By Chandresh J. Shah
A medical practice may seem like a ‘routine’ business. However how many times have you said – “My practice is different from others”’? It is because every business owner and founder has a vision that you believe should set apart your practice from others. There is a reason why you are independent and don’t join a large hospital. It is this vision that must be articulated and passed on.
In a practice, we encounter different kinds of employees. Of course, we would want to have employees worth keeping. What characteristics of employees should you look out for? If your practice has employees that have these characteristics, consider yourselves lucky:
(They) Hustle but they are able to estimate the right amount of push you and others need.
Why are these characteristics a winning combination for a practice? It is because employees with these characteristics are Entrepreneurs.
Good Employee vs. Entrepreneurial Employee
The Good Employee
Most employees qualify as ‘good’ because they do their tasks well; tasks that fit into the overall vision of the founder/provider/owner. They hone in well on their particular function. These people are essential to making a business work well.
But these are not the kind of people suited to take over the entire operation. Many employees have a title that suggest they are senior and therefore are leader. That is not necessarily true.
For Doctors and providers running and managing their own practice hiring an entrepreneurial employees can be risky. That is because employees with characteristics listed above can be unwieldy and intimidating. They can and will exert their dynamic pace of action and thought.
The Entrepreneurial Employee
How do you identify these entrepreneurial employees?
They have tremendous energy. Not just during the first few months of hiring, but always – like an energizer battery. They not only work hard, they hustle. They impress with intensity.
Commitment to personal improvement. You may find them reading self-improvement books, taking evening or online courses, subscribing to personal improvement blogs. It is ambition that drives them but not just for pure ambition of climbing ladders, but personal improvement. This can lead to benefits that the practice will gain from.
They don’t like being micromanaged. Entrepreneurial employees should be ‘handled with care’. You – the practice leader – can encourage or inhibit entrepreneurial behavior. If you manage employees too closely (micromanage), creativity and entrepreneurial behavior will be stifled. Conversely, they will flourish. Entrepreneurs need space to think and create. Remove boundaries and perceived limits.
They share their plans and ideas proactively. Don’t consider this as someone trying to get close to you and impress you. They may have ideas about growing the practice, increasing patient satisfaction, increasing online reviews, increasing patient collections, and overall practice efficiency.
They want to get things done – not just talk about it. Entrepreneurs are doers and thinkers. Their thinking is done not just when you ask them but it is done way in advance. They want to act on those ideas. Many entrepreneurial employees get fidgety in meetings, get impatient because they want action not just talk in meetings.
They may threaten to leave if they are not thriving. This is the downside of hiring entrepreneurial employees. They want to see growth and success and be instrumental in making it happen. It is up to you to create an environment where they thrive. Share your vision and work to have them make it their own. If there is a disconnect, this employee is perhaps not a good fit.
They may not be excellent team players. Sometimes, the most entrepreneurial employees don’t work well on teams. They don’t think like other people, and may have trouble understanding or empathizing with alternate points of view. These are not bad team members, their entrepreneurship needs to be harnessed.
Working with an entrepreneurial employee
I was helping a good friend and client several years ago. His practice was struggling to grow. He had just lost a provider/partner. One of his employees did not have the ‘office manager’ title, but she acted and behaved like one. She was a hard charger and driver. She intimidated everyone, but at the same time, other employees respected her for her knowledge and tenacity. They implemented a new EHR. She learnt and mastered it to the point where she became the internal ‘guru’. Even billing staff reached out to her.
The owner provider was concerned and scared. He was contemplating letting her go because even he felt intimidated. We talked it over and established a 6 month plan. We gave her a vision for personal and practice growth, and linked them together. We established boundary conditions and left her alone without micromanaging. We met with other staff members and sought out their feedback and articulated her role.
After 6 years, she is the office manager – she’s happy and the practice has grown tremendously.
Recognize and seek out entrepreneurial employees, you will not regret it.
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