The Ups and Downs of Creative Leadership

It’s Monday morning, you unlock the door and flick the light on. It’s a whole new day. A fresh canvas. You move about the office, tidying up the forgotten book, putting away the errant crayon and reload the table that needs a new face paper roll. Flicking on the stereo, the gentle sounds of spa music roll into the atmosphere and you take a deep breath. Taking a sip of your coffee, you sit down at the computer and turn on the machine. Opening up the software you catch your first glimpse of the schedule.

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It’s like you can hear the needle scratch across the record as the serenity comes to a screeching halt!

Holy Mother of God! Every man, woman and child in your roster and their dog is coming in today!!! This has all the signs of an exhausting, hectic day. And it will be unless…YOU and your team, and your DC, get grounded, stay focused and be in control. Be the leader of all the activities in the office whether with your co-workers or the practice members.

First things first. Go through the list of practice members and highlight anyone who owes payment or needs a next appointment or has an issue to deal with. High-lite the list accordingly and copy that list and take it to your DC when they arrive and see if there is anyone that stands out for them. Prepare any documents or product needed and have them at the ready.

Ground yourself. Before your practice members start streaming in, do a team huddle and perhaps even say some affirmations together. Affirmations are great on a daily basis but can be a lifesaver at the start of some of the crazier days and repeat for the afternoon shift.

Have entertainment ready for the children, especially for the ones that are typically harder to keep their attention. Keep certain toys at the ready that only get pulled out for them. Crayons and coloring books are great, but some kids just need more activity. Be prepared for some Simon Says, or to have a tea party. I had one child that would scream with separation anxiety while his mother would get adjusted, until I took him upstairs to a spare room one day and discovered that he had a love of light switches and would spend the balance of the appointment flicking it on and off, fascinated by his control of the light on the ceiling. I had a future electrician on my hands! Another child would help me count trucks going by on the road, and another was held spell bound by the squirrels running around the yard that we could see through the window. Having some healthy snacks on hand is always great too, especially around that witching hour when supper is approaching but no where in sight! A hyper kid or one that is melting down does not need sugar in their system, but a good snack can have everyone sitting down and smiling, giving you the chance to answer the phone, that remarkably, seems to be ringing more than usual. Remember to keep away from high allergen foods, and always ask parents for permission and about any allergy concerns.

Sometimes, when the waiting area swells with people, and certain people always bump into each other at the same timed appointments every week, they gather some rapport and you’ll hear that they are connecting with each other in a way that extends beyond polite weather chat. There can be some boisterous conversation and laughter breaking out, and sometimes, people become so engrossed they don’t even hear their name being called! This is all wonderful – to an extent! Clearly you are creating community within your office environment. This is a great time to have a healthy recipe on hand, or an article on health, that you can hand round and generate some “healthy” conversation. Speak in quieter softer tones than what is naturally happening and watch the energy drop back into zen mode as you stimulate the conversation towards chiropractic and healthy life choices. Bring up any workshops your office is promoting and hand round the sign up sheet on a clip board. If you have a particular client that LOVES to chat the DC’s ear off, and putting the schedule behind, be sure to engage them in conversation first, and exhaust their word energy as much as possible before they go in for their adjustment. If they can get them out of their system before they see the doctor, the DC is likely to only get the short condensed version as they feel they are now repeating themselves!

A good rule of practice is to make sure, as much as possible, that all appointments and payments are done by pre-booking blocks of time and pre-paying with financial block plans. These are a great way to save time behind the desk and will allow you more time in the waiting room talking with the practice members or helping to entertain the children who are waiting. Another tip is to make sure children get adjusted ahead of their parents. Relieving their subluxations first will help make them calmer and in turn, if they’re calm, their parents won’t be stressing on the table wondering if little Johnny is tearing up the place. If the children aren’t being adjusted, make sure to provide ample education materials to the parents of the merits of having their children in care. Always ask when scheduling if they are ready to bring in Suzy for their first visit and adjustment. Always have stickers on hand as reward for good behavior (whether adjusted or not) and assist mom and dad by withholding the stickers, good naturedly of course, until coats and shoes are back on to go home. You’ll have parents hugging you when you do this one, especially the ones with children who have to be dragged into the office, and then coerced out of the office again because now they are settled into the amazing activities you’ve brought up to entertain them with!

All of these things will go a long way into creating the day you want rather than the day it could be. Sometimes its just a matter of creative leadership and a little extra thought that will go a long way into making your practice members feel cared for, the children entertained and the office run smoothly. Remember, you are the Captain of the front office, and how focused you are will help you stay on the ups and avoid the downs of an otherwise hectic, crazy day.

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