Insights From Our Editors

“Whole-Ass One Thing at a Time”

By Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO

Creativity and innovation. Serious hard working nice colleagues looking at their sketches and looking for new ideas while sitting around the table

April 19, 2023

The great Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation told Leslie Knope, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.”

My son and practice partner, Eric Hammond, OD, reminded me of this quote when I was putting together a lecture on implementation of business changes and improvements. Implementation is hard to do in an optometric office. I feel like our office is pretty good at implementation, but it is still difficult. I make it more difficult because I try to implement too many things at one time. My son is good at reminding me to: “whole ass one thing, Mom!”

I used to get together with my team, or part of my team, to brainstorm ideas, troubleshoot what could go wrong and all get on the same page. I would then say, “Let’s do it!”

A month or two later I would ask how it is going only to find out it either didn’t even get started, or ran into a hiccup and was abandoned. What the heck??

Looking in the mirror to see the problem, I came to realize that the problem was me. There were often multiple issues I did not deal with to be able to implement a new idea well. Here are four things I probably didn’t do when the plans or changes I wanted were not implemented:

  1.  Troubleshooting what could go wrong with the right people. Running a new idea by the right people, including the ones who find fault with new projects, is essential.
  2. Creating a step-by-step game plan and defining who is responsible for what.
  3. Communicating with the entire team about the “What we are doing and more importantly, WHY we are implementing something new?”
  4. Most importantly, to make myself a reminder to check in with the appropriate people to see how it is going! I create a repetitive task on my Google calendar, but sometimes I create scheduled messages to the appropriate people as a reminder. So, I might schedule a “How is it going?” to go out in three days, then one week later, then two weeks later, and then one month later.

Steps for Implementation

  1. What is the “What” and the “Why”?
  2. Troubleshoot potential issues
  3. Decide who is responsible for what
  4. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

Laurie Sorrenson, OD, FAAO, is president of Lakeline Vision Source in Cedar Park, Texas, and the Professional Editor of Review of Optometric Business (ROB). To contact her:

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