Article Date: 5/1/2010

If You're Not Convinced That Staff Meetings Work For You…
o.d. to o.d.

If You're Not Convinced That Staff Meetings Work For You…

… then consider this ”new” strategy, which will directly impact staff performance and the success of your practice.

BY WALTER D. WEST, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Chief Optometric Editor

One of the practice management pearls I always recommend is the need for staff meetings. My recommendation is that they be held on a weekly basis, and there be a set agenda for each meeting. Recently, as I presented this pearl to an audience of 600, I saw — as I always do — several different types of optometrists in the audience.

A cool reception

First, there were the “rolling eye” optometrists. These individuals have either had staff meetings in the past and quit, never held staff meetings, never thought staff meetings were important or couldn't imagine that their staff has anything important to share.

And of course, present at every Optometric meeting are the “arms folded” optometrists, also known as the “scowling face” or the “I don't care what you say” optometrists.

And perhaps my favorite naysayer, the “that won't work in my practice” optometrist.

Then there are the “what an amazing idea” faces, seen only briefly because they quickly dive into their notepads to write the details of how and why staff meetings are a must for your practice.

The three most common reasons I hear for avoiding staff meetings are first, “all my staff ever did was complain.” Then, “all the doctor ever did was complain.” And the ever popular, “there wasn't anything to talk about.”

So I'm going to make a change in the way I suggest staff meetings — camouflage them if you will. I'm going to refer to them as “mastermind groups.” So, for those of you who don't have any interest in staff meetings, listen up.

The “masterminds”

Mastermind groups are what you need. Mastermind groups are reserved for only those individuals who make things happen in your organization, make the day-to-day decisions, have a direct impact on the success of your business and are in touch with the wants and needs of your customers. So, whom do you invite to these “mastermind groups?” How about your staff? Now, I know what you're thinking, but it doesn't make it a “staff meeting” just because your staff is there. Large corporations can have meetings in which board members are present without it being a board meeting, right? Right.

Since you may not have ever had a “mastermind group” meeting, it's probably best to give you some guidelines for organizing the meeting and some rules for how to have the most successful meetings possible.

So, here are the rules I suggest for masterminding successfully:

  1. All ideas are good ideas.
  2. Listen to the whole idea, and don't interrupt.
  3. Don't attack ideas or solutions.
  4. Build on each suggestion or idea.
  5. Do not defend ideas.
  6. Be unattached to other ideas being the “right” idea.
  7. Allow the group to formulate the solution synergistically.
  8. Be open to solutions of which you never thought.
  9. Believe there is a solution to every problem.
  10. Be confident that the right solution will surface.

If you apply these rules to your “mastermind groups,” I'm sure you'll be successful as well as appreciate the valuable input your staff may have. Who knows? If these rules were applied to staff meetings, maybe they would work too. OM



Optometric Management, Issue: May 2010