Practical Practice Management

Giving Employee Recognition Rewards or Incentives

I was talking with an office manager the other day, who wanted to know if employee recognition rewards or incentives always had to be monetary?   This is a great question.  Let’s face it, people like money and this is usually the first thing that we think of when we are told there will be incentives or recognition rewards for reaching goals of production at work.

Actually, a Gallup 2016 report shows the following on this topic:

When asked what types of recognition were the most memorable, respondents emphasized six methods in particular — and money isn’t the only (or the top) form of recognition:

  • public recognition or acknowledgment via an award, certificate or commendation
  • private recognition from a boss, peer or customer
  • receiving or obtaining a high level of achievement through evaluations or reviews
  • promotion or increase in scope of work or responsibility to show trust
  • monetary award such as a trip, prize or pay increase
  • personal satisfaction or pride in work

In the medical practice that I manage we found that although employees appreciated monetary rewards or incentives, they really preferred being given some flex hours or extra paid time off.

I was pretty surprised at this but it makes sense.  Most people now days want time away from work and if it’s paid it is an extra bonus for them.

The next time you are thinking of a recognition reward or incentive is warranted, you might want to find out what your employees would really like, it may surprise you.

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

Keep moving forward,


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More Mindfulness Please

At a conference I spoke at over the weekend, one of the presented topics was about practicing mindfulness.  Far too often we become reactive instead of active when it comes to situations in our lives and the results tend to be more harmful than positive.

One definition of Mindfulness is: “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

The bolded words are ones that spoke to me personally.  There are many times throughout the day that I am on autopilot and not aware of the present moment, and this can tend to serve me poorly.

Mindfulness is not only to be used for the present moment.  We talked about how important is it to be mindful of the environment that we work in each day and the effect it has on us.  One attendee admitted that by the end of the day when she leaves the office, she is totally drained. She attributes this to a coworker that has a negative

This situation was affecting this woman’s home life because when she went home she would complain to her husband about how bad her coworker was all day.  She really was in a quandary because she liked her job and her employer and really needed to work.

After listening to the different speakers she realized that she needed to do something about this before it did more mental harm to her and to her relationship with her husband.

Becoming a more mindful person takes time, thought and action.  There are so many areas of our life that if we can achieve “a focused awareness of” and work on them in a calm and positive way that we will become happier and healthier.

Be well,


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Creating A Habit For Change

Yesterday, I was listening to an interview with John Assaraf and he was talking about creating habits for change that we desire in our life.  As we know making changes is not always easy even when we want the change.  It is a known fact that “90% of heart patients do not stick to the lifestyle changes they need in order to live longer.” This is such an amazing and puzzling fact because I am sure that these patients do not want to die.

John mentioned in this interview that we make change hard when we can actually make it quite simple if we just did one thing that we are willing to do toward that change each day.  The keyword is “willing.”  (If you are not willing to do what you are asking yourself, then figure out what small step you are willing to do right now and do it)

Most of the time we think of the end result of the change and become defeated instead of figuring out that “one thing” we are “willing” to do toward the change today and then tomorrow and the next day.  John also mentioned, when asked by the interviewer, how long does it take to make a habit for change to stick?  He said that most experts say about 66 days, but he always goes for 100 days.

There are three things that a person needs in order to bring about change:

  1. You must be mentally and emotionally prepared.
  2. You need to be physically prepared.
  3. You must have a strong enough desire, intent and persistence to complete it.

I think the fourth thing is that you need to have a plan and know what are you willing to do each day to work toward the end result to bring on the change.  For example,  if you want to stop eating fried foods, you eat them 4-5 times a week and this is a downfall that you have.  Don’t stop immediately, (unless your doctor said to) but why not just eat fried foods one less time this week?  Then have a plan maybe three weeks down the road to reduce the amount of fried foods by 2 times, and work down until you have stopped eating fried foods on a regular basis.

You will feel better about yourself for two reasons, one you were able to meet your goal and two you feel healthier because you have stopped eating fried foods.

We can bring about change, we just need a plan that works for us and then stick to it until it becomes a habit.

Be well,


John Assaraf

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

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Mastering Leadership

“The Lone Ranger would have died without Tonto.” 

Leaders do not become leaders by themselves, yet so often we point out the leader failing to recognize the people who are the support team.  Those that make the difference so that the “leader” can do what is necessary to do their part in the project, the plan, or move the vision forward.

Great leaders never take the credit they will always give credit to those who come alongside them.  They do this because they are there to serve, not be served.  Their mission is to give, train, grow and uplift those around them.

Michael Strasner has a new Mastering Leadership book that will be released this month.  The interview with Lewis Howes was excellent and I recommend if you have the time watch it or listen to the podcast.  I have bookshelves full of leadership books and after hearing this interview I know that there will be another one to add.

Keep moving forward,


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Changes for Life

Change can be hard, really hard, especially if we are not prepared to make it happen.

Listen to this…

“90% of heart patients do not stick to the lifestyle changes their physicians state they need to make in order to live longer”  Wow, that is just amazing!  Do you think that they really want to die sooner? I don’t.

A while back I was over at the Oncology Center by our office and there was this woman outside in a gown, dragging an I.V. pole with her as she was smoking a cigarette. Seeing this really got me thinking and I just wonder why?  Why it is so hard to make changes, even when they affect the outcome of our lives or those that we love?

It is not just about making the right choices it is about the ability to make the right choices and then making them a part of our life.

There are three important factors in being able to make changes and make them stick for good.

  1. You need to be mentally and emotionally prepared.
  2. You need to be physically ready.
  3. You must have the desire, intent and persistence to complete it.

For some people this can happen in an instant, for others it can take time, and then there are those that will not or cannot make the change at all- for one reason or another.

To understand more about this topic you might want to check out Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit” for more information on the science behind the power of change, it could save your life or someone’s life that you care about.

Be well,


Changing Behavior

The Virtual Practice Management Institute

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Its Huddle Time

Morning huddles with your team are a great way to start your day!

[email protected]

Top Practices Virtual Practice Management Institute

Keep moving forward,


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Listen More, Understand More

The need to be listened to and understood is great in each of us.  When we feel what we have to say is not of value, we feel we are of less value.  Listening is a developed skill and for many of us, it does not come easy.  The attached article has three steps to develop our listening skills so we can seek to understand those we love, work with and encounter each day.

Not only will they appreciate it, but we will also grow and become a kinder human being by practicing to be a better listener.

Listen For Understanding

Keep moving forward,


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We Work Together, We Are A Team

A common mistake business owners or managers make when bringing together a work team is that all team members will fit together and function well right away.

This just is not so, each team player needs to first understand what his/her purpose is as an individual player before they can move into a team position.  When  you think of a basketball team there is a center position and a couple of forwarding positions, small and powerful, and then you have two guard positions, point and shooting.  Each player needs to know and understand what the role of their position is and how it affects the other positions in order to play the game well.

All work team players need to be able to understand and articulate the answers to these questions:

  • What exactly is my job?
  • Why is it necessary to do the job tasks of my position?
  • How does my job affect the overall business?
  • How does my position affect my teammates’ positions?
  • How will I know if I’m doing my job well?

Once an employee has a good understanding of the what, why and how of their job position they then can begin to think about everything that is done in the “we” form as in teamwork.

  • What is our job as a team?
  • Why does our team need to do their job tasks?
  • How does our job as a team affect the business?
  • Who cares about us as a team?
  • How are we doing?

It’s necessary for each employee to understand the “I “ of their position before they can begin to focus on the “we” of the teams’ work.  Giving employees this transition time improves the rate of success when joining them together as a team.  When workplaces fail to do on-boarding like this often the employee will fail to perform to the best of their ability, which causes them to disconnect and possibly look for another job.

When you put in the effort to build a team one step at a time, the payoff is tenfold not only for the business but for the individual players and the team as a whole.

Keep moving forward,



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Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

“We do not have to be stuck where we are. 

Our minds are powerful when our hearts are strong. We can move forward to where we want to go,

if we give ourselves a powerful enough reason to do it.” ~Unknown

Lewis Howes – School of Greatness


Keep moving forward,


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Really, I made a mistake?

What I made a mistake? Sometimes it is just hard to believe when you have made a mistake, especially when you know what you should have done. Mistakes just happen sometimes, even when we are trying our best and know what we should be doing.

The truth is no one likes making mistakes at work.  If we are honest we will openly admit that we make mistakes and sometimes more often than we would like to admit.  The best option when we make a mistake is being able to admit when we have made one.  Not being able to do so will tarnish our integrity.

There are two sides to a mistake when it is found.  Either you found that one has been made or you made it and need to admit it to your coworker, supervisor or boss.

Workplace mistakes need to be handled properly. If not, they can cause an even bigger problem for the parties involved than the original mistake.

Let’s start with the mistake being your fault and it was brought to your attention by either a co-worker or supervisor.  What should you do first?

Start by listening to what they are saying.  This can be very hard because your mind is coming up with what you are going to say back to them before you have even finished hearing them out.

After you have heard what they have said then ask to “explain” your side.  You may have realized that you made this mistake and were just waiting to see if someone noticed or you may not have even realized that you made a mistake at all.

If you did know that you made a mistake and did not come forward first, that is a BIGGER mistake on your part as this reflects on your integrity, which is hard to repair and we’ll address that in a moment.

If you did not know you made a mistake, then this is what is called an “honest mistake.”  The next step you need to take is to state what you have learned from it and how you are going to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake again.  Be professional, and move forward. Mistakes happen.

If you had knowledge of your mistake and did not reveal it you have tarnished your integrity.  You need to give a good explanation (if there is one) as to why you felt it was worth hiding the mistake instead of addressing it and taking care of it before someone else found out.

The best thing that you can do is to apologize for not coming forward when you realized that you made a mistake and admit that you were wrong. Explain what you have learned by the experience and ask that you be given the chance to make things right.  Reassure your supervisor or employer that it will not happen again, then, if you still have a job make sure it never happens again.

Only time and proof that you learned a lesson, will allow your integrity to shine again with this person.

Whether you are the one who made the mistake or the one who found it remember we are all very capable of making mistakes.  It is the way that we handle them that speaks volumes about the type of person we really are.


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