5 Jul 2013  •  Practice Management  •  3min read


The title doesn’t really give much away, right? Les Jones, Marketing Director at Practice Plan, shares how stimulating debates and discussions with your teams can stimulate ideas to help your practice grow.

How do you think the rules of football could be improved?

How do you think we could get people to recycle more?

How do you think we could attract more patients into the practice?

Simple questions that you probably weren’t thinking about or considering a few seconds ago. However, there’s now a fair chance that you are thinking about them, and probably forming some answers.

And that’s how easy it is to get new ideas for your practice. It’s a very simple premise – stimulate debate and discussion and you stimulate ideas. Everyone in your practice has opinions, ideas, interesting thoughts and observations. However, many practices don’t provide the space and time for these invaluable resources to be explored and positively exploited.

A very easy and cheap way of generating a more creative and innovative culture within your business is simply to talk more – constructively and with a clear focus. Ask your team what ideas they have to overcome the key issues that you face on a day-to-day basis and they will tell you. Ask them for new ideas on how you can improve your customer experience and they will provide them.

So, do yourself a favour – make a modest investment in a flipchart and some pens and organise regular staff meetings (without distractions) to create new ideas and strategies for achieving your key objectives. Not only will you be surprised by the results that you get, you will also benefit from a re-energised and newly focused team that feels more engaged and valued.

Now you’ve got the ideas flowing, let’s talk for a moment about what you do with them.

Firstly, and very importantly, look for the quick wins and implement them…quickly. If you have ideas that are easy and cheap to put in place, don’t procrastinate – just do it! This approach shows your team that the idea-generating sessions are not just talking shops – things happen as a result and therefore team members can feel confident that their ideas count.

Once you have implemented an idea, make sure that you monitor its impact — is it having the desired effect or not? Does it need tweaking or developing? And if it’s not working, fail fast!

There’s no guarantee that a new idea will work, and that’s fine – it’s about trying things out and learning from the experience – but don’t fall into the trap of flogging a dead horse.

Finally, make things visual. If you’ve generated ideas around a key business issue – let’s say, attracting new patients – create regularly updated visual graphs and charts that show what progress is being made and provide a starting point for future discussions on whether ideas are working or not. It’s the Blue Peter Appeal approach – we all get more involved when we see the indicator moving towards the target. No feedback = disengagement.

So, get the conversations flowing and you’ll find that the ideas are not far behind. Good Luck!

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