Team Building and Leadership

How to maintain a highly functional private practice

Dr. Kai Kaye, speaking on the topic of team building and leadership within a private practice and how to create, and maintain, a smooth running, successful business.

Dr. Kai Kaye

  • Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgeon, 22 years in the Plastic surgery specialty, 15 years as consultant in private practice
  • Academic training in Germany at TU Munich, Berlin and Aachen University RWTH
  • Microsurgical Internship at UCLA and PhD thesis on prefabricated microsurgical flaps at TU Munich
  • Fellow of the European Board EBOPRAS, licenced consultant specialist in GER, SPAIN and UK
  • 13 years running my own private clinic in Spain, incorporating an international fellow training program
  • International lecturer and Instructor / KOL for Venus, Human Med and Merz
Team Building and Leadership Marbella Ocean Clinic

Speaking on this topic brought up the question, why would there be a need to create a brand as a plastic surgeon?

  • ✓ Efficacy in the decision to spend
  • ✓ Offers Reputation and reduces risks
  • ✓ Creates a social image / demonstration of affluence
  • ✓ Has to have a unique selling point /proposition
  • ✓ It has to be recognisable and singular
  • ✓ It should offer emotional identification beyond the rational decision

A patient will choose you over other comparably gifted colleagues if the experience your clinic delivers is better!

It is important to create a unique selling point - why should a potential patient choose you?

When it comes to elective private medicine, the patient does not choose only the medical expertise, he chooses a certain setting, a unique personal touch that fits him or her!

Reputation, skill, expertise, knowledge, longevity, standards, ethics, aftercare, attentive staff, comfort and getting that feeling that this is the right place as well as the right doctor. All these elements combined are necessary for a strong, reputable practice to succeed. And how a practice gets that positive reputation to the public is just as important. Quite often it is word of mouth, but the way a practice represents themselves is vital to its success.

Private medicine comes as a package that has to fit the customer, so what is needed to create this? Time, money, dedication, perseverance, curiosity - "what can I do better or differently to others in my field?”

When setting up a private practice, as Dr. Kaye did himself 16 years ago, he had to ask himself all these questions. It took time and focus and he found that leadership, team building and organisational skills were vital aspects of the practice running well as a whole.

Finding the right setup, the right people in each environment. All environments are different and rely on varying factors - the right place can be different from one city or country to another - analysis of the conditions in the place you are choosing and how best to structure this is one of the first things that must be addressed. To know your audience.

  • ✓ Choice of city (or even country) based on market analysis or personal preference?
  • ✓ Choice of location within a city (Social value or reputation of the location, accessibility, Parking / Transport, Quality of building, Visual impression / ambience)
  • ✓ In-depth analysis of local and regional /state conditions for licensing at the planned location
  • ✓ Decision between independent structure or semi dependent structure with admission rights at hospitals
  • ✓ The requirements for what kind of staff you need will be very different depending on your setting!

Next the analysis of your environment is essential to the understanding and connection made to the community:

  • ✓ Analysis of the market (Population structure, net available income, acceptance of your services in society
  • ✓ Analysis of direct competition ( Services / Focus / Training, reputation, flaws or non covered service aspects, Unique Selling Point)
  • ✓ Analysis of supply and demand
  • ✓ Analysis of economic markers like tax, human resources, wages
  • ✓ Analysis of resources / planned investment / ROI
  • ✓ Analysis of which kind of minimum staff you need to start

To create the most efficient work force analysis of the market, income, supply & demand; how many competitors are in the vicinity, minimum staff needed, economic markers, etc. are some of many factors to be addressed and understood.

A good office manager is the backbone of every successful practice, this can be difficult to find but once in place a most valuable asset to the company that should be treated as such. Ocean Clinic Marbella has the wonderful Vanessa who is undeniably a huge asset to the excellent care and running of the practice.

The front desk staff are equally important in knowing how to manage the clients with the right level of attention, detail, organisation. They need to be swift, creative and calm as well as reliable and competent problem solvers with initiative and insight.

The nursing team represent the practice and offer the frontline care, they must know everything there is to know about each patient and care for them accordingly. Deliver excellent after care and make sure the level of attention aligns with that of the clinic as a whole.

A team needs to be mindfully composed, it needs to be a unit of like minded people working together towards a common goal. There needs to be solid structure, rules and limits in place and each member needs to have a clear, meaningful role and know their task and skill set.

The team leader needs to be a role model; you can’t expect something of your employees if you do not set the right example yourself. Be a role model, inspire, coach and innovate. Be someone the team can identify with; walk the walk, be admired and command respect. Also, very importantly, a leader must live and act the way they expect their team to be. Lead as you wish to be followed whilst promoting a healthy working environment.

Within a staff, within its systems, rules and structure there needs to be space for colleagues to speak up, if something feel like it needs to be said it should be an open forum to do so. A strong safety culture needs to be in place to ensure that employees feel they have a voice.
Team building is essential, including the team in activities or social events, and ensuring that there is schedule one on one time with each member of staff each month makes for a happy and “heard” workforce. Offering positive reinforcement and actively paying attention to workers is vital to their performance and continued incentive. And, speaking of incentives, it is highly effective to offer non-monetary incentives in the work place to provide more effective team building.

Following his own advice over the last sixteen years has driven Ocean Clinic to become one of the most successful private practices in the region. With over 1000 procedures being carried out per year by top surgeons just goes to prove this. Reviews from patients show that the team function effectively as a whole, each member of staff has their valued position and serve as a cog in the excellent care given, and smooth running of the overall performance of the practice. There is a family, close-knit feel to the clinic as the head of each department are in fact happily married, Kai and Gabriela have incredible leadership qualities which naturally command respect and dedication from their co workers. Vanessa provides the backbone to the company and alongside the nurses, reception and all staff, work together to create a welcoming, safe and comfortable environment where patients feel secure and trust they are in the best hands. Ocean Clinic’s reputation exceeds them.