Your staff from the front desk to PTs are the beating heart of your practice. They handle the administrative duties and patient care—keeping your business on track. While many practice owners are excellent physical therapists and business owners, they often struggle with the delicate balance of owner and manager.
Owning and operating your own physical therapy practice should be one of the more rewarding aspects of your day. You control your career, help patients, and serve the community. And, you have the opportunity to coach and foster the careers of your team. But, most of us did not learn how to manage and grow professional talent in PT school. So how can you be a good manager and effective business owner? The simplest answer is to manage less to get more. You need to set up processes and policies to handle the daily, monthly and annual operations. And, focus your efforts towards new initiatives or specific events.
Every Fortune 500 company has at least one core leadership team. This consists of people, across different functions within the business, that have displayed strengths and qualities to support and grow their functions. Practice owners should have a core team that includes a leader for operations (front desk), finances, human resources, marketing and patient care (physical therapy). While as an owner, you can take on one of these positions it is not advisable to wear more than one additional hat. Most frequently, practice owners are also the leader for finances or patient care.
Each leader should be fairly autonomous in the day to day running of their function. They handle the process and policies that impact their role and responsibilities. For example, the marketing leader should manage the newsletter content, social media posts, doctors visits, and promotional events. By transitioning yourself out of the day to day, you empower the leader to own and manage their position and its outputs. At the same time, you have more time to understand the overall business performance, treat patients, and plan for the future.
Transferring the day to day can be super intimidating. Many practice owners struggle to let go and wind up micromanaging. Remember that boss who checked over your shoulder and seemed to just be waiting for you to make a mistake. Don’t be that boss. You want to hire the best talent so that they can successfully fulfill their obligations. If they do make a mistake, let them correct it and be sure to constructively (not critically) review the experience as a coach.
One of the best ways to stay tuned in, but not too close is to have daily or weekly meetings with your entire leadership team. Set aside 15 minutes each day for a round robin of updates to share statuses, problems, and wins. You should try to avoid leading the meeting, but instead actively have each team member contribute. If you need to intervene in a certain function, follow up one on one to get more details and to task the leader with solving the problem.
You want to lead, inspire and motivate your team as a whole and as individuals. Unlike the star quarterback who needs to run the show or the cheerleader who wants everyone to win, you need to be the real, down to earth coach. Schedule monthly 15 minute meetings with each employee. You should talk about their role, development goals, and training. Consider this a smaller version of your daily leadership meeting. These 15 minutes can help you identify inefficiencies and look for solutions. After each meeting, write down 3 bullets about what you talked about, successes and areas for improvement. Then, once a year, schedule a 30-minute performance review to discuss career trends and impacts. That takes a whole year of mismanaging and streamlines it to 2 impactful hours per employee.