O.D. to O.D.


How to develop a top-performing team

A few months into COVID-19 life, we are experiencing new challenges, both on the business and patient care fronts. In May’s Optometric Management (see “How We Create Future Successes,” ), I discussed Steven Covey’s strategy for achieving “predictable results in unpredictable times,” the first of which is setting a few key goals, creating lead measures for those goals and evaluating results (the numbers) to see where performance is lacking.

Mr. Covey explains that the performance of individuals in any group will look like a bell curve: 20% bottom performers, 60% middle performers and 20% top performers. To reap the biggest rewards, Mr. Covey advocates “moving the middle.”

How would moving middle performers affect your practice?

Let’s say the average per-patient revenue for your top performer is $700 vs. $400 for a middle performer. By teaching these middle performers to be top performers, you can increase your revenues by $300 per patient. If a practice sees 15 patients a day and an additional 60% of them are now served by top performers, it would result in an increase of $2,700 per day, or $702,000 in a 260-day work year, all for doing what you have always done, only better. Run your numbers to see the impact on your practice.

The great news: With a few exceptions, your middle performers want to become top performers, but they don’t know how.

The performance of individuals in a group resembles a bell curve.


According to Mr. Covey, the two ways to move the middle are:

  1. Identify islands of excellence. Look for the top performers, or if you have multiple locations, look for the performers who stand out, and have them teach the others.
  2. Ask the team how to improve performance. There may be key items your team needs to accomplish the established goals. They may need incentives or simply a better understanding of what you are asking them to do.

For example, in my practice we decided to train new optical staff by giving them time to shadow/work with the top performer from day one. They watched, took notes and began one task at a time with close oversight. They continued with decreasing oversight until finally, a spot check was all that was required. When one task was learned well (we tracked the numbers to confirm), we then moved to the next. At first, this method was difficult because for a few weeks, I paid an employee who generated no income. But it paid off. Instead of training poorly and quickly, it enabled me to have top performers.


If you want to create top performers today (and I can assure you that you do), identify your top 20%, and then have them teach the others. You will see untold benefits immediately and into the future. Remember, patients today are watching everything we and our staffs do, and they are sharing it with fans, friends, family and followers.

Imagine a practice where everyone is a top performer. Take the time to “move the middle,” and your dream will become reality. OM


Twitter: @DrAprilJasper

Facebook: @OptometricManagement