on their list, and if no one volunteers then share one of yours.
- Allow any conversations to take natural tangents as long as it is still accomplishing the goal of making a positive change to the Strategic Objective.
- Continue to encourage sharing of ideas around the room until all ideas are on the board.
3. Creating a plan
- Ask the team to agree on the number one item on the list that will positively move the business toward that objective
- Continue to rank the items until you have a fully prioritized list.
- Agree on how many of those items are feasible to tackle at one time.
- Create an action plan that details the specific items that are going to be implemented and change immediately
4. Reset the Key Strategic Objective
- Ask the team, based on all the of possible changes that can be made if this objective is realistic. Too high? Too low?
- Get total team “buy-in” on the the new objective (or the current one)
- What gets tracked gets changed!
- Find the most visible way to track and communicate the progress toward the objective where it is top of mind consciousness for everyone on the team
5. Close the meeting
- Thank the team for their input and congratulate them for having one of the most open and engaging team meetings yet.
- End the meeting with encouragement and excitement for the changes that are about to occur and how that will affect the ability of the clinic to impact the community.
Now, you have key actions steps, team buy-in, and excitement towards where the clinic is going. It’s up to you, as the leader, to not lose sight of this objective. It needs to be talked about consistently in every meeting. Changes may need to be made to the action plan but you must stay committed to achieving the objective!