Finances

Can You and Your Staff Recite Your Mission Statement?

By Peter G. Shaw-McMinn, OD

Sept. 30, 2015

When I travel I like to see the mission statements posted by businesses. Most are long and wordy, stating that the business will be the best in the area. Sometimes they add a statement explaining how they are going to fulfill their mission of being the best. For example:

Click HERE or the image above to download a copy of this mission statement worksheet. Dr. Shaw-McMinn says it’s important to not only have a practice mission statement, but that you and your staff know it by heart, and know how to put it into action every day.

MISSION STATEMENT FOR WOODCREST VISION CLINIC

“Our mission is to provide the best eyecare available in Woodcrest, primarily serving 95 percent of the vision needs of all patients within two miles of the office. The practice will include opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists offering services and products in a patient-friendly manner with convenient hours, a comfortable office atmosphere and payment flexibility for community members.”

The point of a mission statement is to maintain a dedication to principles on the part of the doctor and staff–and also to guide business decisions. If your mission is to provide unsurpassed eyecare, your decision of whether or not to invest in upgradingequipment, or to remake office procedures to improvethe patient experience, already is made for you.

I was at a school retreat with Mert Flom, OD, who was the keynote speaker on leadership, when he told me the best mission statement he ever heard. I can’t recall the exact mission statement, but I do recall the reason it was so good. He noted that the mission statement was good because it inferred action. It directed all in the company as to what to do…and it was short enough to remember.

Can you recite your mission statement? More importantly, can your staff recite it? Are your patients aware of your mission?

A mission statement is a promise to your patients that states what you stand for, and what you are going to deliver to them. It reflects your brand. Recently, I went through an exercise with my staff to restate our mission statement the way Mert would have liked it. We went through the exercise, Developing a Practice Mission Statement, to guide us.

In the end we looked at the following three, the first stolen from a colleague:

“We change lives through innovative patient care.”

–ROB Professional Editor Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD

“We maintain the best vision for our patients by educating them on the best our profession has to offer.”

“We improve lives by educating patients on the best eyecare products and services available.”

After much discussion, the staff voted to use the following as our mission statement to guide all interactions with our patients: “We improve lives by educating patients.”

Short, simple and directive as to what actions every staff member should take when working with patients. Our staff now knows to educate patients on how we can improve their life, whether they are a receptionist, technician, optician, billing person or doctor. Each of us can now recite–and put into action–our mission statement.

What is your practice’s mission statement? How well do you and your staff know it, and are you all able to easily put it into action?

Peter G. Shaw-McMinn, OD, is an assistant professor of Clinical Studies at the Southern California College of Optometry. He is the senior partner of Sun City Vision Center, a group practice including five optometrists. Dr. Shaw-McMinn has served as chairman of the AOA Practice Management Committee and the Association of Practice Management Educators. He was the appointed Benedict Professor in Practice Management & Administrationfor the University of Houston College of Optometry for 2001-2002. To contact: shawmc1@me.com.

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