Helping Staff, Physicians Adapt to Change at Your Practice

February 16, 2013

Do you have medical practice staff hesitant to change or adapt to new policies or procedures? Here are a few tips and ideas to help them along.

Albert Einstein once said, “You cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them.” This is so true in the workplace. When a problem is presented to you, are you looking at how to solve it with a fresh set of eyes or attitude? This is a critical step in resolving issues with staff, finances, or business development.

Change is inevitable. Life around us is in a constant state of flux. Fighting for “sameness” will not allow you to grow as a person or grow / maintain your business. Whether it is you, your staff, or your business, knowing how to be adaptable is required when moving forward.

Here are some ways you can look at being adaptable:

Intellectual flexibility: Keeping an open mind is important

I often use the phrase, “flying at 30,000 feet” when looking at situations. This enables me to see the big picture and fly down to fix a detail, only to resume my “30,000-foot view” afterwards. It's very effective.

Being receptive: Particularly to change

Everyone has an idea or opinion as to how to approach a problem. Listen to what they have to say. Sometimes even the silliest of suggestions holds merit and can be worked into a solution.

Creativity: Can you adapt by seeking out new ways of approaching a problem?

The overused phrase “thinking outside of the box” was created from this concept. What if there was never a box to begin with? The sky is the limit on problem solving, so utilize every concept that comes to mind. You might find it fun to solve issues when they come up.
Change your behavior: Your reaction to a situation is more critical than the situation itself

You've likely heard, “Life is 10 percent of what happens and 90 percent how you react to it.” This is so very true. Test yourself when a problem is brought to your attention. Do you immediately become frustrated and angry? Perhaps stepping outside of your comfort zone of reactionary emotions is another option.

Asking your medical practice staff to help problem solve will also take a management burden off your shoulders and empower your staff. Years ago - and I remember the exact moment and the exact conversation - I approached the president of a company I was working for, asking for his help to fix a problem. I was frustrated, troubled, angry, and unwilling to budge on my opinion of the situation. The president said to me, “Come back to me with three solutions. Silly or not, just three solutions, and we will discuss this further.”

So, I sat down, thought about how to fix the problem, and came back to him with my three solutions. We ended up using one of them. Each problem that I have encountered from then forward, I have stopped and considered three solutions. What a tool he gave me, and how amazing that I use it still today.

Change and adaptability remind me of a popular reality show where contestants are dropped on an island only to have to “survive” to the end. The one who can change and adapt the best is the winner. Try looking at situations with a different perspective. Rather than thinking, “This will not work,” try instead: “What do I have in my toolbox of knowledge that will make this work?” It's amazing when you start tapping into your own experiences the information you hold, and how you can apply those experiences to your business.