I recently became a member of the private practice section of the APTA. I have illusions of grandeur, which include working up to 70 hour weeks in order to sustain a small private practice. We will see if this is just a mirage, but in the meantime, I will also be providing commentary on articles in that magazine.
This will be another short one because it comes from a short article.
- “We recommend building a program to mentor your existing staff to become those next clinic directors”
I can’t ever remember a job in which mentoring actually took place formally. I have worked for Wal-Mart, and although it was a great learning experience, the learning wasn’t formal. I learned more by watching the culture from the top down. When looking at the top, there was the GM. I can remember my interview with the GM as a 15 year-old. He asked me about school and I was very cocky back then. I told him that I wasn’t worried about school. He made the comment, “that either means you’re really smart…or really stupid.” Looking back, that was a memorable moment. As a kid, I just blew it off, but as an adult I hope that my kids never make such a shortsighted comment.
I learned a lot while at Sam’s club and made friends that are still friends to this day (20 years later). I made huge mistakes and should’ve been fired for some of them, but I wasn’t and I learned from them. I kept learning through the years and quit the same year that I earned employee of the year. That’s the same year that I got accepted into PT school.
From there I went to World’s Gym Joliet. Again, I learned a lot, but not formally. The owner did not have a way of promoting talent. When a person has no direction and no way to succeed, then the person will slowly sink back to mediocrity. At this job, I became a great student of PT, as it gave me plenty of time to study, but I was a horrible employee. I only did what was needed to get the job done because I didn’t know what else to do aside from the list at the desk. This was horrible management because we didn’t have a way to excel. Needless to say, the gym is closed.
In none of my PT jobs do I have a way to become management. I have specifically asked this of my jobs (all of them to be exact) and the answers are almost all the same, “we don’t know how to promote someone to management” or “we don’t have any room for additional management”. This doesn’t make sense. A manager is someone that takes on more responsibility than those they serve. Although it typically comes with additional resources, it doesn’t always. I don’t think that those above me see the loss that takes place when I am pigeonholed into a lesser role.
I can’t give a good reason why a clinic director would not take the time to develop those they serve to take their place. I can think of many reasons, but none of them good.
Fear: If I groom someone to take my place, then what stops him or her from taking my place? I groom many students to do what I do in the clinic. None of them will be as good as I am with the information that they received from me. This is not an arrogant statement, but I spent thousands of hours studying the information and understanding the information in the studies. The students simply get PowerPoint presentations of my knowledge. This is much better than what they get in school regarding specific topics, but at no point will they obtain my understanding through PowerPoint alone. The same can be said for a clinic director grooming an understudy to be a director. I can obtain the same information, but I shouldn’t know as much as the director regarding the information…unless the director didn’t spend the same amount of study to learn the information.
Power: If only one person can do the job, then all else must bow down to that person as an authority figure. There are certain things that only the director can accomplish, because only the director knows how to accomplish certain things. It can never be delegated because then the director will have slightly less power than prior to delegation.
Lack of talent: This is not a good reason to not develop a person. This is the poor management to begin with, as if a “person wouldn’t be rehired, then the person should e fired”. I don’t know who said it, but I heard it from Entre Leadership podcast.
- “Develop a career ladder in your business that points to a staff therapist growing to become a manager”
This seems logical. Those that want to succeed will then have a structured way to climb the ladder to the top. Not everyone wants to be at the top. Not everyone wants the responsibility or the time constraints that come with moving up the ladder. Those that do though…should have a written way to climb the ladder so that one’s wheels aren’t spinning.
Martin P. FIVE-MINUTE FIX: Build Bench Strength. IMPACT: Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. 2016;May:17.