In 1989, a newly minted marketing consultant had just closed the biggest deal of his life. Once the euphoria abated, he got down to the business of implementing the deal he had just closed.
He placed orders for data, design, and print. He contacted his bookkeeper to enter the recurring receivables, and his vendors for the payables.
To make a long story short, The recurring receivable was not entered correctly, vendors were not paid as required, deadlines were missed, designs were error-ridden, proofs were confused, leading to the wrong version going to print.
Thus, a promising new client relationship ended about as quickly as it began.
Why? Quite simply, this marketing consultant, who by now you’ve guessed is Yours Truly, was not organized.
It was then that I resolved to master the art of effective office organization.
Clinical proficiency and excellent patient communication skills, while essential, are insufficient for practice prosperity. Clear, complete, accurate, and timely communication with vendors, referral sources, your dental team, and everyone else with whom you interact, in other words the ‘business side’ of your practice are equally vital.
Since 1994, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of helping people in several industries, and in their personal life, to adopt the keys to getting organized.
Benefits include drastically reduced stress, because you and your Team utilize a simple and consistent system for knowing what-is-supposed-to-be-done-when-by-whom, and the peace of mind, which comes when you know everything is operating smoothly.
How does one achieve this state of mind, business, and life?
First, by mastering The 4 Ds, that is, when and under what circumstances to:
Mastery of the 4 Ds is in turn a matter of understanding the difference between importance and urgency. In business, importance is something, which has an immediate or future effect on your income or reputation. Urgency is a task that includes an element of time: a deadline.
-If something is both important and urgent, you probably want to DO that
-If something is important, but not urgent, you may be able to DEFER it
-If something is not important, but urgent, you may want to DELEGATE or DISCARD it
-If something unimportant, you can probably DISCARD it
Another key to getting organized has to do with effective delegation. And success at this hinges largely upon scheduling effective meetings.
Meetings Bloody Meetings
The first question to ask is whether a meeting is necessary at all. Can its objective be achieved through other means? If not, then the second task is to decide who should attend the meeting. Time is money. If a person need not be at the meeting, she probably does not want to be there, and her time can be more productively invested elsewhere. The third criterion for an effective meeting is proper structure and conduct of the Meeting. This includes setting Agendas and Minutes/Action Steps.
People deserve to understand what is expected of them, and by when. Effective Agendas are reasonable in length, are clear and, to ensure attendees are prepared, disseminated well in advance of the Meeting itself.
Meeting minutes should be distributed as soon following the meeting as possible, and include timelines and task assignments that were agreed upon during the meeting.
The leader should be sure to schedule reminders to confirm completion of tasks.
If the task is urgent and important, and the team member has yet to demonstrate his/her ability to follow through or ‘deliver,’ it is a good idea to set a reminder to request status the day before the due date. If the matter is not particularly important, or the team member has proven him/herself to be reliable, the reminder can be set for the day of or even the day following the Due Date.
Another key to effective organization is a consistent and accurate computer-based filing system and as close to a paperless office as possible.
I like to say that the two most valuable pieces of equipment in any office are its SCANNER and SHREDDER.
Actually, these both run a distant second to your telephone, but that’s a topic for another day.
Keep your desk clear, and your mind will be as well. An effective electronic filing system ensures you have the peace of mind knowing how to locate emails, documents, and communications.
One can be the best at their craft, be it dentist, accountant, carpenter, electrician, home maker, or mom but without mastery of organization skills success, if it comes at all, comes at a far higher cost than necessary. The beauty of being organized is that it permits you to be your best without stressing yourself and others out. That’s why I encourage you to arm yourself with these tools that include:
- Knowing when to Do, Defer, Delegate, and Discard
- Efficient conduct of meetings
- An effective online filing system
and you and your practice will achieve amazing results with less effort and frustration.
Now get out there, and GET ORGANIZED!