Fierce Conversations: Meeting Challenges Head-On (and Eyes-Open)

Meeting Challenges Solving Problems

Got challenges? Welcome to part four of our “Fierce Conversations” series. We’re offering communication lessons from Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, along with targeted advice for how to apply those lessons to the day-to-day operations of your eye care practice.

We’ve already covered the first three of Scott’s seven core principles of fierce conversations. If you missed them, you can read about them herehere, and here.

This week, we’re talking about how to deal with the elephants in the room. Your room, that is.

Principle 4: Tackle Your Toughest Challenge Today

The most difficult challenges tend to be the most uncomfortable ones to tackle. Who wants to talk about what’s going wrong? Most people are afraid of the hurt feelings and painful rejections that could result from addressing those challenges, but not addressing them can have the same results! Only when you identify and fix your toughest root problems will you find success and joy.

The scariest part of confronting someone with a problem can be simply broaching the issue, so Scott recommends a “rip off the bandage” strategy. Once you identify the root problem, ask as many clarifying questions as you can. Instead of hurling accusations at the person responsible for the issue, this lets you work side by side with them to address it.

Tackling Challenges at Your Eye Care Practice

 Practices often hire a lead technician to supervise the work of the many other techs required to keep the practice running smoothly. Unfortunately, that lead tech doesn’t always know how to confront the others when problems arise. Instead of dealing promptly with tech shortcomings, the lead will enter into a drawn-out discussion with the practice manager, a process that wastes valuable time and energy.

No one wants to have difficult conversations about shortcomings at work. Practice managers often worry that they could lose an experienced tech in a tight labor market if the tech is confronted directly. But the alternative is putting up with a substandard level of performance that’s bad for both sides.

To stave off those consequences, do three things. Name the problem, make clear the consequences of not solving it, and then work with the employee to resolve it.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series, on how and why you should learn to follow your instincts. 

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