By Rachael Click, OD
Collaborate with staff to assess practice achievements and shortcomings, and plan staff and doctor performance improvements for the next year.
With so many daily challenges and a full patient load facing successful ODs, it can be hard to take a deep breath and assess practice performance. For that reason, I hold an annual executive review, a meeting hosted on the first business day of the year. The goal of this special meeting is to plan practice goals for the new year. All full-time employees are responsible for contributing to the meeting by representing the area of the practice that they work in. During the meeting, everyone is responsible for presenting ideas for improvement. We then create an action plan that will guide us during the year.
Dr. Click’s Executive Review Toolkit:
Write Goals Down
The Executive Review has been held annually since the practice opened. I do not remember who told me about the idea, but I believe I read about it first in a business management article. I immediately loved the idea because I thought it was the best way for staff to take ownership in the practice. The ultimate goal of the Executive Review is to write down our goals and our ideas for accomplishing those goals. I once read that you are 500 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. So, this is a formal way for everyone to develop goals for the new year.
Plan a Structured, Detailed Meeting
The planning process is quite complex and it takes several weeks to finalize the meeting. I do use a template from the previous year, but it is complex because it involves detailed critiquing of practice performance. In the beginning of November, I determine what our financial goal for the next year will be. I do this by reviewing the current year-to-date revenues for each area of the practice. Once the annual goal is set, I then break that down into monthly plans. During one of our standard weekly meetings, I present the outline for the Executive Review and all team members are asked to present on at least one topic. Also, during one of our regular business meetings, I present a questionnaire of about 10 questions covering topics that I want to discuss during the review. Then, during the next six weeks, the staff is asked to develop an action plan for their division. All topics are presented to me first so that the actual day of the Executive Review is used for goal setting and development.
Ask for a Participatory Staff in Meeting
The staff are a major part of the Executive Review for several reasons. One, there is simply too much information for one person to handle everything on their own. The other is that each Team Leader is responsible for their division in the practice because they know best how their division is performing.
Staff and Doctor All Prepare Materials
Everyone creates their own documents for the review along, sometimes, with PowerPoint slides. The questionnaire given to staff in the middle of November is used to lead topics of discussion. This year we are adding another questionnaire by Transitions Marketing Wiz titled “Walk Around in Your Patient’s Shoes.” It seemed like a very insightful questionnaire that will hopefully allow us to see the office from our patient’s perspective.
Ask Staff to Review Doctor
The final question on the questionnaire is to review the Executive Review and to write down improvements for the next year.In the beginning of November, I review the answers to the questions so that I can accommodate as many requests as possible. This year, I am asking specifically for the team to review me as their leader. I have never directly asked that question, but rather asked it in ways for them to critique the practice performance.
Devote Full Work Day
The actual review is scheduled for the entire work day. It takes place outside of the office so that we are not disturbed by normal patient activity. Plus an off-site location delivers a message of importance to the staff as it makes it more formal. At the end of the day, we typically go out to either a late lunch or early dinner.
At the beginning of this year, the major thing I wanted to work on was to increase annual supply sales of one-day replacement contact lenses. In October, I learned that we succeeded. Our number of boxes sold of one-day replacement contact lenses is now equal to our monthly lenses. This definitely increased revenues immediately for the practice, but it will also increase revenue for next year as these patients return for an exam at a faster rate than other fit modalities of contacts.
Ensure Lessons Get Implemented
There is always great momentum that immediately follows the Executive Review. But in the middle of the year, we have a mid-year review that is much shorter in length in which we summarize our year-to-date stats so we can all see how we are tracking and what we need to do differently to meet our goals.
What Do Lessons Learned and Plans to Be Implemented Mean to Upcoming Marketing Budget?
During the marketing part of the review, we discuss what areas of the budget will be allocated to the different areas of marketing. We have used this method in the past to budget for direct mail pieces. This year, I am putting a breakdown of the practice’s expenses into a pie chart so the staff can see how our revenues are spent.
Executive Review: Take Action to Review Last Year
and Plan Next Year
Go offsite. Meeting away from theoffice signalsto staffa sense ofimportance and formality.
Have a detailed agenda made and stick to it. This meeting is not the time to get sidetracked as it is the planning meeting that will generate brainstorming activities in the future.
Have your team help you. The whole goal of this meeting is to generate a plan, and you want your staff involved in the planning because they will be helping in implementing the plan. Implementation will be more successful if staff members are excited about the practice’s plans.
Just do it. Remember, writing something down makes you 500 percent more likely to accomplish the goal.
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