Practical Practice Management

A Work Ethic Lesson I Learned From My Mother

I posted this blog several years ago and was reminded of the lesson I learned from my mother as I began training a new employee last week.  It is important that we develop good training systems and programs in our workplace to not only make the business run better but to teach valuable work standards to our employees.

When I was a young girl my mother would have chores that each of my siblings and I needed to complete each Saturday morning while she was at the beauty shop getting her hair done.  She would write out the list with each of our names by the chores that we were to do.  When I was very young I had to take out the trash, fold some clothes and pick up my room.

My sister who was older got to clean the bathrooms. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to do this “glorious job.” Then the day came when I graduated to cleaning the bathrooms.  Now my mother was a smart woman and she took time to show me, in detail, what needed to be done and how she expected it to look when it was done- I knew that my job would be inspected when she got home.

I really wanted to please my mom so I tried really hard to get it all right the first time.  I did miss a few things and when she got home, she did not have a problem letting me know what was not done to her expectations.  She took the time to watch me do the tasks until I could perform them correctly.  She set a standard and it needed to be upheld.

Over time I was able to get those bathrooms clean and pass the inspection with flying colors, but even though I could do a good job, my mother still would look it over to make sure I did not slack off.  My mother was creating in me good work habits that I would be able to take with me through my whole life and I am very thankful for this.

You might be asking yourself what does this has to do with working in a medical office, restaurant or retail store? Good management personnel need to manage their employees in the same way that my mother did with me when it comes to performance expectations. We need to not only communicate clearly what the job expectations are, but we need to demonstrate how we expect them to be done.

Have training sheets with itemized tasks and goals for each employee to be able to review and work from.  Also, make sure you take the time to show them how each task is to be done to meet the employers’ expectations.   Just saying “clean the bathroom” does not cut it because their idea of what clean is could be totally different from your idea. By having directions and inspections for each task you can ensure that the job is being completed correctly.

Employees will be happier because they will know what is expected from them and management will be happier because the standard has been set and taught. Another good reason for having tasks and directions written is that it makes it much easier for review when something does fall through the cracks, you just have the staff member get out their training sheet and there it is in black and white making the job expectations easy to complete.

I am very thankful to my mother for the great training and work foundation she instilled in me at a young age, it has made my work life so much easier.


Keep moving forward,


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Living A Meaningful Life

Living a meaningful life in every moment sounds difficult, but in reality, we are living in each moment anyway.

How hard is it to make them meaningful?

Be well, Tina

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Are We Doomed To Keep Making The Same Mistakes?

As I was reading Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carole” the other day and I realized that there were many lessons to be learned from dear old Ebenezer Scrooge.  Far too often we get stuck thinking about the mistakes we have made in the past, so much, that our present is spent dwelling in grief, excuses and frustration.

Mr. Scrooge feared the visits from the three Christmas ghosts, but he was a smart man and in the end, he learned one important lesson well.  May we each learn this lesson and make 2019 a wonderful year and look forward to a future of learning, growing and doing good things for others!

Happy Holidays to you all ~ Tina

Top Practices Virtual Practice Management Institute

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What Do You Do With Stink Bombs?

Problems are bound to come up, if it is not today or tomorrow, you can pretty much guarantee that the day after you will be faced with some sort of problem either at home or work.  My good friend, Rem Jackson the CEO of Top Practices says that you can expect 2-3 big stink bombs a year.  I have found this to be very true in my business and personal life.  Since we all know that there is no getting away from problems and difficult situations we then need to put on our “creative thinking helmet” and get to work on solving problems and not dwelling on them.  Creative thinking is the ability to imagine or invent something new,  coming up with new ideas by changing existing ones or, merging a few ideas together.  When you creatively think with others in your family or co-workers, you are expanding the limits of what possibilities there are to solve the issue.  Not only is this great but it can be exhilarating when you see what you have come up with.  Here are the four basic steps to creative problem solving:

1. The first is being able to define what the problem is so that everyone understands it or if it is just you, that you really know what the problem is.

2. The next step is to come up with as many solutions as you (and others) can think of.  Write them down and don’t try to analyze them yet, just get the ideas out and down on paper.

3. Once this is done then you can go through your list of solutions keeping the ones that may be possibilities or possibly even a combination of a couple of them.

4. Lastly, you need to make a choice of what solution makes the best sense to resolve the problem and take action on it.

Creative thinking does take practice, but the more you do it the better you will get and the easier it will be.  The sky is the limit to what you can come up with to help you make decisions about those “great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations” or “stink bombs.”  The sooner you jump into the creative thinking mode when a problem arises the sooner it can be solved.  One thing is for sure, when you practice creative problem solving you will spend more time being productive than wallowing in your problems.


Keep moving forward,


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I’m So Tired….

I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who tell me that they have sleep problems.  Either they can’t fall asleep or once they fall asleep they wake up and cannot go back to sleep.  This can be such a vicious cycle which leads to exhaustion and stress.  It also leads to poor work performance or any performance.  As an adult, we need between 7-8 hours of solid sleep in order to be at our best each day.  A study done by Stanford Medicine states the following for getting 6 or less hours of sleep, Two consecutive nights of less than six hours could leave you sluggish for the following six days.” (Surprised? You aren’t alone: This stat sparked a gasp of dismay at my office staff meeting.) Researchers also found that staying up an extra hour, even if followed by a full night’s sleep, is correlated with slower performance the next day. But going to bed an hour earlier than normal has a negligible effect.”Sleep is vital to becoming a high performing person, without it the evidence is very clear that our health will suffer physically and mentally. The attached article has several things that you can do to promote good sleep results.  It may take trying a few to figure out what helps you.  Arianna Huffington also has an excellent book called “The Sleep Revolution” which drives the points that getting the right amount of sleep is vital to our health and to achieving our goals.  15 Ways To Fall Asleep Faster: The Sleep Revolution


Be well,


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Is Your Over Demanding Job Worth It?

Recently, I had a conversation with a supervisor of an organization of about 300 people.  She was telling me that she has to work all of the time, even when she is at home in order to keep up with her work.  I asked her “How was that going for you?” and her reply was, “It’s what I need to do in order to keep my job and that is just the way it is.”  I asked her “If she thought she would be more productive at work if she took more time for herself and family?”  She really hadn’t given that any thought because it was not realistic with the demands of her job.  As I left the building I was pretty sad for this woman.  I knew she was a mother of an elementary-age child and her spouse also has a pretty demanding job.  I kept asking myself, “Is it really worth it?” This situation is not rare, in fact, it is pretty common nowadays.  If your job has become your life and you’re wondering if you need to do something about it, ask your self the following questions:

  • Do I feel my life overall will be better by doing this job this way?
  • Is there a way I could do this job without causing distress to my life?
  • How much has my life changed by doing this job for the good and for the worse?
  • Would I do this again knowing what I know now?

Ultimately each of us individually can only make the determination for ourselves and sometimes it is only when we have hindsight that we wish we would have done things differently.  These are great questions to ask even if your job is not as demanding as this woman’s.  I think by answering them honestly it can keep us on course with what our goals and standards are when it comes to our career.


Be well,


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Are You Headed For Burnout?

Often we hear the expression “You need to have passion for your work.” That sounds absolutely wonderful, but it is important to first understand what passion really is.

The actual definition of passions is; “A powerful emotion or feeling.”  When you know that,  then how do we apply it to what we do at our job?  Many times when a person is a hard worker and tends to be a bit obsessive about what they do people will say that person is passionate.  But, is that true or are they obsessive?

I came across a very interesting article in the Harvard Business Review blog titled Passionate For Your Work that I believe is worth reading.  The author Scott Barry Kaufman talks about passion for your work in two different ways, one being harmonious and the other obsessive.  When someone has passion in a harmonious way about their work they have “joy” when doing it.  They are able to separate personal life from work life and enjoy both.  They are less likely to burnout and have higher levels of well-being.  Since they can leave work at work, when they return to work they are refreshed and ready to go for the new day.  When you have harmonious passion for what you do you are able to be more flexible at work and ultimately overall more successful.

There are people who have an obsessive passion and are emotionally dependent on their work, they bring it into all aspects of their life because it is where their value is.  Because of this their job brings higher levels of negative effect overtime during their life.  Their moods are dependent on what is happening at work, they cannot let it go.  They have increased chances of total burnout and major stress, because they are obsessed with their work.

I think we all have probably known people who are either harmonious or obsessive about their work, which person did you find to be happier?  Which do you think is healthier? Which one describes you?

Be well,


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The Need For Customer Service Feedback

Having good employees should not be the exception, it should be the rule. Finding good employees is another blog post altogether, but you must find them if you want your company to have good reviews and customers that return and refer their family and friends.

I had an interesting experience with a company that we hired to do some work for us. I can say that 90% of the people we came in contact with were good; it was the 10% that made the decision for us never to use that company again.

I called the company’s supervisor and nicely explained the issues we encountered with some of their employees. I explained to the supervisor as a business owner myself, I would want a client to tell me if one of our employees gave less than the best customer service to any of our customers so that I could do something to rectify the dissatisfaction and save our reputation with our client.

The supervisor was in total agreement with me and insisted on giving us a discount on our service. This was appreciated, but it was not the reason for my call.

My real reason was to inform them of what happened so that they could make sure that it did not happen again. Who knows how much business they have lost already by customers who have been unhappy, and did not let them know.

It is said, that one unhappy customer will go out and tell 10 other people about the bad service they received in a place of business, but a satisfied customer usually only tells 3 people of the excellent services they have received. Strange, but true, bad service speaks louder than good service.

In our place of business, we are always telling our clients to let us know if there are any problems or misunderstandings, as we want to give the best service possible to them.

Many times we don’t know if something is less than satisfying from our client’s point of view unless they tell us. More often than not a dissatisfied client will either not come back or will post a bad review that really doesn’t explain their experience well.

Staff’s customer service skills and training needs to be continuous and this requires effort from the business owner and management staff. If you do not have a continuing education program you are opening the doors for a poor service opportunity to happen, which can be very costly to your business.

Keep your ears open and make sure you invite your clients to give you straightforward honest feedback on your service with them. Surveys and review cards are helpful. Let your customers know that reviews are always welcome and that if they help you with the information that you need, you can give better service to them in the future and focus your attention on where you need to improve as a business.


Keep moving forward,


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Grateful, Thankful and Blessed

“I originally wrote and posted this blog seven years ago.  I think it is worth reposting.  

Let us all count our blessings daily.”


During this time of year, people begin to make lists of Thanksgiving.  I have often wondered why we should wait until this time of year to recognize the things we are thankful for.

Thankfulness should be an everyday habit that we develop and if we do, our perspective on life will change for the good.

Today, in our medical practice a woman was leaving after her appointment and passed by the check out window.  The medical assistant asked if she needed to schedule a follow-up appointment.  She said that she did, but she would be starting chemotherapy soon and did not know what her schedule would be like or how she would be feeling, so she was going to have to call at a later date.

The assistant was empathic to her situation and said that they understood and told her to just give a call and we would get her in as soon as possible.

As she went to walk out the door, the assistant said to her “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving”  She replied, “I will do my best, thank you.”  And then she added, “if I don’t see you again, please have a wonderful Christmas Holiday and New Year.”

There was silence…..not only did my heart sink but so did the assistant who was speaking to her.  Can we even begin to imagine what she might be going through?  Not at all unless we have walked in her shoes.

Her prognosis was not the best, but she still wished my co-worker a Happy Holiday, and with an up-beat tone in her voice.

At times we think things are so bad because of problems at home or work and not to down-play them at all, but when the rubber meets the road, what is really bad?

Today, I am healthy and I give thanks for that and for many other things that make my life so rich, such as:

  • My husband
  • My children
  • My wonderful co-workers
  • My job, that I love
  • My ability to go to work each day
  • Being able to make other people’s day wonderful by having a positive attitude when I encounter them
  • The people who come to our medical practice, for without them I would not have a paycheck
  • My sweet puppies, that bring me so much joy
  • Again I have to say “Thank you” I am healthy today!

The list could go on and on, and with each item I list, the better I feel about life and being able to make other’s lives better.

It is never too early to be thankful, start your list now and add to it each day.  What are you especially thankful for today?

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Lack of Confidence At Work

There are three primary reasons that employee will lose motivation at work.

  1. Lack of Confidence
  2. Lack of Focus
  3. Lack of Direction

Today, I want to talk about the first one, “Lack of Confidence.”  Recently, we hired a new employee and over the past couple of weeks I have seen where a lack of confidence in being able to perform well at work has affected this person’s motivation.

It is not that there has been a lack of good training, it is the rough road of learning and being confident in their skill set that causes this “lack of motivation.”

As an employer or manager, it is important that constant support of a new employee be in place and encouragement in what they are able to do that will encourage them to become more confident.  Try and remember what it was like for yourself when you started a new job or task and felt that struggle during the learning process.

When we can let new hires know approximately how long it should take them to catch on and master tasks it will help them gauge their progress and know that they are either doing well or not.  Having a good training program is essential along with check-ins throughout the day and conversations about how they feel they are doing and what help they may need.

If these training standards are set up and explained from the beginning it can make the whole experience better for the employee and employer.

Keep moving forward,



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