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Delegation Simplified for Private Practice Owners

Passing tasks over to an assistant doesn't have to be a daunting task. In fact, passing over tasks to an assistant should be a common procedure. It should free up your time to do what matters most in your practice. So why is it that therapists oftentimes hesitate with handing over basic practice tasks? In my experience, it is a matter of fear. Fear that things won't be done correctly. Fear of delegating incorrectly. I have created the perfect system for delegation. One that will make delegation a simple procedure to complete.

The first step of delegation is learning why it is so important. Running a practice all on your own is 100% possible. However, it is sure to lead to burnout. Doing every task in your practice can cause you to become overwhelmed with your practice. It can make you feel like you are stuck in your practice. The process of delegating tasks should be simple and provide you with a feeling of relief, not fear. When you hand over a task you should not feel ashamed but instead empowered. Taking control of your practice means you can focus on what matters most and grow your practice effortlessly.

How do you start the delegation process? Start by making a list of all of the tasks you do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

Put these tasks into categories, like administrative, CEO tasks, billing, and marketing.

Identify how much time you spend on these tasks- Once you have mastered the task you will want to know how long it takes to complete the task. This will help you to effectively delegate that task when the time comes.

Identify what tasks require your special gifts- Great example of you performing tasks that require your special gift is networking.

Identify what tasks you do not look forward to doing- You are in control of your practice and if there is a task that you do not look forward to doing it needs to go on the delegation list.

Establishing Procedures - Establishing procedures for each task that you are looking to delegate is essential for the success of the delegation process. Procedures outline the task with all of the details. It is also a great way for you to manage these tasks effectively. With the right procedure template, any task can be delegated.

Once you have created the procedure for each task, go over the procedure and complete the tasks yourself using the procedure. You want to make sure that you didn't miss any details. Test it out for a few weeks and make changes as needed. Once it is perfected you can start to pass over the task to your assistant.

Managing the Task - You want to make sure for the first few months you regularly manage the task. This will help you identify if the task is being done correctly, in a timely manner, and according to how the procedure states. This will also help you identify if a change is needed in the procedure. We all follow directions differently so if you need to make changes to make things easier for your assistant or the task in general do not be afraid to do so. Procedures can be edited. After the assistant has established the task for a few months check in on the task once a month to make sure everything is still going well. Anytime you make a change to the procedure spot check it to make sure it is being done correctly. If the procedure is not being followed correctly by the assistant simply address the concern with the assistant. You may find they have input on the procedure or you may find they are not the right fit. Knowing the reason why they are not following will help you know what direction you need to go in. Learning a new procedure takes time so keep that in mind when assessing the progress.

Follow the following outline to regularly check in on tasks in under 30 minutes a week,

  1. Start with tasks that are done on a regular basis. Example: Scheduling an appointment. You will want to check to see what appointments were scheduled within the week and pick 2-3 to choose from to double-check. Make sure that the appointments were scheduled correctly. If there was an error made do not fix it. Write down the error and tell the assistant that the task was not completed correctly and have them go back and fix it. Make sure you look back over the tasks to ensure it was completed correctly. Communicate effectively with your assistant and give them time to fix their errors. Mistakes will happen. Especially in the beginning.

  2. If you feel a task is being done incorrectly on a more than average basis, you may want to take a look at the procedure to see if there are any changes that need to be made to how the task is being completed. It is not uncommon to change procedures along the way. Sometimes the only reason we know a change needs to be made is because of an error that keeps happening.

  3. Communicate effectively with your assistant. Your assistant can not get better at their job if you do not tell them in a constructive way what is wrong and how it needs to be fixed. A lack of communication can ruin the relationship between you and your assistant and cause you to waste time and money.

  4. Assess if the assistant you have is the right fit for your practice. While in the beginning mistakes are common there are some red flags that will tell you if the person assisting is right for your practice. Some things can not be taught like customer service and compassion. If clients are complaining that the person answering the phone or responding to emails is rude you may want to look into the complaint and see if you can troubleshoot the issue. Be very mindful of how you approach the situation. Make sure your clients are top priority. If you have an assistant that is very nice and makes your clients feel like they are being taken care of but lacks billing skills. Ask yourself if putting in some extra training hours will be worth it for your practice.

One thing to keep in mind- Choose to operate your practice from the emotion of love. If you do not love to do billing, do not do billing. Learn how to complete the task, Create the procedure and then happily pass it along. It is your practice you are in control. Choose to do the tasks that keep you loving your practice.

Managing a practice can bring many challenges, so if you feel like your practice needs guidance, feel free to schedule a free consult call.

Delegation Affirmation: I am capable of delegating tasks effectively and know my practice will flourish because of my actions.

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