By Vince Zingaro, OD
March 16, 2022
I have always valued physical fitness because it is intimately connected with our mental and overall well-being. I ran track and cross-country at the collegiate level and have continued to pursue physical challenges since then to improve my psychological and physical health. Physical training, specifically running, has had an enormous impact on my creativity, ability to solve problems and manage stress.
There are similarities between running and upgrading your practice’s performance. Here are three ideas to think about as you lead your team toward a better patient experience and greater profitability.
In the days and weeks before a race, I would visualize winning. I was just beginning this practice toward the end of my college career and have since improved my technique. It is amazing to see the results play out in real time when you have rehearsed winning in your mind before you hit the track.
I didn’t win every race, but I have no doubt this practice had a huge role in improving my physical performance. The same applies to your office. If you can take 60 seconds, in a quiet place, preferably as you’re waking up in the morning, and visualize what a successful day looks like, you may be surprised at how it plays out in your practice. Be as detailed as possible. Imagine what it feels like at the end of the day when you have helped patients and overcome the obstacles in your business plan.
This kind of mindset will change the way your staff and patients interact with you in a way that will have a positive impact on them and the practice. Positivity tends to snowball as it gains momentum. You may not achieve every milestone you visualized, but you will undoubtedly note an improvement in your office.
Growth Happens with Maximum Effort
When we trained in summer and fall for cross-country running, the workouts consisted of a mix of both speed and endurance training. The endurance training was manageable because we could go at our own pace, logging in miles to build our slow twitch muscles. The speed workout was the one we dreaded! Sprints at different intervals with short periods of rest done over 10 sets. Our lungs burned as we gasped for air. At the end of these workouts, our muscles were sore and it was sometimes painful just to get up and down stairs. It was a good pain though. With this maximum effort comes growth – building muscles for better speed at longer distances.
If you want to make significant growth in your office, you need to put in this kind of effort. Do the things you don’t necessarily want to do, but need to be done. Increasing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as capture rate for contact lenses, doesn’t happen without sometimes having tough conversations with your staff. Similar to running at full speed for 200 meters several times over, you may want to avoid it, but it must be done to make your practice stronger.
I identify areas that need the most improvement in the practices where I work and attack those areas with maximum effort. With a focused effort, we increased sales of contact lens annual supplies by nearly 20 percent in two of my previous offices. Lean into the obstacles at your office and embrace the “pain” to crush your goals.
If you have ever attempted a 5K race, you have probably seen the runner who blasts out of the starting line at full force. If you’ve witnessed this, you also know how short-lived is this runner’s glory before falling to the back of the pack. You need to maintain a solid pace to have a shot at victory. Everything must be in sync, including your breathing and arm movement.
It’s important to be in sync with your office staff as you incorporate your business plans. I worked in several different practice locations over the last few years, and have a passion for daily disposable, multifocal contact lenses. When I started at each office, they weren’t fitting many of these lenses.
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I found that when I gathered the staff to educate them on multifocal contacts and how they benefit our patients, our revenue in this modality shifted dramatically. They shared the same enthusiasm for helping our presbyopic population as I had and we increased contact lens revenue by up to 30 percent in some instances. If I had gone at this alone, without energizing my staff, they would not have helped me identify good candidates for multifocals or reinforced the value of these lenses for our patients. We wouldn’t have reached our full potential without working together.
There isn’t anything mind-blowing in any of the above concepts. They’re pretty simple. Running is just putting one foot in front of the other. What separates good runners from average runners is the ability to do the little things well. The same applies to your office.
Small changes over time can lead to big results. Consider these ideas, which running taught me, before your next staff meeting and incorporate them as you see fit to elevate your office and run past your competition.