By Amir Khoshnevis, OD
We all have short- and long-term plans for our practices—whether we have written it down and shared it with staff, or whether those plans only exist in our heads.
To ensure your vision for your practice becomes a reality, it is not enough for that vision to exist solely in your mind, with staff told just enough to do their jobs on a day-to-day basis. To take your practice where you want it to go, begin with a plan to engage and inform your staff.
Whether you want to create a new niche, reach out to a new subset of the population, such as a more affluent audience or more young people, your staff needs to be aware of the goal and appreciate its long-term benefits. In addition to helping them do their jobs better by putting into a larger context the tasks they labor through every day, sharing your goals can be an inspiration to staff that results in your employees helping you achieve your goals by contributing their own ideas.
To gain traction for the idea, follow these four steps prior to any attempt to implement initiatives:
1. Take the time to consider how you will explain your vision, or the new initiative, to staff. First, take the presentation to staff as seriously as you would a lecture to other doctors. Sell your idea by using vivid language that paints a picture for staff.
2. Supply a success story from another practice or business that implemented an initiative similar to the one you propose. People are generally more comfortable with a new idea if they sense “safety in numbers” and a proven track record. Besides, everyone relates to a good story better than a dry lecture.
3. Once the right vision and inspiration is in your employees’ minds, work with them to create an action plan for implementation. It is best if specific responsibilities are assigned to each employee, with benchmarks for success and deadlines set for each job role.
4. Lastly, to exponentially increase your likelihood of success, seek personal commitments from key individuals on the team. When you receive someone’s “word” on a particular mission, you’ve plainly placed your trust in each other. This is the most valuable intangible connection between a leader and his/her people.
Remember, the vision may be yours, but the success at achieving it depends on the ability of your staff to work together as a team.
Note: Check out Leadership Insights, Oct. 2010, for ideas for inspiring staff towards your goals.
Do you have success stories to share of how you worked with staff to achieve a practice goal? What difficulty have you experienced in this regard, and how did you work through it?
Amir Khoshnevis, OD, founded Carolina Family Eye Care in 2003. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and is a member of several optometric associations. He is a presenter at AOA and SECO. Dr. Khoshnevis has a strong interest in specialty contact lenses and has built a medical co-management contact lens practice as well as a clinical investigation site for specialty lenses. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.