Practical Practice Management

Learn Anything New Lately?

When was the last time that you devoted time to learning something new?  Maybe it was a skill or possibly knowledge to understand something better.

I realized several years ago that I never wanted to quit learning.  I understand as long as I am alive there will be things I do not know or do not know how to do, but if I take the time and effort to learn I will continue to grow as a person.

I know that I am probably not telling you anything new, but… When was the last time you really put forth the effort to learn something new?

Recently, I took an online course to gain further skills for my professional growth.  For some reason, I thought since I was very interested in the topic and already “thought” I knew a lot about the topic that the course would be easy.  That certainly was not the case and there were actually times when my brain ached from reading and doing homework.

Even though it was a tough course that took more time than I expected I cannot tell you how rewarding it was to finish and pass the final exam.  I kept telling myself, “Wow, your brain still works and you actually are learning a lot of new information.” This experience has been a great one and has made me want to continue educational courses for my personal and professional life.

“There are so many neuroscience studies of the brain now that show every time you learn something new or gain a new skill, you are strengthening your brain because the performance of the synapse – the areas between neurons where information is transferred – gets fired up”

Attached is a great article on what happens in our brain when we learn something new.  If you have time to take a read, I am sure it will encourage you to continue learning new skills and obtaining knowledge as our brains do continue to grow if we continue to feed them.

Keep moving forward,

Tina

What Happens When You Learn Something New

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

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Make Happy Happen

Last week I stopped by our local pet store to pick up a few things for my Boston Terriers.  As I was walking up to the register one of the clerks was coming up to help me and he said to his coworker, “Boy, I sure do like working with you.”

I told him that it was great that he had a coworker that he enjoyed working with and he told me that his new coworker was the store lead and he was just great.  I asked him what made him so great.  He said that he liked to make work fun even when it was just hard work.  He said that he tells fun stories, talks about how great they work together trying to make their store look amazing to customers and he said that he always is happy and smiling.

Wow… that is a great coworker I told him.  He said the days fly by and even when there is a problem his new store lead has a positive way to handle the customer’s problems and turns them around to customers who are satisfied.

He has learned a lot since his new store lead started working there and he liked his job before but now he really likes it and has a different attitude about making each day great.  He told me not only does his job pay his bills, but he is happy while he is there and it doesn’t get much better than that!

When I left the store I thought it really doesn’t get much better than that… but how many people out there do not get this type of experience at work?  I know way too many myself.  Then I asked myself, “Is it that hard to make a great work environment?”  I don’t think so, it just takes the attitude to make it happen and why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Yep…it is not that hard..just think of ways to make “happy happen” and do it and see what happens.

Be well,

Tina

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An Ounce Of Prevention

Recently, our medical practice hired two new staff members.  These wonderful ladies have worked together in another practice for about one year so they know each other pretty well, which is helpful for them.  What is important is that we (those who have worked in our practice prior to our new hires) work at developing our communication with them and they with us.

It takes a while to get to know each other, yet we are expected to work well together from the start.  Understanding each other is important and developing open communication from the beginning can be a challenge.  I have found that being honest from day one and talking about how to develop good relationships and communication helps set everyone at ease and remove that shield that we so often can put up.

Together as a team we discussed the two points below in detail, sharing what they mean and giving each other examples of how we can get to know each other, ask questions and understand each others comfort zones and boundaries.

  1. Take time to communicate:  We are so rushed these days, with all that we have to accomplish at work and at home.  It is essential that we take those extra few minutes each day to ask those we work with how their day is going, and what is going on at home.  It is important to get a little personal (within the boundaries of each person’s comfort zone). Trying to get to know your co-workers better is a way of showing that you care about them and that is more than just work and this starts to create a bond between work-mates.
  2. Listening is just as valuable of a skill as talking: Take those extra moments to listen, what exactly are your co-workers saying?  Ask questions, and “listen between the lines” to what is being said.  Develop your skills of understanding, this means that you need to be quiet, and seek understanding as to where your co-worker may be coming from.  Do not assume that you know, it is better to ask for clarification so you really know what is being said.

As our conversation was taking place you could feel everyone begin to relax as they listened and talked with each other. It certainly is worth the invested time up front to hopefully prevent misunderstandings for the future.  We will meet again in a couple of weeks to follow-up with each other and find out how we are doing with our communication efforts.  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Feeling Left Out When Change In The Workplace Happens

I was working with an office manager the other day and she happened to mention that she was struggling with a feeling of being left out of certain office changes that were happening in the business that she did not know about until after they were being implemented.

Upon further questioning, she said that the owner of the business was working closely with a couple of the other staff personnel on some changes for the business but they failed to include her in the conversation.  It was not that she wanted to necessarily have input, but she would like to be kept informed of what changes were happening in the business.

She said that it had gone as far as the business owner asking her to help with a customer situation and what the owner was telling her to do was something she had never heard of before and did not really know how to take care of.  She didn’t know how to approach the owner without sounding critical, bossy, or like she wanted to micromanage the business.  What she really wanted was to be an active partner with all of the other staff in the changes of the business so she knew where the business was headed and understood the owner’s vision and reason for the changes.

As much as this seems like a bad situation, which it is, it is not uncommon for staff to feel left out no matter what their position is when changes are taking place.  I know this first handed because it happened to me.

Most of the time this is not done intentionally, it is usually because the business owner just wants to get something accomplished and picks a few people to carry it out.  This is fine, but if all employees who would be affected by the change or needed to understand and know what the change is are not informed even though they may not be the ones carrying out the changes, there is a disconnect and this can cause dysfunction and disgruntled employees.

When working on new projects, especially if the business has less than 20 employees, it is important to include everyone in the knowledge of what is happening, why it is happening, and how it might affect the business differently or the employees differently so that people who work for the business do not feel left out and have knowledge of what is going on.

Remember what being left out felt like when you were a child?  Maybe you didn’t get picked for the team or change happened suddenly in your family (or you thought was suddenly) and you later found out that you had been left out of what was happening?  It still feels very bad when it happens as an adult in a workplace that you feel you are a part of.

Take the time to discuss openly with your employees any changes that are going to be made or may possibly be made.  Let them know how they are going to happen and who will be involved in making them happen.   Doing this will make everyone in the workplace feel better about the change because they have been informed and understand the reason for the change.

“Treat your employees like you would want to be treated if you were an employee.” 
― Amber Hurdle

Keep moving forward!

Tina

 

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When You Ask Better Questions, You Will Get Better Answers

“When you ask better questions, you get better answers. This may seem like common sense, but common sense is rarely common practice. When we get clear on our purpose, we give ourselves the freedom to be more intentional, and consequently, we are able to show up for the situations that need us.” ~ Brendon Burchard

Too many times we ask questions off the top of our head hoping that will lead to getting the answers we are looking for.  If it does not we get frustrated and so does the person we are questioning.

This is especially true at work.  When we ask the right question it will lead to getting a better answer. The trick is taking the time to develop the right question to ask that will prompt the person to give you the right information you are seeking.

For example, if you want to know where something is ask, “Can you tell me exactly where BLANK is so that I can get it?”  By adding the word exactly, you will either get an answer of exactly where it is or the answer I do not know.  You do not want any answers that have “well it might be” or “I think it is” those answers do not help you and will waste your time.

If you need more information then ask prompting questions such as, “And then what happened?” or “how did that make you feel?”  This form of questioning once you are into the conversation shows you are interested and curious and want to hear more from them.

When you take time to create good questions to ask others it creates an opportunity for both parties to get to know one another and have a better understanding of each other.

Time is one of our most valuable assets and when you take the time in asking clear quality questions you are investing in getting the answers you need.

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Becoming A Better Me

The theme of “becoming a better person” has been popping up in everything I have been reading or listening to lately.  It is a fact that most people want to better themselves on a continual basis.  It can be overwhelming as to where one should begin and also it is easy to get stuck there and never move forward.

We need to realize that it is consistent, small changes throughout each day by the choices that we make, that will cause a big difference in our life over time as we move forward.  If you want to read a great easy book on this topic check out “Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson.

In my search on the topic of becoming a better me, I came across an article on the Lifehack blog, about 4 simple ways to become a better person.

Before you can really focus on moving ahead, you need to clear your plate of what is currently on it.  We cannot fully focus on the future if we are constantly being pulled back by unfinished things in our life.  Once we have cleared up any undone issues, or decide that we do not need to do them in the first place, we are free to move forward.

One point that this article made, which I thought was very interesting, is that we tend to have too many choices in what we are seeking.  This makes it difficult to see things clearly.

Have you ever watched the program “Hoarders?”  Talk about having too much; it is overwhelming when you walk into their homes because of the stacks, piles and mess that is everywhere.

You cannot even think of where to begin to clean out the house.  I often think “just throw a match in it and be done with it.”  But, they go in and start in one room at a time, clearing out the mess and when they are done the home is functional again.

That is what we need to do; clear out what needs to go so we can function and fully focus on moving forward.

Putting in place these 4 simple points can help one to move forward and be more productive in their personal and work life.

1. Get rid of distractions, undone things.

2. Create goals and milestones along with deadlines.

3. Appreciate what you currently have.

4. You must be willing to fail. Failure causes us to grow.

Remember it starts with small steps, one at a time.  Do not make them overwhelming for yourself, if you do you will get stuck.  It is the small choices you make each day in the right direction that will eventually get you to where you want to go.  I call it the “Slight Edge Effect.”

Virtual Practice Management Institute

The Slight Edge

Be well,

Tina

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Gratitude is a Consistent Conversation

“Start your week off right by being grateful and then letting someone know that you are thankful for having them in your life”

Such a small task, such an amazing difference it will make!

Be well,  Tina

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Working With Good Friends

Many workplaces discourage friendship bonding because they feel that employees will be more interested in talking with their friends rather than doing the tasks at work.  I have worked 23 years in our medical practice with my husband and yes, we have a great friendship.  We have been told that how we have fun and work hard together makes our practice unique.

We also have sisters and best friends working with us and we have encouraged those that did not have relationships before they came to work for us to develop a comfortable relationship between themselves.  I have found by encouraging solid, trusting relationships at work, we have a solid, hard-working team.

There is a clear link between the personal bonds between team members and their engagement levels.  A recent Gallup study found that close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50%, while people with a self-described best friend at work are seven times more likely to be fully engaged at work.

Another Gallup study reported that engaged companies consistently outperform the competition when it comes to things like profits, productivity, and turnover.  Our staff members have stayed employed for many years with us, and when they have left the practice for one reason or another we have remained friends and their family still come in for medical treatment.

As a group, we have shared values, high standards and caring hearts for each other, those we serve and our community.  These three things are key factors in deciding who works in our practice.  Being like-minded and like-hearted is the cement that holds our team together.

We are not only coworkers we are family and friends.

Keep moving forward,
Tina

Gallup Why We Need Friends At Work

Gallup Engaged Workplace

Top Practices

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10 Questions For Better Leadership

Running any type of business can be difficult. There are more things to think about and take care of then there are hours in our day.  Effective leadership is one of the necessary ingredients to make a business run more efficiently, smoothly and create a great work environment.

What defines a good leader. Leading people is the opposite of controlling them.  A workplace team needs leadership in order to develop, grow and perform better as a whole.

Team members learn by example.  The leader is one of the most-watched people in the business.  His or her behavior influences everyone else’s.  When the leader sets the right example the chances are greatly increased that the business team will follow the lead in the right direction.

When the leader sets the wrong example their actions speak louder than words.

What the leader does more than what they say shows the team what kind of leader they actually are.  The team will not rise to the top but will settle to the level of the leader and not grow themselves.

If you are a leader think about how you might perform, or act in these situations to give yourself a clearer picture of what you might look like to others on your team.

  1. Are you on time to work every day?
  2. Do you communicate openly with your team members?
  3. Do you listen attentively to others on the team and try to understand their viewpoints?
  4. Do you stay calm in stressful situations?
  5. Do you follow through with what you say you are going to do?
  6. Do you own up to mistakes when you make them?
  7. Do you apologize when you are wrong?
  8. Do you thank your team for all that they do each day?
  9. Are you enjoyable to be around and willing to help out your teammates when needed?
  10. Do you have your teammates back?  Do they know that you are there for them?

Asking yourself these types of questions will determine your standard level of leadership, is it high or low?  The example that leaders set in all areas of their position affect what their teammates will do in the same areas of their positions.

Lastly, Leaders must lead with integrity.  Leaders need to be the person that they want their teammates to be.  Being truthful, honest, trustworthy are all attributes that we want the people we work with to have.  Leaders need to keep the standard high and continue to always stretch to reach it.

“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves” ~ Ray Kroc

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

Keep moving forward,

Tina

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Can You See The Finish Line?

The difference between those that reach their goals and those that do not is often the lack of self-motivation.

How can we gain motivation to keep moving ahead to the goals we desire?  One way is by understanding the primary reasons for losing or not having motivation in the first place.  Once we understand the reason(s) we then can work on overcoming them to continue to move in the right direction to be successful and reach our desired outcome.

The four main reasons for not being motivated to complete our goals are:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of direction
  • Lack of leverage to achieve them

There are many reasons that people lack confidence and many things that can be done to boost it.  Sometimes it is just taking the first steps toward the goal and the more baby steps we take the more confident we become.

Staying focused is probably the biggest problem encountered, there is so much that goes on in our daily life that derails us and we get off the track.  Once we are off the track it is hard to keep the direction headed to where we need to be going to get to where we want to be.  Writing the goal down with a small achievable step that can be taken each day and then having a plan to do it helps keep you on the direct path.

Leverage is what lifts and pushes us to keep going.  For example, wanting to reach a certain financial success level so that your family is well cared for.  The love and care of your family are the leverage that keeps you moving forward. Your family is your motivating factor.

It is important to keep the finish line in the forefront of our mind as this will help us to reach our destination.

Don’t ever give up, if it is your hearts desire just keep going you will get there!

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

Keep moving forward,
Tina

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