“Beyond The Chair” with Graig Presti, Running Your Business, Part 2 of 2

Welcome to our new series, “Beyond The Chair” with Graig Presti, Inc. 500 CEO of Local Search For Dentists®. We discuss issues facing the modern small practice owner, and how to stay competitive in your market.

Our discussion this week focuses on running your business and managing staff.

This week, here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to motivate staff members by creating a sense of purpose beyond collecting a paycheck
  • Why traditional delegation is BAD and how it could lead to toxic decisions (that you never saw coming) that follow you and negatively impact your business for years
  • How to empower your staff with limited checks and balances in order to get more done without losing control

Click Below to Play OR if you like to read, there is a transcript below:

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Transcription of Part 2:

Benjamin: Some of my favorite thought leaders, when it comes to leadership, they really stress the point that as a business owner and as somebody who is…you have people in your employ; your job is not just to sign your paychecks and we are not just here to do a mechanical thing every day, but “we are changing people’s lives and here’s how.

“This is what our little corner of the world, here’s how we’re changing lives” and you touched on this, you actually have done it quite a bit; you are as a dentist, and as a treatment provider, you are helping somebody not be afraid to smile anymore, not be afraid to go have dinner, or go to social functions. If you can help convey that message to your staff, that we are not cleaning people’s teeth, we are making people be more comfortable in their lives. They feel the purpose, they feel the vision, they can buy into that vision and they’re not just showing up for a paycheck anymore. They feel like they’re part of something, that’s big.

Graig: I think that is big but you know, but there also is the monotony of life too.

Benjamin: Of course.

Graig: And I think as long as you have your finger on that pulse, as the business owner, you’ll see it coming and as you get better at it, you see it coming before it’s coming.

And you know, we all deal with that as business owners I mean, the dentist watching this is in the same position as we are with our company and things like that where you really just the more systems you have in place, and checks and balances, and really no B.S. approach you have to running your business, you see things happening before they happen.

Benjamin: Yeah.

Graig: And you can’t be afraid to pull the plug and I think that’s OK, but you know, I think you can’t be afraid for that to happen, I think actually that’s healthy, right, sort of gets the negative energy out of there and you can start to grow your business appropriately.

Benjamin: Yeah. It really is difficult when you have all of these wheels turning, and you have all the different things that you know, you went to dental school you didn’t go to business school and so you have to learn how to run a business. That involves knowing marketing at least enough to hire a marketing company to do it; know that they’re doing a good job.

You have to know how to be a dentist, you have to know how to be a leader, you have to know all these things but really your job is to set the poles and to maintain it too, you are the captain of the ship.

Graig: You are the captain of the ship and without you it doesn’t function. And I think that’s critical.  And that’s why you know, I think delegation is overrated quite frankly you know, I think for me when I look at what gets delegated in a dental practice, I think that’s one of those words that’s another buzz word they just thrown around as if it’s this great golden goose like, “Well, all you need to just delegate the marketing, or you need to just delegate this or delegate that,” right? That’s a business buzz word that we learn in business school and I really think it is the most overrated thing on the planet. Because, it really comes inside the business because delegation doesn’t mean turning your head, and I think a lot of times it gets perverted into the sense that you know some of our prospective of clients and clients, they decided that they’re going to start delegating certain activities, and that means they can turn their head to it. “Mary’s got that, Bobby’s got that you know, that’s, I don’t even want to touch it, I am not even involved, that’s your problem, that’s not what delegation is.”

Delegation is taking interactivity off of your plate and assigning it to a team member, so you are freed up to do other things, but that delegation to that team member means you still manage that activity, you’re still responsible for that delegation.

So, let’s take marketing for example, right, because that something we deal with quite frequently is we’ll hear, well, I have an office manager and I delegate all marketing activities to hear [things].

Benjamin: Which is really a bad idea.

Graig: Which is not a good idea and their job is to go out and hire, fire and manage marketing agencies, right. Well that really doesn’t work very well, and here’s why it doesn’t work very well.

Is because if you delegate it to that person and you turn your head to it, OK, they’re essentially signing you up or [conducting] activities that you have no clue about and get yourself into a bit of a pickle there, right?

Which means, “well we just bought three marketing campaigns, I let that person do it because I delegated it.”

Now all of a sudden you’re in three different contracts, you don’t know what’s in the contract, you don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing, Mary left you, she got a promotion at another dental practice and now she’s there, and now you’re left with these three contracts and you have no idea what’s going on, because you delegated. It happens all the time.

Benjamin: And this is something we’re very cognizant of, in our business that, whenever we have a new client come in, or a new prospect, we make sure the doctor’s on the phone, so that they know what’s going on.

Graig: He has to be involved.

Benjamin: Yes, not just a marketing person, it’s not just, and we’re not trying to be jerks about it, it’s because the business works better when the doctor knows what’s going on.

Graig: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m a big proponent of you should not be letting your employees sign contracts, you should not let your employees you know, make credit card purchases that aren’t approved by you, right, you should be approving every single invoice, every single month, you should be signing every single check, you should be reading every contract because at the end of the day you can have these people bring the information to you, but you need to be involved in that decision.

What’s funny about it; even in the largest companies in this country, the C.E.O. is involved in every major decision right?  Just like here, [you’re] the C.E.O. of your practice. And it happens all the time and I think the delegation thing is a word that is just turned over and I you know, there’s instances, and to be honest with everyone, where we’ve had instances where the dentist wasn’t involved in the decision to join our company and the staff member left and the doctors didn’t know what we were doing, in sort of you know, “I made the decision.” Now we need to have everyone involved, then we’ll do a conference call or a webinar or we can all sit down and talk about it because the reality is, we want our clients to be happy, we want our dentist to be happy and we know that the telephone game between staff members is very tricky. I think you just need to dig your hands into that and be involved, managing every bit of money and things that go on in that business, without a question.

Benjamin: So, to clarify delegation is not just a good thing, it’s essential to the growth of the business as long as you are monitoring that and you know what’s going on, delegation doesn’t mean you just hand something over and never look at it again.

Graig: Correct. Absolutely, and that’s the thing is you know, just like you most likely delegate your payroll or delegated your accounting because you’re not a C.P.A., but that doesn’t mean you don’t review your books, right? That doesn’t mean you don’t look at your profit and loss statement on a monthly basis, right.

You shouldn’t be waiting to the end of the year to hear how much you owe in taxes or how much money you’ve made or lost and I think that’s the difference and I think empowering your staff is good in the sense that it does free you up to do other things but there needs to be a checks and balances there, because you don’t want to put yourself into a bad situation because you weren’t aware of certain decisions that were happening in your business you know, because someone was going to go and you said you know, do some research on some marketing and then all of the sudden you’re in 24-month contract with a huge penalty clause if you don’t get out of it, before you know it you don’t even know what they’re really doing and you need to be aware of all those things.

And I think you know, I’ve seen the dark side of that, where I you know, I do feel for some of the people who do that.

So yes, delegate but also manage. Management delegation need to go hand in hand and you know understanding that where that money’s going is absolutely critical.