What You Must Do Before You Try to Improve Your Practice
Updated: Apr 12, 2022
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
Too often, we stop doing what worked and yet wonder why our business isn't doing as well as it had in the past.
When I would visit an office that wanted to improve, I would initially ask them what they were doing when the office was performing better?
The staff and doctors would pause, think, and gradually, the answers would begin. "Well, we used to call the new patient after the first adjustment…" "We used to have a radio program…" "We used to send out birthday cards… "We used to …."
After each answer, I would ask, "Well, are you doing that now? The answer was usually "no."
If business is improving, if the scoreboard shows that you are having a winning season, why stop doing what is working?
Keep doing what works!
This may seem obvious. It is. But we all fail at this one time or another, so it bears repeating.
What keeps us from continuing to do those things that are most successful? Boredom, staff turnover, or a momentary crisis when many procedures get washed overboard.
All offices suffer from what I call Procedural Atrophy – a gradually wearing away of what works. The result is only the very minimal procedures that keep the doors open are performed. Progress exams are no longer done, and the front desk no longer smiles when answering the phone.
The Goals Achieve Process – Now You Can Improve
You want to improve your business – provide better service, increase revenue, decrease stress.
But first, ensure that you are still doing what you were doing when you were doing well. Keep applying your successful procedures!
THEN, make improvements.
Various organizational processes are used in large companies that entail a sophisticated method of improvement, sometimes called Kaizen, Six Sigma, and Lean. Kaizen is a Japanese process developed by an American, but you can earn a "Black Belt" in Six Sigma. (I know. Confusing! People get paid big bucks for this stuff!) We have a very simple improvement process called the Goals Achievement Process outlined below.
1. Review your numbers for the last few years.
2. Notice when you were doing better.
3. Make a list of the procedures, projects, and policies that were successful then.
4. Also, include the level of your motivation and your attitude, and what you were
doing to keep you inspired during those times.
5. Get the successful procedures on checklists for your team to implement and
ensure they are done again.
6. Assign your manager to ensure that these procedures stay in place.
7. Do a version of this each month, over and over.
a. Review what worked and what didn't the prior month.
b. Check what procedures weren’t done or done well, or need to be
improved, or discontinued
c. Make a 4-6 step plan for the new month to improve those areas that need
8. Optional: Use a professional coach/consultant to help you keep everything on
track and improving!
9. Also, read The Goal Driven Business.
In an entrepreneurial practice (the Personality Driven Practice), the owner is good at using their creative energy to get things started. And while this burst of energy is essential to start a business, it usually doesn't continue once the "newness" wears off. So, they go in search of a new "shiny thing" to implement or try in their Practice.
A Goal Driven and systematized business works both creatively and methodically to become expert at doing the same procedures over and over, each time as if it was the first time. There is a vast difference between the amateur or serial entrepreneur and the expert who is still training and working to improve.
As Clarence Gonstead said: "Practice. Practice. Practice. Never stop."
Stay on the Rails
It helps to think of your business as a train. You gradually build up speed and momentum. Keep doing what is working and keep it on the rails. Then, improve it.
Have a great week!
A new review for the book The Goal Driven Business:
A MUST-READ FOR ANY BUSINESS OWNER!
Throughout the years of my Practice, Ed has helped coach our staff and change our thinking from "personality" driven to "goal" driven - allowing my office to stay open and profitable whether I am here or taking time off!
This book is so easy to understand and gives you real steps to take now in your business. I highly recommend this book to anyone who currently owns a business, is thinking about owning a business, or is a manger of a business!
Donna Brown, D.C.
Business Owner, Group Practice