“Opening Cold – On the same page” Part 5 – Tips4EyeDocs Daily 25 Jan 2012 – No. 35

In Part 4, I talked about the kind of team that is needed to prepare for a “cold start” (or “opening cold”)  In this installment, creating an atmosphere to foster growth should not be left to chance or accident. Instead, it should be by design.  Designing such an atmosphere design is always preferred and prepares the practice for training and succession planning.

The key component to everyone working together is what I call “being on the same page”.  In fact its importance should be “raison d’être” for any practice.  More formally, this also known as the mission and value statements.  With one, there is a far greater chance that there will be a loyal and dedicated staff to follow you anywhere in business.

Getting a team together is a no simple task. Nor should it be.  It’s one of the most hiring decisions you can make.  Some will say that the first hire should be an office manager. Others might say it should be in optical sales. Regardless of what kind of person it is, that person will have an outsized significance and importance for later hires because of an implied importance of being the first hire. To be sure, the first hire embodies most of the anxiety and aspirations of the owner. That individual becomes the standard bearer of “being on the same page” as the owner.  The owner will rely on that first hire to continue to expound the mission statement.

As the practice grows,  the ability to keep everyone “on the same page” becomes problematic. That initial enthusiasm of opening cold becomes more of a headlong rush to rapidly grow, often at whatever cost. The power of “being on the same page” is remarkable and can sustain growth like no other value. Keep in mind that the patient public can sense unity in an office far better than even the owner. If it is time to rethink this value, consider a communications rather than practice management consultant to breathe renewed purpose in your staff.

About Richard Hom OD, MPA

Dr. Hom holds Doctor of Optometry and Masters in Public Administration degrees and practices family eye care and consults on public policy, health information technology and program evaluation.
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