Optometric Management Tip # 316   -   Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Host an Organizational Retreat

Do you ever feel like your practice is stuck in a rut? Do you ever find that your staff seems a little bored and lacks enthusiasm? Maybe staff morale is down and there is a lack of teamwork. Have you forgotten what your mission statement is... or maybe you don't have one?

Problems like these are faced by most eye care practices at some point and one of the best remedies is to step back and reassess. I have found that a special motivational staff meeting can play a big part in helping a practice break out of the doldrums and spark a new beginning.

The retreat concept
An organizational retreat is a special staff meeting that fosters introspection of your practice goals and encourages a fresh approach to business operations and marketing. The meeting often takes place at an off-site location and may occupy a full day.

A retreat may begin with a review of the strategic positioning of the practice. Management challenges are discussed openly and a brainstorming session with staff is usually on the agenda. A high level of staff training is provided on non-technical topics such as customer service, sales techniques and communication skills. The practice owner provides leadership and motivation. Additional speakers may be scheduled. This is an opportunity to focus on the small details that separate a great practice from an average one.

The logistics
There are many possibilities for how to host a retreat. Some of the concepts depend on your goals for the meeting and the type of practice you have. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

The agenda
The sky is the limit on ideas to include in your retreat agenda. Plan the day on a time schedule by estimating how long each major topic will take. Allow time for meals and breaks. Here are some possibilities:

The practice owner must wear many hats, but perhaps the most important one is not that of eye care practitioner, but rather that of practice leader and chief executive officer. Exercise that role and your staff and the practice will respond in a very positive way.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management