As a physician, you need to focus on your patients’ needs. As someone who owns or manages a rheumatology practice, you need to focus on your business’s needs. “This can feel like you’re not only wearing two different hats, but that you also have to be two different people,” says Virginia Fraser, global content specialist, Insights Learning & Development, Austin, Texas.
However, trying to be everything to everyone is a prescription for failure, continues Ms. Fraser, whose firm focuses on developing individuals, teams and leaders. “It is important for doctors who run a business to capitalize on their skills and leverage their interpersonal strengths, training and abilities as analysts and problem solvers to serve their patients and staff in similar ways,” she says.
One place where the role of physician and business owner converge is running staff meetings. “Effective meetings have the power to leave a staff feeling invigorated, informed, collaborative and goal oriented,” Ms. Fraser says.
“Conversely, ineffective staff meetings have the power to leave a staff feeling deflated, confused, stifled and without direction. Both outcomes impact a staff’s productivity level, engagement and effectiveness in their roles.”
Rheumatologists who own or operate a practice can vastly improve the outcome of routine staff meetings by employing some simple strategies, beginning with planning ahead for the meeting.
No. 1: Provide a Clear Objective; Prepare in Advance
Mary K. Crow, MD, chief, Division of Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, says it’s helpful to provide a brief agenda ahead of time to give attendees an expectation of what will occur. This encourages staff to develop preliminary thoughts and suggestions they can bring up at the meeting.
“Just as you would thoroughly review a patient’s chart before meeting with them, do the same level of preparation before meeting with your staff,” Ms. Fraser continues. To prepare, you may want to review meeting minutes from the previous session or create and circulate an agenda based on open items and requests for further direction from staff.
“Staff will lose confidence in their leader’s competency if they spend meetings reviewing the same agenda items as the previous meeting without outlining next steps or seeing any type of resolution.”
Staff meetings should have limited surprises and clear expectations. “Brief your team at the onset regarding why you’re there, what you’re intending to do and how you will spend the next period of time achieving the intended result,” Ms. Fraser says.
No. 2: Schedule It at a Good Time
No one wants to attend a meeting first thing in the morning, at lunchtime or late in the day. “They want to use those parts of the day, respectively, to get ramped up, enjoy their personal time and tie up loose ends—not sit in a stuffy room for a drawn-out conversation,” says Tim Hird, executive director, Robert Half Management Resources, San Ramon, Calif.