After being a practicing podiatrist for eight years, says Dr. Kevin Powers, “I dreaded going in to work; I had even started looking at patients as adversaries, instead of working together with them.
“I knew it was organization, that I could be a lot busier, and I could be a lot better organized,” he recalls. “Nothing in the office was written, it was all implied. And the practice was running on emotion, not on data and information, which was definitely not to my liking.
“Well, I got one of Sterling’s flyers in the mail, and it sat on my desk for six months before I decided to read it. And then a couple more months before I decided to act on it. But once I did, the Service Consultant made sure I signed up.
“Going to Glendale for my training, that was an experience in itself. They really get you down to business; don’t give you time to loaf around, like in college or medical school. The course instructors are totally committed and they work very closely with you to make sure you get through the material, and that you really understand it and can use it. Which was different from the eight years of training I’d had earlier. This was far superior to any previous training.
“When I got back to my practice and started applying the data,” says Powers, “I really understood the way the instructors were operating.
“The first thing in the course work that I really liked was when I studied the Formulas for Business Success. This technology helps you find out what state your business is in, and the ways to change it or improve it, to have control of your practice. Which is a basic problem. In fact, I was talking to a friend of mine this week and he told me he feels like his practice controls him, rather than him controlling his practice. With the conditions formulas, it’s like I have the control. It takes out a lot of the emotion of your decisions and puts more logic into them,” says Powers.
“The other thing that was very good was the Ups and Downs in Business course, which really helped me understand the emotional tone scale. For instance, it taught me how to deal with a covertly hostile colleague, who was constantly upsetting me. I was reacting to him, which was wasting effort I should have been putting into being productive. Now I know how he is, and treat him as such. But the whole course was very interesting.
“What I implemented first when I got back was keeping statistics; we can see how things are going. And we implemented policies in the office – explicit, written policies – and written job descriptions. We never had that before.
“The morale of the office immediately went way up. I also let people do their jobs, instead of micromanaging them, which freed me up to do the things I wanted to do.
“As an example of the change, when I would have a new receptionist in the past, the Office Manager was in charge of training the receptionist, but instead of letting her take care of it, throughout the day I would tell the receptionist she needed to do this or that. And much of it would not be clear, or it would be contrary to what the Office Manager was telling her, so I actually messed up the training of the receptionist.
“Right now we have a new receptionist at another office. I’m making a point of not saying anything to the receptionist about what she’s supposed to do, but letting the Office Manager do the training, and this is turning out a lot better. Hubbard talked about this, letting the staff do their jobs, being responsible for this or that. And that was a big one for me which really helped my outlook on my employees.”
Did this have an effect on production?
“Of course production increased. When I compare the three months before I started with Sterling, and the past three months, there has been a 64% increase in production, and I’ve only been with Sterling for six months. We have also had a 50% increase in income, and a 122% increase in new patients.
“On the new patient statistic, it wasn’t the free exam card we’ve been using either. More than anything else it was the atmosphere of the office!
“Furthermore, I incorporated care sell,’ by which I mean getting people to actually get the procedures they need to have done. And they like this, and then they tell other people. Before Sterling I’d be concerned like, “Do they want to do this or that?” or, “Can they afford it?” Now, if they need something done, they need it done, and we do it. When they’re feeling better, they refer other patients.
“My staff is excellent. We’ve had some changes, but they’ve all been for the better. The staff has more confidence since they know exactly what they’re supposed to do and what’s expected of them. There are not as many mistakes and misunderstandings and upsets.
“So I’ve done what I set out to do. Sterling helps get the practice organized, so you can run the practice, not have the practice run you. Before, I was unorganized. I was working a lot, but not getting paid much. And I enjoyed when I went into the office and the schedule was real light. The last thing I would want to hear is that I had a full schedule, because I couldn’t handle the patients I had. And I know plenty of other podiatrists who are working their rears off and not getting paid for it.
“Now I have organization and things are different. Now I like to see a full schedule on the books. Before, I knew it would be hell to handle a full schedule. Now I know we can.
“But even if the production had not increased,” says Powers. “Even if the income had not increased, the Sterling program would have been worth it, because we have a happier staff and we have things under control.
“One last thing,” concludes Powers, “since I got involved with Sterling, I’ve cut out my evening office hours and have more time with my wife and baby, which is great, and things are still improving.”