Article Date: 12/1/2009

Has Your Practice Found Perfection?

Has Your Practice Found Perfection?

You don't need "perfect" people to achieve a perfect year in 2010.

Jim Thomas

When it comes to your staff, have you assembled the "perfect" team? Before you answer, let's consider a team that was perfect, the 1972 Miami Dolphins. (For those who can't bear sports analogies, I apologize. Please skip to the fifth paragraph.)

The Dolphins became the first and only team in National Football League (NFL) during the age of the Super Bowl to complete an entire season without a loss or a tie, including the post season. To be sure, this team had firepower. Six of its players were inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Not close to perfect

But its defense, often the measure of great teams, lacked any true superstars. And in week five of the season, quarterback Bob Griese left the game with a broken bone in his leg. His replacement for the next 10 games, Earl Morrall, put up less than perfect numbers. In week six, the Dolphins barely won, 24-23, against a Buffalo Bills team that ended the season with only four wins. Morrall attempted only 10 passes the entire game and the team committed four turnovers — what offensive coordinators might consider the antithesis of perfection.

During the Super Bowl, field goal kicker Garo Yepremian made one of the most imperfect plays in NFL history: Instead of falling on a blocked field goal attempt, he picked up the ball and tried to throw a pass. The ball wobbled and dropped into the arms of Washington cornerback Mike Bass who ran the interception back for a touchdown. Yet the Dolphins held on to win, 14-7.

Perfection achieved

The good news exemplified by the unmatched Dolphin's season is that a group of individuals — who, at times, act imperfectly — can rise to achieve a certain perfection. Star performers help, but leadership, systems and the determination of each team member appear to be attributes that overcome any individual shortcomings.

As you plan for the New Year, let me suggest you consider how the individual members of your practice can develop into the "perfect" team. Meet with your staff and together set ambitious, quantifiable goals that would make next year the perfect year for your practice. Consider how your practice's resources, from personnel to equipment to information technology, can be utilized to achieve the results you seek.

And when next December arrives, your practice will have earned the right to celebrate the perfect year. OM

Getting back to this year: On behalf of the entire Optometric Management staff, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.

Optometric Management, Issue: December 2009