Best Practices: 3 Keys to Effective Captainships

Dec 13, 2018 | Operations

Winning in business requires role division and staff empowerment, making delegation of at least some duties a must for successful growth. Captainships, a leadership mechanism that gives team members a specific responsibility to oversee, not only let you delegate but can elevate your practice’s efficiency and effectiveness. Put your own captainship program into action with these three tips:

Understand Why Captainships Matter

At their core, captainships are about prioritizing the important pieces and deputizing others to keep those priorities top of mind. Whether it’s physician outreach, whiteboard meetings, outbound calling, team celebrations, or other tactics that help your business thrive, it’s important to assign ownership of these tasks to ensure they happen.

Captainships offer a powerful way to accomplish this. By empowering staff through leadership opportunities, you allow them to additionally contribute to the business and further flourish as productive team members. It also allows you, through the continued success of the business, to further support their personal, professional, and financial goals (PPFs).

Use the 4-Step Implementation Method

  • Determine which captainships you need: It’s often as simple as looking at your top 10 practice priorities. There are certain ones only you can handle — but there are others that can be handled by staff. For example, process improvement is just one practice priority that could easily be delegated.Captainships are ideal for anything you’ve been meaning to implement but can’t seem to find time for, such as regular whiteboard meetings or community outreach. Talk to your team — they might have ideas for adding value, such as developing a stronger social-media presence or being more involved in chamber of commerce events.

  • Find the right person for the role: Assigning a captain for physician outreach is a cinch if you already have a team member with the knack, personality, and passion for it. But what if there’s no perfect fit? Lead a team discussion about the value and goals of each captainship. Volunteers will often step up, whether they already have the aptitude or want to grow that skill set.
    • Set the captain up for success: It’s crucial that you and each captain align goals and clarify the support required for success. For example, when and how many contacts should your outbound-calling captain make? Is block scheduling required to ensure success? Is additional training needed?Create a captainship checklist for each captain that clearly specifies expectations, best practices, how to identify areas of opportunity, and how to address those opportunities. This builds accountability and increases the likelihood of success.

  • Provide feedback: Nothing’s worse than thinking a task is finished, only to discover it never got off the ground. Avoid surprises with regular check-ins. You can review progress, celebrate achievements, troubleshoot challenges, and confirm any next steps. Keep your captains motivated and effective by helping them catch and overcome potential barriers to success early on.

Ready to Go the Extra Mile?

  • Incentivize — Providing incentives for success offers another way to motivate and support the staff you’ve entrusted with captainships. Audigy’s human resources experts have various compensation plans for different types of captainships — whether it’s an outbound-calling comp plan or even physician-outreach comp plans. You can also incentivize in other ways: “If you accomplish this, you can leave earlier,” for example, or a different option based on the employee’s PPFs.
  • Audit — Already have a captainship program in place? Remember to audit it periodically to make sure it’s operating efficiently and meeting your practice’s needs. Go through the four-step implementation method discussed in this article, even if your captainships have been up and running for some time.
  • Recalibrate — If a captainship isn’t working out with a particular person in the role, don’t get discouraged; it may simply be a coaching opportunity. If it turns out the fit just isn’t right, recalibrate with someone else who may be a better match for that role, or reconsider that particular captainship. Ask your people questions, and remember that one mistake doesn’t mean the whole program doesn’t work for your practice.


If launching a captainship program seems overwhelming, not to worry. Audigy has it covered. Our business experts support your practice every step of the way, from helping you identify specific needs and setting up the program to coaching specific staff and helping establish key benchmarks.

Our exclusive resources also include:

  • Relevant workshops, webinars, and other trainings to increase team productivity, boost practice efficiency, and maximize provider effectiveness
  • Helpful worksheets targeting specific captainships. Are you trying to build a more marketing-savvy staff? This worksheet can get you started.
  • Audigy CEO, an exclusive online educational portal that offers videos, self-assessments, and practice-management tools as well as access to a nationwide community of practice owners and providers able to share their own experiences, lessons, and advice on captainships and other aspects of business success