O.D. to O.D.


Like many of you, my family went to church on December 30 eager to hear a message that would re-invigorate us for the new year. The speaker, John Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, had us on the edges of our seats, as he told us the key to our best year ever: “In 2019, every day serve someone.” The measure of true success, he continued, is in how much value you bring to other people.

In Leading at a Higher Level (one of my favorite books), author Ken Blanchard defines leadership as, “the capacity to influence others by unleashing their power and potential to impact the greater good.” He defines “Leading at a Higher Level” as, “the process of achieving worthwhile results while acting with respect, care and fairness for the well-being of all involved.” Both authors agree that when we focus on others, we begin to lead at the highest level.

As leaders we know how important it is to serve. But how do we help our team to see what needs to be done? Begin by hiring high performers, and continue to provide them with a clear and compelling vision of the organization.

Next, help your team reach their potential by providing three to five goals (a specific plan).

To set clear goals, follow the SMART acronym, as defined by Blanchard’s team:

Specific: Make goals observable and measurable.

Motivating: Tell teams why what they do makes a difference.

Attainable: Set goals that are challenging, yet attainable.

Relevant: They will make a difference in team performance.

Trackable and time bound: Set short-term goals that lead to long-term success.


Let’s say one goal is to increase the medical side of the practice, specifically in glaucoma, the theme of this month’s “Practicing Medical Optometry” section, which begins on p.18. Here is an example of how you might implement the SMART system:

S: Manage 50 glaucoma patients a year (knowing that 2% of the population has glaucoma and the average optometrist sees 3,000 patients per year).

M: Glaucoma is a potentially blinding disease. Early detection and treatment can significantly decrease the effects of the disease, and can have life-changing results for those patients and their families.

A: By creating a screening process that includes tonometry (possibly ORA), frequency doubling VF screening, OCT screening and retinal photo screening, the likelihood of early detection is extremely high.

R: Early detection and treatment of glaucoma in our patients is extremely impactful to our patients and helps us to grow our practice and achieve our vision.

T: We will track, on a daily basis, the number of patients who have wellness screenings, setting our goal at 80% of our daily exams. We will review, weekly, the number who are diagnosed with glaucoma as a result of our additional screening measures to see the difference we are making in our patients’ lives.

Creating a plan for our practice with SMART goals for our team is the most motivating thing we can do, assuming we provide regular feedback. When we set our goals with the intent to lead at the highest level, we not only serve our patients, but also our team. I will pass on Dr. Maxwell’s challenge to you: In 2019, every day let us truly serve someone as a leader at the highest level. OM


Twitter: @DrAprilJasper

Facebook: @OptometricManagement