Approaching your boss about changes in the eyecare practice can be a scary thing, especially when it comes to talking about purchasing new practice software. Buying new optometry software is not a small decision, but choosing the right one can really pay off in the end. As an office manager, you interact with the PM system more than anyone in the office, allowing you to have the best knowledge for what the practice needs when it comes to a new system.
Talking to the OD about making a change is not only the first step in improving workflow with software, but it can be the most difficult step as well. We've pulled some tips that will help you calm those nerves and successfully have a change provoking conversation with the decision maker in your practice.
Write it Down
Write down everything that you are hoping to say in your conversation. This is not only great to have as a reminder during the talk, but it also helps you think through what you want to say. Thinking through your reasoning forces you to do the research about the different software options available to you, and allows you to identify all of the potential benefits of the change.
Understand the OD's Communication Preferences
It is important to understand the way your boss communicates and to follow suit. If the OD tends to not do small talk, get straight to the point. If they enjoy chewing the fat, warm them up with some light conversation before presenting your thoughts. This will make them more comfortable during the conversation and as a result they will likely be more receptive to your ideas.Clearly State Your Ideas
If you have written everything down and thought through your reasoning fully, this step should be easier. Be very specific about the benefits the new system can offer, and why now is the right time for the practice to make this change. Make sure you have an understanding of what features of the system your OD will love, they will want to know how the system will directly make their lives easier.
Show What You Know
You work closely with the OD on a daily basis and their happiness is important to you. Show that you have thought about why a new system will help the OD by specifically expressing the benefits they will get from the system. The OD will ultimately have the final say on whether or not a change is made, but you can help convince them by showing how well you know them and their pain points.
Present the Big Picture
Aside from noting how a change will help the OD specifically, it is also a good idea to present the big picture. Think of all the possible impacts the new software will have on the practice and staff. What will training be like? Will the rest of the staff be receptive to the change? What does the implementation process look like? This not only shows the OD that you have fully thought through your idea, but it also shows that you are a team player who has your co-workers in mind.
It's just as important to listen as it is to express your ideas during the conversation. Listen to the OD to see if they have any concerns or suggestions about purchasing new software. By listening during the conversation, you can help make the talk more productive. Since you and the OD have completely different roles in the practice, there might be features that you hadn't considered before.
Have an Open Mind
Don't expect new software to be immediately purchased and then implemented. The OD is going to have their own ideas and thoughts, so compromising is likely going to be necessary. Maybe they will want to do their own research as well. Have an open mind and be okay with finding a system that everyone will be happy with. Getting the conversation started is an important first step!
Remember that change can be scary for everyone, making it a sensitive conversation topic. Take your time to prepare yourself before approaching the subject, and be patient throughout the process. Hopefully in the end you'll get to see the results you want.
Download our ultimate guide to change management here if you need more tips: