Finding The Freedom To Focus On Patient Care with Char Watson: Episode 209

Finding The Freedom To Focus On Patient Care with Char Watson

Your introduction to this episode. Why is this topic important? how is it relevant to your audience? Tell a short story that establishes your expertise, or your choice of guest for this episode.

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Char Watson

Meet our Guest: Char Watson

Hi, I'm Char, and I want that for you too. I have been serving in the healthcare industry for almost a decade as a Director Of Operations. I've worked side by side with true Visionaries who wanted to connect to something bigger than themselves and wanted a build a team to support them.

Through my proven system, I've scaled practices from $350k annually to $1.3mil annually, merged practices together, and scaled into multiple locations. My zone of genius is the backend of practices; You can’t ignore the back-end pieces that have to work together and flow smoothly in order to build a practice, grow a movement or disrupt an industry. If the Operations side of your business is a mess, putting out fires will always take priority, forcing you out of your responsibility to hold the vision.

The truth is, the business landscape of successful practice ownership is changing and that's why we are focusing on creating quantum leaps with ease and efficiency. I'm disrupting the traditional path to success and focusing on the missing link in the industry: A lack of a strategic partnership. Practitioners are burning themselves out trying hold the Vision, Strategy, Management, and, Implementation. That's why I created the Providers DOO™️ Certification Program. I gave this program the depth it needed to build the skills and core strengths of business management, high-level strategy, and operational efficiency.

.. And now I can certify your Office Managers so you can have exactly that.

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

DR. DANIELLE: So I’m here today with Char Watson. Char and I recently met and Char, I can’t even remember, I think you had reached out to me and I was like, what you do sounds really cool, let’s talk some more, and now here we are. So share with everyone who’s watching now and on the replay later, who you are and what you do, we’ll just dive in from there, there.


Char Watson The Doctors DOO

 

CHAR: Yeah, sure. So my name is Char Watson. I am the founder and creator of The Providers DOO, this program is for office managers specifically in the healthcare and dental industries and it’s to elevate them into a director of operations.  I’m also a military spouse, mom has three beautiful babies and here I am.

DR. DANIELLE: So tell me the story of how you started doing what you do now, because it’s not like you just came out of the womb and you were like, now I’m going to help doctors create awesome, elevated team members. Tell us about the  journey that you went on to get to that place.

CHAR: Yes. I’d love to. I’ve been in the healthcare space and dental space for about 15 years collectively. I started in the back office, you know, doing medical assisting, and then I transitioned to the front office and I just moved my way up through the office until I landed in the office manager role. But after a couple of years, the practitioner decided he wanted to merge with another office in the community and then we wanted to expand locations. And pretty soon, like after a couple of years we had a 25 team practice and we were in three locations, so we grew really fast. So my role obviously grew too. So I was no one longer just doing implementation. I moved into strategy and management, but as I was going through that, it was a hundred percent, a lot of trial and error. And that’s the honest truth.  I fell in my face a lot while I was trying to figure this out because I didn’t have any resources. I didn’t have a mentor. I couldn’t find a course or anything to really help me navigate this new role. And at the same time, luckily I was also getting my bachelors in business management so that significantly helped because then I was getting some pieces that I was looking for, but overall it was the trial and error and figuring out how do I sit more into this role as a director of operations and get out of implementation and office manager role. So that’s how I figured it out.

DR. DANIELLE: It’s really cool actually, to hear that, as you studied business, that you felt like it was actually helpful for you because I studied business in my undergraduate degree and I felt like it was like, it was a good program as far as I knew at that time. But then when I got into the real world, you know, after chiropractic school, I was like, I don’t think I learned anything that was actually helpful, really running a business.

CHAR: Yes.

DR. DANIELLE: And I just had to figure it out on my own from there.

CHAR: Oh, absolutely. It gave a foundation, but that’s where that trial and error really came into place and really figuring out how to work with my visionary. You know, he had such a big vision of everything that he wanted to do. And I was like, okay, how do I execute? And how do I take this knowledge? How do I take this error? How do I put it together and make an action? That’s gonna make a difference moving forward. So it helped, but it wasn’t the solution.

THE #1 PROBLEM THAT PRACTICE OWNERS FACE

DR. DANIELLE: Right. So I just wanna take a pause and, and say like, for anyone that’s watching right now, I can see comments if you type them in, if you have questions for Char as we go along, just put them into the comments and I’ll try to get them weaved into our time together today so that she can answer your questions while we’re here. Yeah. OK. So talk more about the challenges that you see that practice owners have, um, when it comes to, Hmm. Like growing a team, what are the, what are the things that you hear people complain about the most?

CHAR: Um, biggest, the one thing that I hear is that the providers are saying that they’re doing everything. So there’s four main principles of business ownership; vision, strategy, management, and implementation. So to the provider, they feel like that they’re at least doing the vision strategy and management, and then they have a team to do the implementation.

 

Business Ownership

 

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah.

CHAR: What falls more than anything after that is the collaboration, is that the culture isn’t built to be a collaborative culture. So, instead of the team members stepping up or doing more or expanding their capabilities, the providers are doing all of that, because we don’t know how to build that culture. So that’s the number one thing that I’ve really noticed. And then of that, they obviously create their own glass ceiling and they hit it every single time because they’re doing too much, you know, in addition to holding those principles, they’re also being the practitioner, they’re also doing the client care. And so they just have too much on their plate and they don’t know how to facilitate a culture that can support them in their growth.

LEVERAGING YOUR STRENGTHS TO FIND GAPS IN YOUR BUSINESS

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah. So then what are they to do? I mean, I see the same, the same challenges, right? Especially for women, they have women that have kids. Yes. They’ve got a family at home they’re trying to, you know, keep the house in order and their kids in order and then they’ve gotta go to work, take care of the patients, and most of us here in this group work hands on and we see one person at a time. So it’s very time consuming to do the work that we do. Then on top of that, on top of all of that, as if that wasn’t enough, then we also have to manage the business. Right. So how does a person even start to get out of this mess?

CHAR: I think the biggest thing is really doing a self assessment. Where are your strengths and what do you wanna do, you know, is your goal just to be a single practitioner? Do you wanna build a team? I think it’s really getting clear on your strengths and where you wanna go and then really assessing the team from there. One of my favorite tools is the Colby index. Yeah. Um, I love that one cause I feel like it really helps get a clear understanding of everybody’s mode of operation and you can really see how this person operates and what their capabilities are. It’s actually a requirement. If they wanna come into the director of operations program, the office manager has to take the Colby because they need to meet certain marks, but they’re really not gonna be able to fulfill the role correctly. So really getting that clear understanding of where they wanna go, what are the strengths that we have in their practice and then you’re gonna be able to identify where the gaps are? What do we need, do we need to bring in another team member? Do we need to outsource something? It really will help you just really get a clear, like overall 30,000 point view of what you need. So then you can start making the changes.

 

strengths

 

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah. And I would just add to that quickly that I think it’s important for the business owner to make sure that if they’re using personality tests of any kind or like strength tests, I use strengthsfinder, we also use Human Design, which is a little woo.

CHAR: I love Human Design.

DR. DANIELLE: There’s another one that we also use the Enneagram there’s one like we have this all mapped out all of our team members and you know, who I had to start with was me. Like I had to know if I’m  the only person that’s going to be in this business, like I’m the only one that can’t leave or can’t be replaced. Then I need to know what my strengths are. So I can build a team around me to support the growth of the business, to fill in the gaps. I’m, I’m visionary. One of my strengths I think was intellect. Like I can come up with big ideas and inspire people, but I’m not good with details. So I need to have people on my team who are, you know, who are really strong in like the details and following through, following up on things. When I started to see that, like through the test that I had taken, it was really validating for me because it was like, oh, I’m trying to do all these things that I’m actually not naturally good at, but I shouldn’t even waste my time on, in the first place. So it gave me permission to stop doing the things I didn’t even really want to do and find people that could do those things instead, who are good at them.

CHAR: Yes, exactly. It really gives that self assessment. You just have to first, you really have to have a clear understanding of who you are and where your strengths are, but where your weaknesses are too.  Like you said, then you have to build a team around that.

DR. DANIELLE: I was just muting myself because my kids were running around in the kitchen, in the living room. I don’t know if you could hear them or not. They were kinda loud. It’s just life. You know,  there was a video last year that kind of came up in my memories on Facebook of me sitting out a window. Like I was literally sitting on the floor at my old house, sitting in the window because there was sunlight coming in. I had my phone propped up. I didn’t even have a little stand or anything to put it in because I was too broke to buy one. And I had my phone sitting up against the window still and my kiddo comes up behind me as I’m doing this live video and trying to like, you know, be inspiring. She’s got this little toy pig and she’s dancing around on my head. And I was like, Hey everybody, this was me six years ago. And now everyone is home working with their kids, you know, doing gymnastics and tumbling in our offices while we’re trying to get things done. So it’s just real life. Okay. It’s real life.  So, oh, here’s a question from Leslie. Leslie says, so do you have everyone who works in your organization to take those personality tests?

CHAR: I definitely would suggest doing that. You go first, you take the personality, even personality though,  I feel like those aren’t as strong as they can be. I would focus more on the Colby and the Human Design. I really love Human Design. Isn’t a requirement for director of operations, just as I know, but I do love it. Then for sure, have your office manager go next.  But, if you do have the whole team, you’re gonna be able to really see like, okay, the whole team collectively works like this and I can see that this person needs this or this person’s stronger. And that means when you’re doing a project, when you’re needing to assess areas that need help in the practice that aren’t getting done and you know who you can go to that you fulfill these roles. So absolutely have the whole team go through it, but at least have minimums start with you and start with your office manager.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU NEED A DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS?

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah. They’re a part of our hiring process now. So if we are considering a candidate, they have to get through a couple of steps before they get to this part. But if we’re considering hiring someone, then they’re gonna take the Strengthsfinder test for us and Human Design, the Enneagram and the one that I cannot remember at the moment, whatever it is. For anyone that would want to know, I could look it up because we have it all documented and I could share it with you later. Okay. So I would love to talk with you more about how someone knows when it’s time to make this leap. I mean, it’s one thing to hire an office assistant, right? And maybe they already have an office assistant, but they’re still feeling really overwhelmed. How do they know that it’s time to, to either find, what’s the word that you use,  is it director of operations?

CHAR: Director of Operations.

DR. DANIELLE: Okay. Or to groom someone, to mold someone to develop someone into that position.

CHAR: So honestly there’s a couple of different benchmarks that we have to look at to be completely honest. One of them is the financial benchmark.  Really understanding where you are financially with the practice. If you have a healthy margin that you can support team growth, then that’s a really good indication to get started. Typically that looks like having a six figure practice. The next one is the mindset of you as a leader, this is a hard conversation. And so to everyone, I’m not trying to offend, I’m just trying to be completely candor here, but you have to be in a position where you want to build something bigger than, and you want a team to support you. If you’re looking at it, like I have something that I wanna get done and I have nobody to help me. And you’re just very singular in your thinking you’re not gonna be able to really utilize this ability in your practice fully because because of that, you’re on a singular track. You have the connective bigger vision and know that your team’s gonna support you. Like know they’re gonna fill in weaknesses and provide strengths where you don’t have it or that you don’t wanna be in. And so those are like the two main ones that we really have to look at. We have to first just make sure that we are financially there. That it makes sense. Our benchmarks are there, but two, like, are you as a leader there too? The mindset ready for that?

“You have the connective bigger vision and know that your team’s gonna support you.”


team support

 

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah. That makes perfect sense. I love that you have a specific benchmark, you know, just an objective measurement to help someone know that this might be the right next step for them. Because especially in the hands on practice, if you’re a business, I just try to say business and practice is the same word. If your business is bringing in a hundred thousand dollars or more, you’re pretty busy. You’re pretty busy with the number of people that you’re serving. So it’s like you’ve got a proven business model at that point and you have the ability to grow and to scale bigger than what you probably ever thought possible. But it’s gonna require you to be someone different than who you are now in order to make it happen and to help you along the way. So what would you say someone could expect in the process of finding and developing their director of operations?

CHAR: First after you do the Colby score, I would start there and really see, does your office manager fit the role? So the number one thing is they need to be a high fact finder. They need to be able to sort out the details and look for the details. If they don’t have that, they’re not gonna be able to be successful in the role. If they’re more of a quick start,  or more of an implementer, then they’re not gonna be successful in their role because that’s, that’s literally more of the implementation principle doing. It’s task oriented and so they can’t get into that strategy and management mindset either. And so even if they went through the program, they wouldn’t really develop those because that’s not their MO. So if you don’t have the right office manager in place, you can start looking for one obviously, but you’re going to, you kinda have a catch 22 here, because if you’re looking for someone that’s a seasoned director of operations, that’s gonna be a higher point that you have to pay salary wise than if you have an office manager that you develop into direct operations. So you kinda have to figure out is it worth bringing in that person and having  that higher salary? Can I afford it? And that’s why we have to really evaluate your financial benchmarks. Um, but if you can’t, I would obviously recommend working internally and moving your office manager up and letting your office manager build the team underneath them for the implementation. Cause financially that’s going to be more sound for you doing the investment that way than bringing in someone that’s seasoned.

DR. DANIELLE: Yeah. Makes perfect sense. Okay. So my next question for you is what are the disadvantages or maybe the downfalls that come along with developing the director of operations or even just working with one?

CHAR: Ooh, that’s a good question. And to be frank, I think the biggest downfall would just be the mindset. If you’re not there, if you’re not ready to hand off the strategy and management, then that’s your downfall. You’re gonna be in constant chaos basically because you’re not stepping out of these roles and not fully stepping in the CEO and visionary role to hand it off. That’s your downfall. But truthfully, other than that, if you’re ready and you’re, you’re ready to build that team, I don’t see a downfall. I’ve been doing it obviously for a long time and I’ve built many, many office managers to do the same thing and I’ve never ever had anybody come back. Like that was the worst decision in my life. I dunno why I did that.

WHAT DOES A DIRECTION OF OPERATIONS DO?

DR. DANIELLE: That’s good. Okay. So let’s wrap up on this. If you could describe what it looks like to work with okay. To be the practice owner and to work with, or to have on your team, a director of operations, like what the day to day look like.

CHAR: Yeah, sure. So this is where you start to think a little bit bigger. Um, if you’re looking at it like, okay, let’s say that we’re gonna look at our year to year goal and we’re gonna put together a strategy for the next four quarters. Well, your director of operations is gonna be the one that’s gonna break that down into monthly, weekly, daily tasks. They’re gonna be the one that makes sure that that strategy gets executed. They’re gonna fill in the holes. They’re gonna manage the pieces. They can, in some ways, still have implementation,  it depends on where you are with your financial benchmarks. Um, so they can have some of that piece, but overall, they’re gonna be the one that’s excluding you. They say, here, you go be the CEO, you go be the visionary, be the practitioner and I’m gonna make sure that the strategy gets executed and I’m gonna manage all of the pieces. So that means that looking at your metrics on a date and weekly, monthly basis, that means managing the team. That means all of these different areas. I mean, you’re looking at HR, you’re looking at profits, you’re looking at projects, it’s all of that. And you are giving it to them. So their day to day in essence can really bury. But those are the core functions that they’re really gonna be working on on a day to day basis.

DR. DANIELLE: Well, as I listen to you, describe that. I can hear people like I can hear them thinking, oh my gosh, I don’t know that I could trust someone with that. What are your thoughts

CHAR: It’s a hard transition, huh? So part of the program, what we do, cause I’ve noticed that too, at first, when I was doing this to be completely honest, um, I didn’t have enough support in place. And so it’s kind of like, we went through this honeymoon phase and everybody’s like geared up and ready to go, and this is exciting, but then reality hits and then you have situations and problems and whatever cause that’s life. And I didn’t have the support built for them. So to be honest, you’re gonna go through a transition period at first, it’s gonna seem amazing. We’re all excited. Everybody’s on board. But then as you get into the situations we’ve built in that support. So what it looks like is the program is four months long, but your office manager has me coach and then you, as the visionary, as a CEO, you have your own coach too, to help you with that transition to help you into that leadership. But then following that, we have them for eight more months where they can still join us on group calls on a weekly basis so that when the situations and things come up, then we can help you walk through that. So to answer the question, it doesn’t seem like it’s that hard for everybody to start because they’re at that place, they’re ready to go. It’s the afterwards, it’s after we get past that honeymoon phase and we actually hit situations, that’s like, oh shoot, did I make the wrong decision or not? It’s just that you’re learning how to navigate differently. That’s really what it comes down to.

DR. DANIELLE: I just love this conversation because, I mean my program name is Work Less, Live More and one of the reasons that I have the time freedom that I do is because I have an amazing team of people who are working behind the scenes. And like they’re doing pretty much everything that I don’t, I wanna say that I don’t have to do, but it’s like, I’m only doing what I have to do and they’re taking care of all the rest.

CHAR: Yep.

DR. DANIELLE: So, that’s a huge component of being able to work less, live, more, travel more with your kids, homeschool your kids, whatever it is you wanna do. Um, having the, having those people that you trust makes it so much more possible.

CHAR: Yes, it does. It absolutely does. And I love what you’re doing. I think it’s incredible and I think it’s incredibly needed for that permission to do what you want, however you want, you know? And you’re like literally giving that permission slip to so many that needed. And especially as moms, I know that that’s been a real struggle to really say,  this is exactly what I want and I wanna build a life exactly. Like this. It’s hard to say what we want. So I love what you’re doing and paving that path for them

DR. DANIELLE: Okay. So if there is someone that’s either with us live today, watches a replay later or listens to you, your interview on the podcast and wants to learn more about the program that you offer, where is the best place for them to go to learn more?

CHAR: Yeah, they can go to the website. It’s just theprovidersdoo.com. There’s a couple of different options we have. So obviously our main one is moving your office manager into the director of operations. It’s a long term approach. It’s going to give you that longevity and scalability. The other option is having a fractional director of operations, which is myself, but to determine which one you really need, honestly, the best next step is just to jump on a call and let’s just talk about where you’re at and what you need and what your goals are to really decipher like what your next step would be.

DR. DANIELLE: Awesome. Thank you so much. So don’t forget that if you are listening on the podcast, you can find our show notes on the website and we’ll include the link. Well, the link to Char’s website, there, you can go find her. I’m sure, also on social media, but, again, I just wanna thank you for sharing your expertise with us because this is something that I feel like is so needed. It’s um, there’s not a whole lot available for us that helps us to really think bigger while also knowing that thinking bigger doesn’t have to mean working more. It can actually be working less. So keep it in mind. Yeah.

CHAR: Thank you so much.

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