In order to grow your practice, it’s important that you, the practice owner, focus significant time on the strategic aspects of your business. And in order to do that, you must be willing to relinquish many day-to-day tasks to other people who can carry them out effectively.
However, we’re living in a transient world, where people seldom stay at the same job for thirty or forty years. Your new recruits are coming into your firm with a mindset in which their expectation is to work for several companies over the course of their career.
In “the old days”, employees accumulated impressive stores of knowledge about the way things were done within the company. Particularly if they stuck around for decades and rose through the ranks, working at many different levels, eventually they might know how every job in the firm was done. These were the employees to whom employers would send their new hires to be mentored, confident that there were few questions the new employee could ask that the veteran employee couldn’t answer.
But things have changed, and not just in how long people stay (or don’t stay) at one job. Technology has changed things, too. Now, many procedures change rapidly in order to keep up with the pace of related technology. So even the employees that do stick with you for years are forced to constantly relearn how to do commonplace tasks.
Meanwhile, you have to be able to rely on your team so you can focus on the bigger, strategic picture for your practice. How can you in such a fast-paced, ever-changing world?
Practice owners today must lean heavily on documented systems. If you don’t have a “how-to” manual on how to do things in your practice (or, more ideally, a series of manuals), I urge you to get that project started now. Have your employees start writing down what they do in their jobs, and compiling step-by-step instructions on how. As they document their regular procedures, direct them to imagine a brand-new employee walking into the firm and not knowing how to do anything. Their instructions should be clear and detailed enough so that a newbie can read them and hit the ground running.
Compiling a comprehensive set of manuals for your practice may take time, but don’t let that deter you from starting.
Also, don’t be tempted to think of this as unnecessary bureaucracy. Documenting systems for all the functions of your practice will make the process of delegating to your staff much smoother. As changes happen, you can simply adjust the systems you have in place to accommodate them. In our times, documented systems are crucial to your practice’s survival.
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