BUSINESS: business strategies
Are You a Good Leader?
Who can tell you how well you are running your practice? Try your staff.
GARY GERBER, O.D.
“My staff doesn’t get it. That’s why my office has so many problems.” Our consultants hear that so often, that the last doctor who said that to me got an admittedly brusque response: “And whose fault is that? You hired them.”
Are you a good leader? You can measure how much work your receptionist does by how many phone calls she answers. Your insurance biller’s workload can be measured by the number of claims that get filed, and your optician’s productivity can be measured by keeping track of how many pairs of glasses are sold.
But how can you measure your effectiveness as the CEO of your practice? Yes, overall practice growth or revenue is one indicator, but those numbers can go up or down regardless of your CEO skills. So, how do you know how good a job you are actually doing running your practice?
One way is to ask your staff. The four questions to ask are:
1 How clearly have I defined the vision, mission and values of my practice, as well as your expectations?
You can’t expect staff to support something you haven’t clearly articulated or something you’ve never mentioned. Good CEOs are crystal clear in stating exactly what is expected of staff. Their message is consistently and repetitively communicated. Everyone understands why the practice exists.
Successful organizations ensure that everyone in the company has a laser-focused understanding of the big picture. There’s a story about John F. Kennedy asking a janitor at NASA, “What do you do here?” The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon, Mr. President.” Is your staff as plugged in to your mission as that janitor?
2 Do you trust me to make good decisions and that those decisions are in line with the stated values of the practice?
Are you walking the walk? If you say you’re willing to put your patients’ desires above your own, are you actually doing it with every patient every time, or only when it’s easy and obvious? Related to this, do you pitch in all day and every day with tasks that are needed to support your values?
While I was taking a tour of the Encore Hotel with the general manager, he stopped in the casino to pick up a gum wrapper. Would you do the same in your practice?
3 Am I looking toward the future?
Everyone wants to feel secure in their jobs, and your staff is counting on you to ensure the practice (their jobs) remains vibrant and viable. While your staff may not come out and say it, your proclamation that “social media is a passing fad” isn’t very reassuring. Instead, coming up with a strategy to neutralize a competitor or reinvesting in the practice through capital improvements, such as software and your optical, sends a message that you have every intention of being in business for a very long time.
4 Do I openly solicit advice from you and outsiders?
Sure. You get final veto power on management decisions. But, are you asking your “presidential cabinet of advisors” for input before you make those decisions? Your staff will value your leadership qualities if they see you acknowledge your weaknesses and seek to improve them. OM
Optometric Management, Volume: 49 , Issue: March 2014, page(s): 62