Speaker, Author, Consultant, Fraud Examiner

The seventh-inning stretch. The time during an intense baseball game to stand up, sing Take Me Out To The Ball Game and, if you are at my ballpark, dance to the Cotton Eyed Joe. Or, it can be the time in which you decide whether to stay to the bitter end.

In Texas, we win and lose a lot of games, so I’ve come up with a ten-run rule to the seventh-inning stretch. If we are ahead or behind ten runs, then we leave in the seventh inning. What does this have to do with being a healthcare professional and owning a practice?

The first six months of the year are behind us. Now is the time to evaluate just how well your year has been thus far and decide how you are going to progress in the months ahead! This is the seventh-inning stretch.

As the leader of your practice, ask yourself these questions:

1. How are you doing as the leader of your team?
2. Are you getting the results you want?
3. Are you overseeing your practice?
4. Do you feel you are successful at it?
5. Do you feel your team respects, listens, and follows your direction?
6. Do you truly enjoy what you do?

Don’t underestimate how much passion for what you do affects your practice. A conversation with a downtrodden office manager revealed her boss was not taking work seriously. Summer was a horrible time because he would rather be on the lake than in the practice. He would suddenly change the appointment schedule to work shorter days; and one day, he even called during her lunch break and said to cancel all afternoon appointments. Discouragement prevailed as the employees could never reach their goal, meaning their bonus were also never within reach, all because the doctor would not work.

Your behavior matters in leading. You set the precedence. Your behavior establishes the benchmark, as the employee’s conduct will most often mirror yours. Depending on the employee’s personality and work ethic, this can happen quickly or progressively.

A conversation with another office manager revealed to me her concerns about her boss’ affair. That was a difficult conversation. His work schedule was down to about only 25 hours a week, and he expected her to cover with his wife and his patients. She left the practice shortly after we talked.

Before casting the team member aside that appears not to respect you, take a long HONEST look at yourself and see if you are doing anything to cause the disrespect.

You are the leader. The business is yours to run. Unfortunately, when you own a business, you forgo the luxury of acting erratically and irresponsibly, or else you will not hold that business for long.

It’s the seventh inning. There are a limited number of innings in this game, and you do not want to lose. You worked hard to be where you are at this point. Do not lose ground, strengthen your team. Skip the dugout dramatics and in-team fighting. Let’s finish strong.

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