If you’ve got a good working relationship with your staff, I’m assuming your team is in ship shape. Now it’s time to raise the sails and see where they can steer your ship. Monthly strategy meetings and new idea sessions are a great way to discuss changes that need to be implemented over time. The best way to get your employees invested in a project is to generate interest and ownership. You’ve been in the business a while and through your various experiences, you’ve come up with six or so projects you’d like to see implemented in your office. Now that everybody working for you feels respected and valued, they come to monthly meetings with open minds. Lead a discussion in a certain direction and let them come to your conclusions on their own. Even if you think you know the answer, sometimes a better one may surface.
When a new idea session begins, you may start by simply stating the purpose is to identify areas where the practice can improve. Everybody is going to have something to say and now that they know their opinions are respected, they may throw out a few. Hear them all, note what they’re saying, and focus on one idea for the time being–after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Maybe someone’s noticed that patients often complain about not being able to find the store…now the idea generation can begin. Someone might suggest an online map, or a bigger sign, and a third person a mailer with directions; all of these are great ideas. It may turn out that some of them are already in play. Mailers may have been sent and an online map most certainly already exists. Now the task of directing patients to your website and bolstering your map rankings becomes a focus. By the end of the meeting, the problem of getting patients successfully to your practice may not be entirely solved, but everyone now has time to think about the project between now and the next meeting.
Follow up with e-mailed minutes and an attached agenda for your meeting. If your employees feel they have control and ownership over some of the issues they’ve voiced, they’ll be instrumental in trying to solve them.
Evan Kestenbaum, MBA is the co-founder and COO of GPN Technologies, the landmark company that created EDGEPro. Evan’s entrepreneurial expertise and his focus on continuous improvement were vital in the development and success of EDGEPro, which has revolutionized analytics and business intelligence for ophthalmic professionals. Evan has also been deeply engaged in coaching and dispensary management for hundreds of practices during the past 10 years. He is the co-owner of Optix Family Eyecare in New York, one of Long Island’s largest Optometry practices. In his free time, Evan enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters. For questions or comments about this article, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.