Physician Empowerment Resource Blog

Getting the right people on your bus

#practice management May 13, 2021

One way to depict leadership is for the leader to take a group of people on a bus ride toward a destination. 

 

Here are the scenarios:

 

  1. Right People, Right Bus: Great, you’ve got the ideal situation and the prerequisite for a great team. Bon voyage!
  2. Right People, Wrong Bus: Uh-oh! However, no matter where the bus goes, they will probably have a good time on the journey. And together they can figure out how to get to their destination.
  3. Wrong People, Right Bus: Now the people are having fights, strife, and strain even if the bus is heading straight to the destination. If they ever get there in one piece…
  4. Wrong People, Wrong Bus: An awful coincidence; a recipe for disaster. Life is too short. Get out STAT!

 

Early in my practice, I thought that I could shape my team like a sculptor. Boy, was I wrong! 

 

We’re not on a crusade of changing people-- they’re either the right people or NOT! 

 

Inverson took an obscure...

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What really is an asset?

#finance May 06, 2021

In an earlier article, I asked you to calculate your net worth by subtracting your liabilities from your assets.

 

What is an asset? The simplest definition is an object or financial product that can be converted (sold) into money.

 

But the question is more complicated than that. 

 

Take your vehicle, for instance. While it may be sold, you won’t ever get what you paid for it. Every year you own and drive it, the value depreciates. 

 

Your personal residence is another example. Without constant upkeep, repairs, and renovations to keep it current, its value may wither. If you sell it, will you really pocket the profits while you downsize, or will you be tempted to get a different home of equal or greater value?

 

Cash is king. 

 

One definition of an asset is anything in your life that generates positive cash flow with minimal or no effort on the owner's part. 

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True focus is the secret to your success

Years ago, I attended a seminar on focus, wondering what the big deal was and how someone could be a “focus specialist”. 

 

The speaker started by asking how many key roles the audience had in their lives. He started at three, then kept counting upwards. I held my hand high up until the count was done, secretly feeling quite proud of how versatile and important I must have been. 

 

Surprise! 

 

It turned out that the higher the count the less focused and more scattered you are! 

 

According to the focus specialist, the maximum count should be three!

 

We’ve all experienced a good sunburn, but a convex lens can focus the same energy into a powerful beam that lights up a match!  (I guess that’s why we use the term “laser-focused”.)

 

For anyone who was recognized or remembered in history, it was always about one big idea, or one salient thing they did, not a bunch of different things (eg Ray...

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How to “turn off”

#self care balance Apr 22, 2021

As I mentioned in a previous communication, many of us feel that we are “always on” and accessible to our personal and practice networks.

 

I love my smartphone and consider it indispensable to my medical practice and daily life. But sometime in the last several years, I realized it was a growing hindrance to enjoying family time. I was being interrupted with notifications or felt the need to check email outside of work hours.   

 

That got me searching for ways to enjoy the benefits of the technology while minimizing its downsides.

 

The most effective strategies I’ve found in my own personal use are the following:

 

1. Turn off all notifications all the time. Unless I’m expecting an important call, my phone never rings, beeps, or vibrates. 

 

2. Leave it on the kitchen counter. Whether I’m building one of my companies or building a Lego set with the kids, the phone stays on the counter. I try and practice...

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This is why you can find yourself in conflict with your clinic manager

#practice management Apr 15, 2021

I once had a nursing manager that started as an ideal worker whom I promoted up the ranks. As time moved on and I continued to expand and innovate the processes of the clinic, I felt more and more resistance from her until she became fully defiant. 

 

Unfortunately, I eventually had to let her go.

 

Years later, I learnt that visionaries and entrepreneurs survive and thrive on Changes, while managers favour Status Quo

 

Thus, they fight against anything that upsets homeostasis!

 

Here is a table depicting more of their differences:

 

 

ENTREPRENEUR

  MANAGER

Focus

Business startup

Ongoing operations

Primary motivation

Achievement

Power

Approach to task

Informal

Formal

Status

Owner

Employee

Reward

Profit

Salary

Decision making

Intuitive

Calculative

Driving force

Creativity and Innovation

Preserving status quo

Risk orientation

Risk taker

Risk averse

Once you...

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Not quite a crystal ball (but still pretty good)

In an earlier post, I discussed taking stock of our current financial lives by setting up an annual calculation of net worth.

 

This week, I want to encourage you to glimpse at your financial future. 

 

There are many ways to do it, but the simplest is to use a compound growth calculator to determine whether your investments (rates of contribution and returns) are sufficient to help you achieve your financial goals by a certain date.

 

There are many great articles covering compound growth because it is a central tenet of wealth creation. However, the best way to understand compounding is to simply explore a calculator using figures from your own life and then play with combinations.

 

Retirement at different ages: 55? 60? 65? 70?

Annual contributions: $50,000? $100,000?

Different investments: stocks (~7%) or real estate (~12%) or bonds (~2%)

 

Have some fun exploring the different options!

 

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These 4 Cs are the vital signs of your practice

In our daily clinical practice, we check our patients’ vital signs all the time. What about “checking the vitals” of your own practice? 

 

Just like for human beings, the vital signs are the measurables that can quickly tell you the most crucial wellbeing of your practice-- the 4 C’s:

 

  1. Cash Flow

If “Cash is King”, then “Cash Flow is Queen”-- as in the most powerful chess piece on the chessboard! Cash flow can be measured in the following categories:

  • Accounts Receivable 
  • Accounts Payable
  • Liquidity
  • Accessible Credits

 

  1. Clientele/ Good Will

The “good will” of a medical practice can be assessed by the following parameters: 

  • Patient panel size
  • # Patients seen daily or weekly
  • The third next available appointment
  • No show rate

 

  1. Customer Satisfaction / Reputation

How happy are your patients about you and/or your practice? 

 

Under the Universal Health Care model in Canada,...

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Do you feel like you’re always on?

One of the central themes we cover at Physician Empowerment is the notion that many of us, regardless of practice background, always feel that we are “on”. 

Whether this is regarding patient care, administration, family life, or academic work, technology allows others to potentially reach us at any time. 

This can leave us feeling on edge and stressed out.

It’s important to disconnect and draw a clear line between work and play.  The Germans even have a name for it; Feierabend. 

Feierabend has two meanings:

  • it's the moment you stop working for the rest of the day
  • it's the part of the day between work and going to bed

Reflecting on your life and practice, how can you build habits into your daily routine to create clearer boundaries? 

Think of ways to step into your workday but also ways to step out of it. 

 

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Are you delegating or abdicating in your practice?

Most of us understand that we should delegate most tasks for maximum efficiency and throughput except the ones that only we can perform. However, the most common mistake of Delegation is Abdication, which is defined as blind trust plus giving up control. 

So, how are we supposed to delegate without trusting and giving up control? 

Well, the key here for Abdication is BLIND trust without a system of checks and balances for control. 

Here are some examples: 

Entrusting the billing clerk with all the billing without knowing the hows, whys, ifs, ands or buts. 

As clinicians, we are so busy providing the best patient care that it is tempting to just “delegate” the billing tasks to a clerk. However, are the billings optimized or even proper? How about billing rejections or reductions from the billing source (Provincial Health Care or otherwise)?  Who is there to follow up and remedy the situation so that they do not become write-offs or, more...

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Do you know where you stand financially?

One of the most fundamental exercises in personal finance is an annual calculation of household net worth. 

Typically, in the summer following our household’s corporate year ends, I stop and reflect on how the fiscal year has been. 

Did we thrive or just survive? 

Are we getting ahead financially and closer to our dreams?

While the calculation of net worth during a credit application can be tedious, it is important to reflect on your current financial state. And doing it takes just a few minutes.

Like information we review in our practices, a single data point holds little value. It is the trend that matters. 

So, with that, go ahead and document your net worth. It can be as complex as a spreadsheet or as simple as a sticky note on your office wall.

Next, set a reminder in your online calendar to prompt you to repeat the exercise annually. 

Doing these simple steps every year can be one of the most powerful tools in helping you reach your financial...

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