By Rich Heiland
Do you have a manager?
Do you trust and empower your manager?
Do you have a team of the “right people,” carefully hired, fully trained and empowered?
Does your team have to run to you or your manager for direction and permission?
These critical questions face any practice as we move deeper into the 21st century, a century of amazing opportunities tinged with threats made greater by the blinding pace of change. Those who cannot look to the edge of the horizon and change accordingly are going to fail or will survive in mediocrity.
Harsh? Not really. You have heard Al Cleinman warn of the perils of change, but also point out the opportunities in that change. You’ve also heard Al say that “our job is to make you uncomfortable.”
Consider this article a push to your comfort zone.
I have worked with doctors for almost 12 years now, but going forward, that’s going to change. My focus is now on staff and managers, and it will remain there for however long I continue work.
Why? After a career of working with leaders at the top I have come to believe that in this new age, it’s time to work with leaders at the bottom. What do I mean by that?
This: Leaders rarely are on the front line in optometry. If you are doing what you are trained to do you are spending 80 percent of your time in a small room with one person. That other 20 percent you are working on your business as an owner and leader.
So, who’s “running” your business?
Your practice, every single day, is a collection of encounters with patients, measured out in moments. Those moments are mostly lived through employees. If you are going to “WOW!” a patient, create loyalty, and push the edge on innovation, it is going to come mostly through well-led, front-line folks.
When we define the life of a practice as moments, doesn’t it follow that people living those moments have to believe in themselves, believe they are leaders, and exist as examples to those around them? Don’t they have to come together as an emotionally intelligent team to plan, to act, to respond and to be able to do that without waiting for someone else to tell them the right thing to do?
In my opinion the answer is “yes.” We are living in an age where trusted, trained and dedicated teams that believe in their collective selves no longer seek permission, but rather ask for forgiveness after the fact. They do it in a culture that allows for learning and growth that comes from the occasional mistake.
If you don’t employ a practice manager, think about having one. If you have a manager you are not allowing to truly manage, let them. If you are not taking your hiring process seriously — not so much based on the “resume” but on a sense of service and fit to your culture — change. If you still are “in control” of everything that happens in your practice, lose some of that control.
Empowered, well-managed teams are the future.
Premier Staff Education Opportunities
Give your staff a chance to boost their leadership skills and ability to “Wow!” patients. I recommend investing in these professional development programs, each providing personalized assessments, core curriculum, ongoing coaching and a wisdom-sharing peer group experience.
Specially designed to improve every aspect of optical performance, FrameWorks provides systems and ongoing support for opticians. For an average Network practice, FrameWorks participants experience, on average, a year-over-year lens capture rate growth of +15% – or $98,000.
From human resources to systems oversight, managing the business of optometry is simply not easy. Network practices who engage professional Practice Managers see overall growth in every benchmark as compared to practices that default to OD or staff management. Empower your manager with the tools and skills necessary to grow your practice by enrolling them in ManagementWorks.
Call 800-331-5536 to learn more!