Published - January 2007

By Dave Jakielo

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun
So What Kind of Fun Did You Have Last Year?

As we embark on another year it is a great time to step back, catch our breath, and take a hard look at our businesses. It may be a cliché to say that the older we get the faster time seems to speed by—but when I was a child, a day stretched to eternity. Now that I have matured (such a nicer term than “getting old!” ), even an entire year seems to fly by quickly.

So let’s look at just how much fun we did have this past year. Reflecting back over the year, how many items did you cross off your to-do list? Or did you find that you just added more pages of to do’s and that the list is longer than ever? As a recent popular TV commercial says, “Life comes at you fast.” It’s funny that with all the technology invented in the past few years, we are still busier than ever. Why is it that even when a new time-saving invention is introduced, we don’t take advantage of that newfound time to relax or do something fun—we just fill up our new-found time with more stuff?

So before another year passes us by, here are some thoughts to help jump start an examination of a few major areas that deserve review:

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: What have you done recently to increase your knowledge base? One element of success is predicated upon acquiring and honing certain skill sets. The more we know about a particular area the better equipped we are to achieve success. Given the many hats we wear as business leaders, we must have an understanding of our major areas of responsibility. For example, I often hear that a company would like to increase its sales. When I question what books the company leaders have read or which seminars they have attended relating to sales, they give me that old “deer in headlights” glare. Increasing sales is a two step process. First, learn the proper techniques; second, implement them.

TEAM DEVELOPMENT: Have you encouraged the folks around you to improve their skills? As leaders in our industry, it is imperative that we help others grow. Those who work with us must continue to expand their horizons in order to remain assets. A fast track to success is to surround yourself with people smarter than you. If you and your second in command think exactly alike, then one of you is redundant.

EXPENSE REDUCTION: Fact: a dollar saved drops directly to the bottom line. It is much easier to save a buck in expenses than to earn an additional dollar through increased revenue. The biggest expenditure we have in our business is personnel salaries and the various costs associated with our employees. However, very rarely have I seen productivity standards put in place to ensure a business is properly staffed. When I query supervisors as to the number of employees they have, the usual answer is, “Not enough.” Proper staffing will dramatically improve profitability. Investing your time to determine that staffing level is priceless.

PROCESS IMPROVEMENT: If you are still doing things the same way you did them six months ago, you’re probably wrong. The world is changing so rapidly and we must continually question all the processes in our operations. The most powerful question you can ask day in and day out is, “WHY?” If you still believe the old premise, “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it,” or your mantra is, “Because that’s the way we always have done it,” trouble is lurking around the corner. Take the time to review and revise all of the functions in your business. One area that is a big no-no: companies that invest time and money in high tech scanning technology but still insist upon storing original paper documents “just in case.”

It’s a new year and a great time to improve ourselves and shed bad habits. Remember, if you don’t start today, that rushing sound in your ears means it’s almost next year. Once again. I wish you all the best.

Dave Jakielo, CHBME, is an International Speaker, Consultant and Author and is celebrating his 11th year as President of Seminars & Consulting. Dave is past president of Healthcare Billing and Management Association and the National Speakers Association Pittsburgh Chapter. You can sign up for his FREE weekly Success Tips at Dave can be reached via email phone 412/921-0976.

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