Systems: Second milestone on your journey

It is essential as the leader of your practice to stay future-focused.  Your most important task as a leader is to communicate your vision of “The Future City” clearly and consistently to your team – and then to develop the steps necessary to get there. This means setting both annual and quarterly goals.It is essential that you spend the majority of your time looking at the forest – and you cannot see that proverbial forest if you are in the thick of the trees and the weeds.  

To further you toward your leadership goals, it is critical that you entrust the day-to-day operations of your practice to a chief of staff who can oversee all important processes to ensure cohesion and avoid duplication of efforts. This person needs the following qualities:

  • Trust
  • Empathy 
  • Organized  

Zaida Marrero is my Chief of Staff, and as a 16-year employee, she has earned the trust that is so essential to this role.  She is the type of person that always seeks to be affirming, taking the time to lean in and really understand what you are trying to communicate. Her empathetic skills are higher than my own. 

Seventy percent of Zaida’s time is spent facilitating all team meetings.  She provides structure to those meetings by utilizing our MAP. Our Meeting Agenda Planner includes the agenda for the meeting, with space for notes,  decisions and assignments. She also acts on my behalf – making decisions, addressing barriers, and clarifying how team projects are in alignment with our other departments. 

Zaida and I meet every Friday from 9 to 10 a.m. for our weekly debrief/review and plan for the following week using the Full Focus Planner system. With Zaida in place as the Chief of Staff, the team feels empowered because they are no longer operating in separate train cars, sometimes at cross-purposes. Each team member occupies a distinct seat on the train that takes advantage of their individual strengths so together, they may move the train in the right direction.

Thanks to Zaida’s role as Chief of Staff, all of our teams are now in alignment, working together to achieve those quarterly and annual goals – and moving much faster toward our vision of”The Future City.” 

Grateful to be on this journey with you,

Dr. Matthew Harkness

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