What principles guide your practice? Does your staff know them?
The focus of new employee training usually centers on the performance of day-to-day tasks. But what's also needed is an understanding of the core values of your practice.
Finding a raison d'etre
"Core values," say James C. Collins and Jerry I.
Porras, authors of Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business, 1997) are "an organization's essential and enduring tenets -- a small set of general guiding principles; not to be confused with specific operational practices; not to compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency."
"Core values" represent what's important in your practice. They establish the culture of your practice and shape its image.
If everyone in your practice is not abiding by the same core values, it ends mixed messages to patients. It results in a loss of cooperative energy in achieving the goals of the practice.
Give some thought to the core values of your practice. Decide the principles by which people should govern themselves. To start, consider the following answers given by past workshop participants about their practices. Add some of your own. Then schedule a staff meeting to reach a consensus.
- Quality is paramount. The quality of care we provide to patients is the single most important priority for everyone in our practice. We want to astonish patients with our thoroughness, attention to detail and genuine concern for their comfort and well being.
- Patient confidentiality is essential. This means that information entrusted to staff members regarding patients, doctors, co-workers or any office matter must be treated as completely confidential. All of us are responsible for guarding privileged information and can be subject to legal action if we divulge it.
- Patients do us a favor by deciding to come to us -- not the other way around.
- Patients come to the office in a variety of moods. It's our job to be upbeat, friendly and patient, even if patients are sometimes impatient with us.
- Teamwork isn't optional -- it's essential.
- Participate in staff meetings. They serve as a forum for sharing, learning and problem-solving.
- Continuing education is part of the culture of this practice. It fosters personal, professional and practice growth.
- Impressions count. Staff members do more than just represent the practice: In many people's minds, they are the practice. All interactions with patients, patients' families, sales representatives, laboratory personnel, referring physicians and others must reflect a professional demeanor at all times. Careless or flippant language or behavior are detrimental to the image of the practice.
Optometric Management invites you to submit to us your list of core values. We will publish these lists in a future issue. OM will select two submitters who will each receive a copy of Bob Levoy's new book, "201 Secrets of a High Performance Optometric Practice." Please email your list to
Get the word out
This list is by no means exhaustive. It's intended to help you think about what's important in your practice that you want employees to know. Much depends on your philosophy of practice, management style and professional goals. Include your own list in your office manual. Make sure the person in charge of training reviews it with each new employee.
BOB LEVOY'S NEWEST BOOK, "201 SECRETS OF A HIGH PERFORMANCE OPTOMETRIC PRACTICE" WAS PUBLISHED BY
BUTTERWORTH-HEINEMANN. YOU CAN REACH HIM BY E-MAIL AT B.LEVOY@ATT.NET.
Optometric Management, Issue: December 2002