Cleinman Performance Partners Weekly Message

Embracing Accountability – June 20, 2024

In the bustling landscape of the business of modern optometry, one word stands tall as the cornerstone of achievement: accountability. It’s a guiding principle that permeates every facet of your practice. Accountability forms the bedrock upon which lasting success is built. And it’s why I’m addressing it as part of my top ten practice challenges series.

What exactly is accountability, and why does it hold such profound significance? To unravel its essence, one must first understand that it’s not merely about shouldering responsibility when things go awry. Rather, it’s a proactive mindset, a conscious commitment to owning one’s actions and their consequences, whether favorable or not. Indeed, accountability should be a cornerstone of your practice culture. With it, you get stuff done on time and on target. Without it…chaos and frustration…or worse.

Picture this: your team embarks on a crucial project, let’s say instituting a dry eye clinic. You’ve done a respectable job of documenting your plan and now it’s time to pass out assignments. Each member of your team is vested with specific tasks and timelines. In such a scenario, accountability isn’t merely a buzzword; it’s the glue that binds the team together, ensuring everyone is not only aware of their role but also committed to delivering their best. It’s about fostering a culture where promises made are promises kept, where integrity reigns supreme. It’s the difference between success and mediocrity…or failure.

Now, let’s delve deeper into why accountability isn’t just desirable but downright indispensable in today’s world. In an era characterized by rapid change and fierce competition, adaptability is paramount. And what better catalyst for adaptability than a team that holds itself answerable for its actions? When each member of your practice feels personally invested in its success, innovation thrives, obstacles are surmounted, and milestones are surpassed. Indeed, as Charles Darwin said:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives; nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

But make no mistake; embracing accountability isn’t always easy. It requires a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths, to acknowledge shortcomings, and to learn from missteps. Yet, therein lies its transformative power. For in the crucible of accountability, weaknesses are honed into strengths, and setbacks become springboards for growth.

Now, let’s shift our focus to leadership, the guiding force that steers your optometry ship through turbulent waters. A true leader doesn’t merely demand accountability from others but exemplifies it in their own actions. They lead by example, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to transparency, integrity, and follow-through. In doing so, they inspire trust, foster collaboration, and cultivate a culture where accountability isn’t a burden but a badge of honor. It’s why it’s so important that you abide by the philosophy that “entrepreneurs don’t have failures, we have learning experiences. Fail faster.” 

My first job in eyecare, way back in the early 1970s, was that of a telephone salesman. One day I was questioned by a colleague about my habit of hanging up the phone from a vocal “no” and saying “thank you” to the phone. Why did I do that? Well, I knew that, mathematically, I had to get through 9 “no’s” to get to a “yes.” I was simply acknowledging that the no I just received got me closer to success. It’s a mindset that has served me well over my 5 decades in the business of eye care. 

Accountability isn’t merely a virtue to be admired from afar; it’s a potent catalyst for organizational excellence. Embracing accountability isn’t just a choice; it’s a calling—a calling to strive for excellence, to uphold integrity, and to leave a legacy of success behind you. 

So, at your next staff meeting, I encourage you to address the topic of accountability. Ask your team “what does it mean to be accountable? What happens when we aren’t? How can we do better? You may be surprised at the responses…and the ultimate results. 

But before you address the topic with your team, ask yourself if you’re holding up your end. Remember, the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack.

Is your culture one that embraces change? Or are you faced with a team that is challenged by change or is slow to respond? Do your teammates consistently deliver as expected? If not, why not? 

For a no-obligation discussion about bringing about change in your culture, reach out to us at [email protected].

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