Becoming the CEO of Your Office
Falling in love with dentistry
If you have ever met Debbie Evans, an AADOM member and 2020 practice administrator of the year, you’ll quickly be impacted by her contagious passion for her career.
Debbie began her dental office management career in Kansas over 30 years ago. She was a stay-at-home mom with her kids when a visit to the dentist presented a job opportunity. The dentist was looking for part-time help to run the front office and saw immediately that Debbie’s vibrant personality and go-getter attitude would help grow the practice. Debbie gladly accepted the position and has not looked back since.
“I fell into my career in dentistry and quickly fell in love with it too.”
Debbie’s passion for the role and hunger to grow led to her current role within Wainright & Wassel DDS – a practice in North Carolina that has grown to 27 employees and is looking to grow 5 more in the near future. It is in this role that Debbie has discovered that an effective office manager really is like the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the practice.
Being the CEO of your office
CEO is a very unique position in a business that takes on important responsibilities and roles to move a company forward. Good CEOs are optimistic and positive, setting the tone for company culture while making key decisions that influence success in both the short-term and long-term.
When asked how office managers are like CEOs, Debbie responds that “You are the Chief Executive Officer -we don’t want the doctors to worry about anything besides treating patients. Anything that happens in the office, we take care of – problem solving all day long, keeping the ship moving forward. When you feel like you own the success of the practice, you will take better care in all of your responsibilities.” This attitude is what has made Debbie passionate about her job and finding her role much more rewarding.
Like a CEO, office managers address a variety of problems each day to keep the ship on course and avoid potential icebergs (for all of the Titanic fans out there). From large tasks like new patient marketing and training staff to smaller issues such as changing light bulbs or plunging toilets (something Debbie admits she still does when it needs to get done), the office manager coordinates and delegates it all with a positive optimistic attitude.
“Our office is one big puzzle and the puzzle pieces are constantly moving. It is my job to manage the shifting puzzle pieces each day and make sure everything is in the right place.”
Being the CEO (Chief Experience Officer)
A CEO is often considered the face of the company, the embodiment of the company’s values. Office managers are the first person the patient greets, AKA the directors of first impressions. They are in charge of developing the culture of patient engagement… Opens in a new window to getweave website… and establish best practices in patient communication. In bigger practices, like Wainright and Wassel DDS, the office manager may not be the only person greeting patients, but they train and motivate the team on how to prioritize the patient experience and better communicate with patients at every touchpoint.
In a very real way, office managers direct the patient experience and strongly influence how that practice is perceived by patients. The processes they establish and the culture they create resonate throughout the office.
“I firmly believe that culture comes from the top -you must show it, you must do it. Whether it’s how you treat and communicate with patients or how you communicate internally -it needs to be shown, not dictated from the top.”
To play on our CEO theme, they are the Chief (patient) Experience Officers.
Managing a CEO schedule
With a variety of tasks, both big and small, managing your schedule becomes an imperative skill for any office manager. It is important to implement technology solutions, like Weave, that help your staff save time and direct your attention towards areas of growth and office improvements (link).
“Weave was a game-changer for us. In the last 10 years, Weave has been the best decision we have made for our practice – essentially saving me from having another person up-front.”
Outside of technology, it is important to find methods to stay on schedule. For Debbie, the first thing she does each day is create a bullet list of things to get done on her trusty notepad and then focus her efforts on crossing off each item.
“Despite what comes up during the day, I make sure I get the daily bullet points done before I leave.”
Whatever methods or tools you use to stay on track it is important to remember the real impactor of success is the attitude and the mindset you put into your day.
Becoming an effective CEO
Though office managers aren’t usually given the title of CEO, they can embody and earn that distinction by doing three things:
- Develop a culture of positive patient interaction and an optimistic team attitude
- Effectively manage your daily schedule and learn to prioritize important tasks, and
- Decide to take ownership and responsibility for the practice’s success.
“The thing about taking ownership in your practice is that it’s something that everyone in the office must do to make a successful practice. No one can tell you to ‘take ownership’, you just need to have that inner drive.”
Debbie has experienced great success by mastering these three attributes and by ultimately seeing her role as something much greater: the CEO of her office.
See how Debbie uses Weave in her office to keep a full schedule, save time, and provide an excellent experience for their patients. (link to case study).
Learn more about how Weave can help your practice better engage with your patients in a custom walkthrough now… Opens in a new window to getweave website… . Plus, just for seeing a demo, you’ll receive a $50 gift card!