BUSINESS: Strategies

Turn Back the Clock

Try this role-play exercise at your next staff meeting

This isn’t an article about daylight saving time. It’s about how rewriting history can help get you past the inertia our consultants often see in practices that are struggling to bring new technologies or products into their practices.


Let’s start by stating, “new” doesn’t always equal “better.” Things that have been around for years (like the wheel) don’t always require being changed. But, even legacy products are often improved. The Flintstone’s stone wheels worked. But few would trade them for today’s tires. However, when something new is better for your practice or patients, you owe it to both to at least explore it, as you’ll likely wind up using it.

The following “turn back the clock” is a role-play exercise designed to get your team to think critically and, perhaps, view new products in such a way that their clinically meaningful features are front and center. It’s a great activity for staff meetings and will, undoubtedly, lead to some laughs.

You can start these discussions by framing a question to your staff that goes something like, “What would you say to a patient about old product Y, if new product X came before old product Y?”


“Mr. Presby, I want to tell you about some new eyeglass lenses we recently started prescribing. They’re made of glass, not that annoying lightweight plastic you’ve been wearing. Also, to ensure you know exactly where your reading prescription starts, we’re now able to put a very prominent line — yes an actual visible line — it’s very cool — in your glasses. Trust, me you’ll always know where your reading prescription is!

“I know you work on your computer a lot. With these lenses, you don’t have to try to find that ‘magic’ middle part of your old progressive lenses. Instead, you just lift your chin way up, get very close to the screen, and it will be clear! There are some other great features to tell you about.

“You know how your current progressive lenses get dark when you go outside? We’ve eliminated that! Now, all you have to do is switch to a different pair of sunglasses — and yes — we can make those in the heavier glass too — and they’ll always be dark! And of course, when you come back inside, you just switch back to your clear glasses. You’ll know you have them with you. The feature of the added weight will never let you forget them. But wait . . . there’s more!

“I know you’re already itching to get these — but there is one more really great feature. We’ve made the finish of these lenses very shiny, so everyone can see how thick they are, and when you drive at night you’ll absolutely know when another car is approaching — especially when its high beams are on! It will only take us about four to six weeks to get them! You in?”


Hopefully, you can see how ridiculous this is. But, the point is that it helps you focus back on the real benefits of today’s high- tech progressive, photochromic, lightweight AR lenses. That is the reason to go through this exercise with your staff.

Other questions to consider for this exercise:

What if we had daily disposable lenses before lenses we had to use over, heat sterilize and try and use heroic efforts to save with enzyme tablets?

What if we had OCT before direct ophthalmoscope?

What if I had the Internet before the telephone?

What if all contact lenses were ordered directly by patients from your website instead of by you?

What if current dry eye technology devices existed before artificial tears?

What if myopia management existed before single vision minus lenses?

Happy brainstorming, and have fun! OM