Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned about Dental Office Staff Meetings

This is another guest post from our client Dr. Donald Lurie.

It seems to me that staff meetings and office planning are difficult and at best, one of the areas that I disliked the most.  To carry it a step further, this same planning and meeting is necessary while contemplating retirement, finances, future activities and endeavors and the like.  Again, as I have said before in some of my earlier blogs, the Team of Retirement is an important part of the process

I found it difficult to enjoy staff meetings due to the varied personalities that were present on my staff.  It was difficult for them to talk openly in front of their peers and in front of "the boss."  My staff was not large, but extremely qualified and trained - 2 RNs, 1 CRNA, Office Manager, and a secretary.  They were all female and really good people. However, when it came time to verbalize, critique the practice, correct our errors or attitudes or seek ways to "make it better", the room would get quiet and everyone was looking at the floor.  It seems to me that this situation is also carried out many times when having these open and introspective gut-wrenching discussions with the accountants - especially when getting ready for major decisions such as projections, practice evaluation, insurance issues (to join or not),  and even retirement.

I noticed in our staff meetings that it was difficult to be constructive.  The folks felt that there was a criticism of their work or their personality or even their effort.  I sometimes felt, that I was walking on eggs.  Who was working for whom.  How many hours, days, weeks etc... was enough for sickness, vacation, retirement funding and all the mundane aspects of "running the business" of a practice that had nothing to do with that which I signed up for----treating patients. 

Introspective discussion must be had with our advisors.  It is necessary to be open and receptive to ideas and suggestions that might not be what we want to hear.  The timing of retirement may dictate other strategies that were not planned for in the earlier years of practice.  As noted, other priorities (health, money, wife etc.) may have changed.  It is difficult to be criticized in these meetings or to perceive that you are being looked down on.  However, the really good Team of Retirement will not make it a personal attack.  The point is that we must be ready and available to look at our total work and life situation -  tweak it, shape it, and finally own it.  As I have stated in other blogs, this sharing of attitudes, this true meaning of creation of the next profession (Retirement), will  then be filled with anticipation, will be fruitful, and there will be calm and peace. These are just some thoughts, it seems to me.

More Mistakes made and lessons learned next time.

Dr. Donald B. Lurie, DDS 
Phone:       717-235-0764
Cell:           410-218-2228

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