Are You the Bottleneck?

Every practitioner dreams of an easier/simplified way of accomplishing everything she has to get done.  Triple that when the practitioner is also the business owner.  There is always just so much to do.  As professional adults you learn to delegate certain things.  Most professionals delegate the cleaning of their home.  Many delegate the taxi driving of their children.  When you eat out or pick up dinner, you are delegating the preparation of your food.

In the office there are definitely things that get delegated.  I don’t know even one practitioner that answers her own office phone or files her own insurance claims.  Dentists are never the ones taking the x-rays or sterilizing the equipment.  These are all things that require delegation to make a practice run.

There are plenty of other things, though, that can be more difficult to delegate.  Often, certain financial decisions can be hard to delegate – what accounts to write off, large purchases to be made, negotiating employment contracts, and scheduling/production related choices.  These are the places where the owner/dentist can become the bottleneck that keeps things from running smoothly.

Stop being the bottleneck.

I love the saying, “don’t make a thousand little decision when one decision will do.”  Simply put, quit wasting your decision making time, effort, and attention deciding, for example, which individual aged A/R accounts should be written off, and instead decide the time frame (older than 24 months), amount (less than $1000), or contact history (three statements returned and phone number disconnected) that would lead to an account being written off.  Communicate these parameters to your staff, and allow them to get their job done.

Here is what that can look like:

  • On days that the main school system is out, all columns can be hygiene.
  • Here is the budget for office supplies.  When you are going to go over the monthly budget or have a single line item expense that is more than $250, I must approve it.  Here is the approval form.
  • This is our employment contract.  It includes all benefits.  I approve a pay rate up to $19 per hour for this position.

When you create these boundaries for your employees, they can get their jobs done much more effectively and efficiently.  More importantly, they feel much more autonomous in their work.  This is one of the ways you can create a higher level of job satisfaction for your employees.  You are still setting the rules, but you are letting them play their own game inside of those rules.

So next time one of your employees comes to you with a minutiae type question, ask yourself, “How can I answer this question so that I never have to answer it again?”

THAT is how you simplify your work life.

Want more tips and tricks?  Let me know at


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