Welcome to Williams Group new business training program. I am so proud of each of you. Starting a new business is hard work. Congratulations! Our work together has been focused on your operations, getting this new practice open and we will continue this, but while you listen to each of these courses, I challenge you to take a step away from those decisions. Take off your doctor hat and put on your leadership hat to look at things a bit differently. You are the leader of this organization. I’m Sheila Hayes, a New Business Advisor and I will be presenting several courses for you, the new practice owner. The new business training courses will focus on areas of the practice, the management or business side of the business. Those courses will cover the topics of staff management, patient management opportunities, financial management, and marketing. These are the foundational pillars that provide the business structure of your practice. We also have a fifth area of the business that is unique to our business of optometry, the optical and we'll need to give that some attention. We can think of these pillars that support your business foundation and we can think of the optical as a pillar that sits right in the middle. Some of the information that will be presented will be useful now or soon, some closer to opening your doors, and other information will seem very forward-thinking, months after you start your practice, but it's important for me to not only set you up for success from the day you open, but for the lifetime of your optometry career or as long as you own your practice. So, you need to be the leader and think like a leader, but what does leadership really mean? Let's take a look.
So, I'm going to talk about that during this leadership course. Leadership and a culture of purpose. Doctor, define your culture or it will be defined for you. Every business takes on a culture. You might take a moment to think about the culture where you are currently practicing, or the culture in another workplace, or the culture in a favorite place where you enjoy shopping or dining. Every business takes on a culture. Establish yours. Be the leader. Your actions must align with your vision for the new practice. Be intentional in creating a culture of purpose. There are skilled experts in leadership, authors and speakers. I’ll share those with you in a bit. But let me give you some examples, things you might not think about under the topic of leadership, but that apply more specifically to an optometry practice.
The first example is, show up on time. You expect your employees to show up on time, you expect your patients to show up for their appointment on time. Doctor, you must show up on time. We often hear from staff that doctors come in late in the morning or from their lunch break. Staff are embarrassed. If you know for yourself that running late, especially in the morning, is a challenge for you, start now to figure out how you are going to overcome this. Another example; don't cheer for cancellations! You want patients so badly right now that you can't even imagine this right, but do you see that in your current practice? We do. When your schedule gets busy and it will, there are days when a no-show or late cancellation might be welcome, so that you can catch up on something else. Please keep that thought in your head and don't share your excitement with the staff. We will work hard to fill your schedule and put good strategies in place, so the patient actually keeps the appointment. You will eventually, likely, roll out a staff bonus that will incentivize your team to meet production goals. The way that they meet these goals is to have patients in the schedule. Another quick example of a good leader is that you should know everything about your organization. Maintain focus at all times. That’s easy to do in the beginning, when you are involved in every decision, but as the practice grows and you begin to delegate, make sure you are in tune to your business, your practice. Doctor, the practice will go how you go. Your staff will go how you go. Your patients will go how you go. Establish your leadership from day one.
Strong sense of mission. Great organizations have a strong sense of mission. They know what they show up for every day. Mission defines culture and remember what we said about culture. Get your mission statement created. Did you accomplish this when you wrote your business plan? If so, revisit it. If not, get it done! Then you need to live your mission. So, post it in your office for your staff to see, post it for your patients to read, begin your meetings reading your mission statement. Decisions will be easy when values are clear.
Ah, the word communication, talk about communication. That's a hot topic amongst practices. Everybody always wants better communication. So, let's put some good communication systems in place right away. Really, there are three easy ways to ensure good internal communication, so let's look at those. First, are meetings, in the way of daily huddles and then weekly meetings. You know, in the beginning, you and your staff and by staff that might just be one other person, so you and your one other employee, have plenty of time to have quick meetings on the fly. But there will be a point that that will go away and you must carve out some time for organized meetings. Can we talk about daily huddles? Are you familiar with them? Daily huddles have become increasingly popular in optometric practices and for good reason. What are they? A morning huddle is a brief meeting, maybe 10 to 15 minutes, with your team before your first patient arrives. The purpose is to talk about the day ahead, usually your patient schedule. Working out any potential obstacles and looking for opportunities. Any additional patient information can be shared during your morning huddles. So, doctor if you have practiced in the community and have patients following you to your new practice, this is a time to review your patient schedule and have staff alert you if you have former patients on your schedule for the day. Now, let's look at weekly meetings. Weekly meetings are a time that you will carve out of patient care, so make good use of that time. During the weekly meeting, you and your team will do some reporting of projects and tasks. So, projects that you're working on. Tasks, we always should have tasks on our list. That's what keeps our practice moving forward. Any updates since we last talked on those projects. Education; great time to bring in outside vendors for example or doctor, you provide some education or everybody takes turns. We have all sorts of ideas but utilize a part of your meetings for just education and bettering yourselves in your industry. Practice metrics and goals, so some financial, some statistical reporting, eventually you will establish production goals and we'll discuss those and other practice statistics during your weekly meetings. We will learn more about that during the financial course, but just wanted to let you know that that is a part, a component of that weekly meeting. Secondly, internal communication. We're going to need to have some communication in between those weekly meetings and so, decide how you will communicate on projects and tasks, again in between those meetings. Set up specific work email addresses that the staff should check once or twice a day. You just put those processes in place, but those internal emails set up with a practice work email address makes that pretty easy to accomplish. Lastly, set up a central communications system or center. This is for shared documents, such as your employee handbook, insurance manuals, procedure manual, project updates, the list goes on and on. But it's just information that you want to make sure everyone on your team is aware that those documents exist, okay? So, Google Drive, SharePoint is just a couple of systems, but there are many out there and you can begin investigating those.
So, I mentioned leadership, speakers, books, so let me give you a couple suggestions here as we wrap up this course. There are just so many books available and good books, but let me just share some of my some of my favorites and some of my team's favorites. The first is Excellence Wins written by Horst Schultz, so Excellence Wins. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. O Great One, just a simple read by David Novak. And then, Simon Sinek, S I N E K, he’s written many books on leadership. Leaders Eat Last, I think is probably one of his most popular. But also pull up his TED Talks, so YouTube videos. I recommend, one in particular, so check it out and it's called Start With Why. So, those are just some examples of leadership books.