Hitting the Ceiling: Advice for the New, Growing Practice

By September 13, 2018About EOS, General News

I’m just back from the IPed meeting in Pittsburg where I was excited to speak with a young practioner whose new practice is going gangbusters. After years of school and training, it’s great to see him put what he’s learned into practice and to accumulate social media on-line reviews that are keeping the good times rolling.

While it feels great when things are going well, I cautioned that its common, when you’re growing too fast, to reach a point where everyone is suddenly struggling to keep up. I suggested that now is the time to prepare for that time when things start to feel overwhelming, when despite working harder and harder, the practice stops growing the same way.

This is a normal part of organizational growth—think of it as growing pains. In EOS, we call this Hitting the Ceiling.
Acknowledging when you’ve hit the ceiling is vital, because once you and your team recognize it, you can simply address it with the perspective of an issue that needs to be solved. Many practices ignore their issues or attack only the symptoms associated with hitting the ceiling. But great practices get to the root cause of why they’ve gotten stuck. To get unstuck and continue on the path to success, smart practices embrace the following five leadership abilities.

5 Critical Leadership Abilities to “Break Through the Ceiling”

1. Simplify Smart practices simplify communications, processes, structure, and the vision. In EOS, mastering five simple tools will help you and your team to be expert simplifiers:

  • Vision/Traction Organizer: Ensure that everyone is clear about the practice’s long and short term goals.
  • The Accountability Chart: Ensures that every role in the practice is owned by someone and that there is a clear way of measuring that responsibilities are done well.
  • Rocks: Clarify the few most important things that need to be accomplished in the next three months for the practice to achieve its annual priorities.
  • The Meeting Pulse: Meet weekly to ensure that the staff is aware of important issues and aligned to solve what’s most pressing.
  • Scorecard: Know what’s most important to measure and that it gets reported on a weekly basis.

2. Delegate Make it a habit for everyone in the practice to focus on the things that they are best at and like to do; and to reassign responsibilities that others prefer and can do as well or better. Delegating boosts effectiveness and helps everyone to reach new levels of performance and success. The doctor should continuously do less of the things that others in the practice can master.

3. Predict When you are seemingly always behind, in a rut and constantly putting out fires, a dedication to two simple tools can help turn things around:

  • Rocks—the leaders agreeing on (and tracking) the 3 to 7 most important things to focus on in the next 90 days
  • Level-10 Meetings—meeting weekly with your leadership team to get a pulse on the business, solve key issues, and hold each other accountable

4. Systemize There are conditions that you treat on a daily basis. They entail the same exams, running the same tests, using the same materials, getting the same prior authorizations, providing the same materials. The secret to your practice to be easier to manage, more efficient, and profitable is to develop consistency! Document, simplify, and get everyone in your company to follow your “way” of practicing. Protocols for the most common tasks in the practice, both treatment oriented as well as operational, should be developed with staff input, and written down without significant detail, trained on and monitored. Protocols should be, on a routine basis, re-evaluated and updated as appropriate.

5. Structure Is critically important to have the right people in the right seats in order to take your practice to the next level. A quick check is to determine if every person, for every role, GWC: Gets it, Wants it and has the Capacity to do it. Take a big step
back to see the big picture and decide the simplest, most effective way to structure your team to get to the next level.

When you’ve hit the ceiling, first acknowledge it, then dig to find the root cause of why you’re stuck, and finally use the tools above to break through the ceiling. When you do, your feelings of frustration and overwhelm will be greatly diminished.

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