Article Date: 9/1/2011

What's in Your Report Card?

What's in Your Report Card?

Use your “super powers,” and offer something more than the ABCs.

Jim Thomas
From the Editorial Director

With the kids in school, let's discuss report cards. First and foremost, recognize that when you hold a report card, you wield super powers. For example, I can scan the six “As” and one “B“ on my daughter's report card, point to the “B” and ask her: “What happened? Was that your best effort?” In an instant, my daughter's exuberance is deflated, and I'm guaranteed a self-inflicted cold shoulder. Conversely, I could look at the report card, smile and say, “You know what this means—we're going out for ice cream!” The result: Exuberance increases exponentially.

You hold the same power over employees (assuming you've hired people who truly care about your practice). A performance review can be an energizing experience for your employees. So, use your presentation skills to make the most of it.

Back to the start

One of my complaints about report cards is that my children generally receive the same comments year after year. The quiet child “needs to participate more.” The talkative child “needs to focus more on classwork.” (I've yet to have a child who strikes the right balance.) These remind me that my daughter always receives the same comment on her report card from basketball camp: “Your daughter has adequate dribbling skills.” (I assume they refer to a basketball.)

I'd like to reply, “She had adequate skills when camp began. Haven't you done anything to improve them?”

My solution: Give me more. That is, provide parents—or better yet, challenge the kids—with some specific ideas for improvement.

Give something more

Circling back to your practice, you could say, “In the optical, Eileen demonstrates adequate sales skills,” or you could provide an objective benchmark that addresses a challenge: “In the past month, Eileen consistently sold premium features—including non-glare and scratch-resistant treatments—to 70% of the customers she served. As this is 10% above our benchmark, Eileen will receive the agreed-upon bonus of … ”

With quantifiable goals, you can avoid the subjective judgment calls that may unintentionally send the wrong message. Agree on goals that are meaningful to your practice, and provide an incentive that rewards employees for exceeding the goals. That way, employees will always know when they've done a good job and when they need to improve.

And best of all, you can then use your super powers to energize and motivate the people who are responsible for your practice's success. OM

Optometric Management, Issue: September 2011