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In Florida, a wheel of fortune ends the not-my-job syndrome

A Florida manager has turned around the “that’s-not-my-job” syndrome with a wheel of fortune that gets spun once a month and carries a dozen good items – gift certificates to car washes, movies, and grocery stores. The best is $100 cash. To spin the wheel, staff have to get nominated. And what they get nominated for is outstanding _____.

The administrator of a pain management clinic office in Florida set up the program two years ago as a way to encourage staff to participate in all aspects of the office. She also wanted the encouragement to continue throughout the year. The office has one physician and 12 staff, three of whom are in managerial positions. Only patients and the non-managerial staff can make the nominations, and that’s done so it doesn’t seem like the office is showing favoritism. There are two nomination collection boxes. One is at the front desk for patients, and it carries a sign saying to fill out a form to recognize someone who has gone out of the way to be helpful. The other is for staff, and it’s located in a lavatory so people can make nominations anonymously. Both boxes are locked.

The form reads, “I would like to nominate _____ because _____.” A signature is optional. Nominations cover all sorts of things. One cited a staffer who saw a patient fall outside the building and brought her inside and cared for her. Another said, “Thank you for being supportive during my training.” Some cite people for helping out in other job areas. Patients usually mention general things, perhaps that a staffer has been repeatedly kind. One woman, however, wrote that a staffer noticed she was becoming ill in the waiting area and came out and took her to a private room.

The winner is the person with the most nominations. If there’s a tie, the doctor draws a name. With a drawing, nobody can say “The doctor chose So-and-So because he doesn’t like me.” When the office manager announces the winner, she also reads out the other nominations.

She introduced the program by bringing the wheel to a staff meeting. She explained that nominations had to be for something beyond the scope of job duties. She also got staff’s suggestions for prizes. They liked it immediately, she says, and she’s never had to encourage them to participate. Usually there are about a dozen nominations each month.

Medical Office Manager wants to send you $100. Tell us how you solved a problem, implemented a successful program – or share any idea we can use in our Reader Tips column and we’ll send you $100. Contact

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