— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
A culture of personal responsibility and team ownership in your weight loss practice isn’t something you can mandate and expect to happen. It’s a process that takes time but is well worth the effort.
Leading your weight loss practice alone is difficult at best. Yet, that’s how it feels sometimes. In order to thrive, you must have a loyal team that takes personal responsibility and ownership for clearly defined practice outcomes. You must also make sure you have strong leadership clearly guiding your path to success.
When you have great leadership and team ownership in your practice you will find…
- Better Team Alignment: Everyone understands the big picture and their specific role in making it happen.
- Greater Innovation: Your team feels empowered to share suggestions and recognize potential problems before they become an issue.
- Transparent Communication & Collaboration: Your team is not afraid to ask questions, voice concerns and offer helpful advice in a constructive way instead of forming cliques, gossiping and undermining progress. They also offer a helping hand more readily.
- Improved Efficiency: Your team is accountable and understands the difference between busy work and necessary tasks while integrating prioritized actions for projects such as adding a new service or product offer that will ensure desired practice goal attainment.
- Better Patient and Practice Outcomes: Your team becomes laser focused on your mission, lives your values and measures what matters while adjusting your action plan as needed to attain practice and patient outcome metrics.
- Consistent Profitability and Growth: Your team understands the role they play in attaining profitability and growth as well as how that benefits everyone.
- Less Stress and Frustration: You and your team spend less time worrying about what might happen because you have systems in place to manage (and innovate) change when needed.
Ultimately, your goal is to create team ownership for day to day operations so you don’t have to be directly involved and can focus on patient care and practice growth. This feels GREAT and IS possible – here’s how to make it happen.
Ways to Facilitate Team Ownership
A highly functioning team begins with strong leadership. Most often, it is the leader that is the bottleneck to progress — and for good reason. Let’s face it: The leader is frequently a practitioner owner who is juggling patient care while overseeing finances, team issues, marketing, practice growth and patient satisfaction — all while often lacking formal training regarding the business management side of health care. Or it can be a manager who thinks they need to do everything themselves. Both scenarios often lead to lack of delegation or micro-managing which delays progress and drives everyone crazy.
A better way to facilitate team ownership is to integrate these effective strategies:
- Make your team a part of your weight loss practice story. Your story includes where you came from, where you are now, and your vision for the future. This personal transparency builds trust and improves alignment with your vision. When everyone on your team understands the vision and specific desired outcomes for your practice, they begin to see exactly how they fit into the bigger picture — and how they can contribute — no matter what position they hold. In fact, studies have shown that when employees have a sense of belonging to the bigger picture, it has been linked to a 56 percent increase in job performance, a 50 percent drop in turnover risk and a 75 percent reduction is sick days.1
- Ensure the right person is in the right role and the right people are on your team. This is no easy feat, especially with today’s employment struggles. If you hire in a desperate manner, the outcome is rarely good. Taking the time to clearly communicate the qualities you are looking for, your job expectations and the benefits of working for your company will increase the likelihood of attracting the right people. You may also have to look at who is currently on your team and determine if they are a good fit or undermining your progress.
- Integrate regular stay interviews. This is truly a game changer! Stay interviews are conducted periodically with team members to gauge their job satisfaction and have been found to help reduce turnover while increasing production and personal satisfaction.2 This helps you and your managers focus on solutions instead of problems in real time rather than being blindsided by a resignation or worse. You create an open dialogue through an informal discussion by asking questions focused on them. Some questions that work well are:
- What do you look forward to the most when you come to work each day?
- What do you like most about working here? / What do you like least about working here?
- Do you have any recommendations for making your job or the company more enjoyable or successful?
- How do you like to be recognized?
- Are there any talents you have that are not being used in your current role?
- What are your personal and/or professional goals for the next 1-3 years?
- Delegate outcomes instead of tasks. This is also a game changer (particularly for any micro-managers out there). You are there to guide the process at the beginning and then let your team member(s) create the system that will attain the outcome. The leader or manager ends up in more of an advisory role and the team member becomes a part of the solution. Some examples include: creating a streamlined way of obtaining at least five testimonials each month; implementing a new point of sale process that includes a rewards program; increasing gross retail sales each month by $10,000; or creating a social media campaign for a new weight loss program or product offering with a specific sales goal (# of programs sold or bottom line profit).
- Communicate regularly, clearly and with transparency. Whether times are good or there are struggles, teams appreciate transparency coupled with an ability to provide input and a sense of trust that their leader is fair and interested in doing what is best for the team, the practice and the patient. This has been very apparent during the pandemic. Teams that were treated with respect and honesty were much more loyal to the practice and focused on solutions rather than problems.
- Eliminate what doesn’t serve your desired outcomes. This can be liberating. If an established system, position or task is not serving the accomplishment of your desired outcomes, it is time to let it go. Focus on creating effective systems and expectations for ongoing consistency. When issues arise, it is easier to tweak an established system than feeling as if you are always starting over. The times of doing something because we always did it that way is over. Once you free up time spent on unnecessary tasks, you can allow your team to focus on what really matters.
Never underestimate the talents of your team. While it can be difficult to make some of these changes, they are more than worth it.
For 45 years, Robard Corporation’s medical obesity treatment programs and products have been utilized by physicians, surgeons and hospitals across the United States to successfully treat patients living with obesity. To learn more about us and how we can help your practice and patients, visit us online at www.Robard.com.