How This Practice Had Its Best Month EVER
Running an efficient and motivated team is no easy task. Michelle Colburn, Director of Audiology at Solinsky Hearing Center knows this well. However, with some hard work and careful strategizing, she and her team just had their best month ever! We sat down with Michelle to talk about how she motivates her staff and stays on track to meet her goals. Her attitude and success have inspired everyone. Michelle’s Account Manager, Heather Carter, shares that it has been so rewarding to watch Michelle and her team succeed!
“We are all in this together. Show your team that you are willing to jump in and help when the time comes, and they will be more willing to do the same for another teammate later.”
Michelle Colburn, AuD
Q&A with Michelle Colburn, AuD
Tell us about your practice and how long you have been leading the Audiology team there.
I am the Director of Audiology at Solinsky Hearing Center in W. Hartford, Connecticut. I started at Solinsky seven years ago as the only employee. Today we have a full-time audiologist, part time HIS and another full-time audiologist joining us next month. We have expanded our footprint across the state of Connecticut to cover six locations and will be adding a seventh later this summer.
Given the industry noise surrounding OTC and Managed Care, how have you been able to motivate and focus your staff to achieve their goal of helping more patients in your community?
I try not to let the staff get distracted by the “noise.” Anyone who has been in our industry for a while knows that these distractions have come and gone as times change. I encourage my team to focus on the patient and the patient experience. Our front office group is responsible for getting them in the door and having the information ready for the hearing specialist to test the patient and make appropriate recommendations. We talk a lot about “planting seeds” and watching the flowers bloom. The seeds are planted in so many ways and we all know that they may not bloom right away. Some patients take 2-3 years of testing before they are ready to accept help. We celebrate these moments within our team!
You just had your best month EVER as a practice! Congratulations! What was your goal and what did your team do to achieve it?
Yes! We had a 200-unit goal for March. Not only did we meet our goal, but we ended up exceeding it! To meet this goal, everyone had to do their part. Our schedules needed to be full with opportunities, we encouraged patient’s spouses to make appointments with them, we had insurances verified and ready to go at the time of the appointment, we fit demo devices, made care after no-calls, solicited patient reviews, etc. All the Right Things (laughs) that help grow a business. We had a “tracking puzzle” that stated Every Piece Counts. For every unit sold a piece of the puzzle was filled in.
You make this all seem so easy and fun. Were there any obstacles to your success?
I would say that the biggest obstacle for success is not having the right players. All our success depends on having teammates with can-do attitudes who are willing to chip in and do whatever is necessary to help the patient and help the practice. You will never hear anyone on our team say that it’s “not their job” and I think that starts from the top. We have had some struggles getting all the right people in place over the last few years as we grow. We are in a good place now and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings us.
What are some ideas or themes you have used to motivate your amazing team?
In the past I have used BINGO boards. Each space was assigned with something that I feel is necessary to have a successful month. This month we have a drawing of a plant. The seeds and petals are filled in as we go. Our team has a great time sending group memos when they fill a space, and we all celebrate those successes together. I use prizes or gift cards as rewards if we get “BINGO” or fill our boards.
What advice would you give to a practice that is struggling with team morale and cohesiveness?
- Don’t keep people on the team that are not moving in the direction of the team. It is hard to let people go and find someone new, but in the long run having the right people in place makes everyone’s job easier!
- HAVE FUN! I doubt that we are the only group that is filled with competitive people. The reward they get at the end is nice for them, but we get more excitement out of doing our part to help the patients in our community hear better!
- We are all in this together. Show your team that you are willing to jump in and help when the time comes, and they will be more willing to do the same for another teammate later. If you are leading by example and you have someone who is not following along, reconsider their role in the business.
- Celebrate and show your appreciation for the little things. We love our office shout-outs. It’s a quick and easy way to say great job and have everyone notice!