Check Your Expectations|
Let's look at the saddest mistake of practice
BOB LEVOY, O.D.
the saddest mistake of practice management, one that causes endless frustration
and stress, is having unrealistic expectations. Here are some of the more common
ones I've encountered that create a blueprint for disappointment and frustration.
►You can find or develop the "perfect" employee.
CHECK: Do you expect your employees to be as dedicated, hard-working, energetic and vitally
interested in your patients and the success of your practice as you are? High expectations
are fine. Studies show that employees tend to live up to their employers' expectations.
It's called the Pygmalion Effect. But unrealistic expectations are, by definition,
If you have unrealistic
expectations about employees, you'll be frustrated by what you perceive as unmotivated
employees. They'll forever disappoint you.
Your employees in turn, will be frustrated
because it will seem as if nothing they do is good enough to earn your approval
and appreciation. The result? Resentment and stress on both sides.
Your expectations of employees may be unrealistic. You may not have hired the right
people for your practice. They may not be doing the things they do best or like
doing. It may be your management style that's at fault. A one-on-one performance
review may pin point the problem.
can change other people.
Do you believe that if you are persuasive and persistent enough, you can change,
really change another person? Do you think, for example, you can get a partner or
associate to work harder, faster or take more of an entrepreneurial interest in
the practice? Trying to change other people's beliefs to conform to yours, assumes
their priorities and motivations are the same as yours. That's possible, but again
Accept that you can change people but not very much.
There are several alternatives:
One is to keep trying, but perhaps with a different approach. Another is to negotiate
your differences: reach a win/win compromise. If necessary, adopt a "what is, is"
philosophy and learn to live with the situation.
Severing the relationship is another
option if you're in a position to do it. Following a recent seminar I gave on the
topic of expectations, an optometrist wrote me: "When I returned to the office,
I split with my partner of 13 years. It was the hardest but best thing
I ever did."
can please every patient, every time.
Do you truly believe you can please every patient who comes to your office? Do you
take it personally when you don't or can't? The fact is some patients are impossible
to please and drift from one practice to another, yours included. Others are more
cost-conscious or demanding than your office policies allow.
Unless the numbers are getting out of hand, don't be too hard on yourself over lost
patients. Turnover goes with the territory. Take the advice of famous editor/journalist,
Herbert Bayard Swope, who said: "I can' t give you a sure-fire formula for success.
But I can give you a formula for failure: Try to please everybody all the time."
Keep it real
As the poet said, a man's reach should exceed
his grasp. But have goals that are realistic and attainable and with which you're
comfortable. Most importantly, have expectations that will enable you to enjoy your
patients, colleagues, staff and your own impressive achievements.
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: February 2006