It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

The recent CIPD research in partnership with Simply Health was completed in November 2018 and covered more than 3.2 million employees across the UK.

The top causes of long term sickness were mental ill health & stress with 59% & 54% respectively.

 

 

The top three causes of stress related illness are:

  • Workloads / volume of work.  62%
  • Management style.   43%
  • Relationships at work. 30%

Your style as a manager needs to vary depending upon the different environments and employees. Management styles can be categorised as autocratic, democratic and laissez faire. What do you think your’s is?

If you need help with either your own management style or your managers’ style then drop me a line at alunrees@mac.com – it’s what I’m here for.

The full report is available here.

CIPD’s Top tips to support managers to minimise stress in their teams is available here.

 

 

Patient? Customer? Client? What really matters.

An interesting conversation in a practice about what the people that are treated/served/cared for should be called. I have been around the block a couple of times over the past 30 odd years and have returned to, and will remain with, patients. But that’s my opinion, you use whatever is comfortable for you.

“We sometimes make assumptions based on our opinions about a customer’s Patient’s wants and needs.

It’s hard to be objective about our ideas when we are invested in the outcome.

But that shouldn’t stop us trying to stand in our customer’s Patient’s shoes for long enough to understand how he feels.

Our opinion is immaterial if it doesn’t align with the story the customer Patient believes.”

Adapted from Bernadette Jiwa.

Productive moi?

When analysing dental businesses and individual team members I try to keep in mind “5 E”s that apply to successful clinical practice, effective, ergonomic, economic, ethical, efficient. I have always believed that principals, and those who truly have “skin in the game” perform better on most, if not all, of the “5 E”s.

The workforce generally could learn a lot from some of my case studies.

RBS Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Shifting sands

Harder, better, faster, stronger?  Hardly.  Yet another year has passed without any productivity growth in the UK.  In fact, output per hour worked actually fell 0.2% over the year to Q4 2018.  The only reason the economy grew at all was because more people worked than ever before.  Yet each worker now produces a mere 2% more than before the 2008 recession struck (whereas our American cousins are churning out 15% more every hour worked).  Bad news is that the awful run is unlikely to let-up soon; both weak investment and slowing trade are likely to drag on productivity growth in 2019.

Put down your smart phone…

The more I watch the way people behave with mobile devices the more uncomfortable I become. I was secretly pleased a couple of years ago when my son justified his use of a Nokia (non-smart) phone, “Makes and takes calls, sends and receives texts. What else do I need?”

I have regular conversations with dentists and practice managers who face resentment at best and mutinies at worst because team members aren’t allowed to keep their phones with them (and on line) at all times, on the pretext of “what happens if someone has to get hold of me?” which really means, “but I’ll have to go without Instagram/FB/Snapchat/Twitter/etc.” (Perm any 3 from a multitude).

This comes from The Economist via “Memex” (the blog of John Naughton which I consider to be essential reading).

Distraction is a constant these days; supplying it is the business model of some of the world’s most powerful firms. As economists search for explanations for sagging productivity, some are asking whether the inability to focus for longer than a minute is to blame…..

….Distractions clearly affect performance on the job. In a recent essay, Dan Nixon of the Bank of England pointed to a mass of compelling evidence that they could also be eating into productivity growth. Depending on the study you pick, smartphone-users touch their device somewhere between twice a minute to once every seven minutes.

Conducting tasks while receiving e-mails and phone calls reduces a worker’s IQ by about ten points relative to working in uninterrupted quiet. That is equivalent to losing a night’s sleep, and twice as debilitating as using marijuana. By one estimate, it takes nearly half an hour to recover focus fully for the task at hand after an interruption. What’s more, Mr Nixon notes, constant interruptions accustom workers to distraction, teaching them, in effect, to lose focus and seek diversions.

The Binge Listen #1 – Don’t Tell Me The Score

I came across the “Don’t Tell Me The Score” podcast a week or so ago and have listened to the eleven episodes whilst wrestling with wood over the past couple of days – one great advantage of the ear protectors that I employ whilst using the chain-saw is that they both isolate me and keep my headphones in place.

The premise of this BBC Radio 4 podcast is that sport can teach us a great deal about life. Presenter Simon Mundie interviews at length his guest, who has direct association with sport as a player, coach, writer, or scientist. I particularly enjoyed Ben Ryan on Motivation, Mike Brearley on Leadership and James Kerr on Legacy. There are lessons to be learned from each and every episodes and I thoroughly recommend it. More books to read! If they are as good as “Legacy” then I’m going to enjoy myself.

Available from all good podcast sources and the BBC website.

PS – One small criticism – Simon I do wish you wouldn’t keep mentioning England winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003 as if it was the greatest achievement in history – or indeed a surprise. Whilst it sticks in my craw to say it they were the best team both in the tournament and during the year leading up to it, so victory was deserved.

 

What to do when…..a Corporate Opens Nearby – Part 2

What to do when a corporate opens nearby. First Published in Private Dentistry…2 of 2

6 Expand your offering.

What is the corporate doing that you could be doing – and be doing better? Now is the time to take those course that you have been postponing. Invest in yourself, your skills and those of everyone in the practice. Where are your “blind spots”? What skills are you, your associates and support team lacking? Get out there and get refreshed, it will do everybody good.

 

7 Up your business game.

Get out of any business comfort zone you may have been enjoying. Set personal and business goals. Make sure your financial controls and monitoring are as good as they can be. Brush up your sales process by ensuring everybody understands the importance of every stage of the patient journey. Refresh your internal marketing.

8 Ride with, and learn to avoid, the punches.

People will leave, the unexpected ones, the ones that you have moved heaven and earth to help. That will hurt; you’re a human being, of course it will hurt. There is a possibility that there will be a fall in new patients calling. Accept it, use it as a chance to look backwards at patients who you haven’t seen for a couple of years and reactivate them.

Beware of getting dragged into a price war with the new business who will be using loss leaders and offers to attract new patients. There’s no such thing as a “free” examination, just a consultation with someone who isn’t qualified to give a full opinion. A price war is a race to the bottom, keep your eyes upwards, make quality your mantra in everything that you do.

9 Wave goodbye / Welcome back

Let patients “leave” with your blessing, they’ll be back. Be understanding, be helpful, offer to share notes and radiographs. Keep them on your database (with permission) so that they get the regular newsletter, the news of the people, the offers, the inside track.

In my experience the best way to drive business to a private practice is an NHS corporate opening across the road. When they come back, and if they don’t return you really do need to take a long hard look at yourself, welcome them, listen to what their experiences have been and what they have learned. Then learn from them. Delight in their return, welcome them home.

 

10 Celebrate your independent success on your terms.

The patients who attend are coming to see you and your colleagues. The help you give is what you think is appropriate not set down and governed by a spreadsheet. The targets you set are your targets, flexible enough to be realistic for your patients.

The history of post-war Britain is for successful small firms to be swallowed up by large ones and for the intrepid owners to move on and start again. You cannot take on the “big boys” on their terms so don’t try to do it. Discover your niche, work at it, celebrate it.

Look at the big picture, you aren’t competing with the corporate you’re competing for the discretionary spend with holidays, cars, gym membership and consumer goods. Put health and individuals at the heart of your business, be honest with yourself, your team and your patients and you will resist this and other challenges.

Little by little – Happy Winter Solstice.

Happy Winter Solstice! Don’t worry I’m not going off on a Pagan kick just taking sometime to enjoy the bleak midwinter.

Today, December 21st, is the shortest day of the year. Where I live the daylight will last for 7 hours 49 minutes and 18 seconds. As I used to tell my son, before he could scientifically argue back, today is the day when the sun packs its suitcase and starts heading northwards and Summer is on the way.

Tomorrow there will be 7hr 49min 19s of daylight, the day after another 7 seconds and on January 1st we can enjoy all of 7hr 55min 21sec presuming we’re awake by 8.02am , by the time we reach the Summer Solstice there will be 16hr 38min 48sec.

It reminds me of the one sure way to achieving and continuing success, small constant increments. Many of us start by presuming we will experience the “big bang” at some point and finally reach success will be ours. The truth is far more ordinary, small incremental changes for the better is the way to attain success. Read about Dave Brailsford’s work in cycling, look at the vast majority of successful enterprises and you will see that little happens overnight rather it is the gradual progression that gets results.

Progress does occur, there will be setbacks of course but by focussing on making every day better than the one before then you will move forward into your particular sunshine. One where we are not obliged to head backwards after June 21st.

Take some time over the holiday period to ask yourself what you want your changes to be this year. What’s your 2020-Vision? What are the steps you must start making?

 

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