12 Days of Tips for Speech Pathologists in Private Practice: Day 10 – Communication Overhead

One of the many lessons we learned from the pandemic was the benefit of keeping our structure flat and work teams as small as possible. 

Why?

“Communication overhead”: a term coined by Josh Kaufman in his classic book, The Personal MBA.

According to Kaufman, once a work group consists of eight or more people, each additional employee takes more investment in communication, that the employee adds in productivity.

Does that mean we should keep our practices lean and flat?

Yes. 

Does that mean you can never scale beyond 8 staff?

No.

But it does suggest that, as you get bigger you need to:

  • ⬆︎ your investment in communication; and
  • organise staff into sub-teams to reduce your communication overhead.

In our practice, supervisors supervise a maximum of four clinicians.

We use different channels for different purposes, including:

  • daily Zoom check-ins with any staff working remotely;
  • weekly team emails from management communicating important messages about safety, quality, resources, training, strategy, operations, projects, people, and systems;
  • weekly one-to-one structured supervision meetings with each speech pathologist;
  • weekly blogs published to our public website sharing new learning;
  • quarterly performance snapshots;
  • quarterly informal team catch-ups over meals;
  • annual competency reviews and training plans; and
  • ad hoc group chats for social discussions and to celebrate milestones, e.g. birthdays, promotions.

How – and how often – do you communicate with the rest of your team at work? Are we missing any good practices?

Let us know in the comments!

For more about supervision and communication, check out our book “How to Supervise Speech Pathologists Properly in Private Practice“.

David

Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.

Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language

Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.

David Kinnane
Speech-Language Pathologist. Lawyer. Father. Reader. Writer. Speaker.

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