How a business is managed is directly related to its level of success. Without proper management, companies tend to be chaotic and inefficient. Although management skills are critical, medical school doesn’t heavily focus on them.
With multiple successful eye care businesses, I’ve learned a thing or two about business management. Here are five lessons that have helped us in our journey.
- Tools for Success. Your processes must set you and your managers up to succeed. Often when someone shows excellent technical skill, we recognize their talents and efforts by promoting them to a management position. This role presents individuals with a completely different challenge, so it is crucial to have effective systems in place that help them do their job to the best of their ability.
- Know Your Role. Each manager within an organization plays a role in helping the business as a whole achieve its strategic goals. This is true whether management understands the part they play or not. By explaining how a manager’s efforts affect the company as whole, you help them see the big picture. They understand their importance in supporting the success of everyone. This approach creates broad spectrum thinkers, rather than staff members who are simply checking boxes on a to-do list.
- Change is Good. By creating leaders who can see the practice from a bird’s eye view, you can encourage innovation. Management (and all staff members for that matter) should always look for ways to improve. At my practices, we encourage managers to research and test new methods of doing things. The only way to create progress is through change. Stagnant approaches to running a business rarely lead to long-term, sustainable success. Inviting and supporting this sort of critical thinking from your managers is key to running an improvement-oriented organization.
- Focus on People. As I discussed earlier, new managers usually come into their roles with a wealth of technical expertise, but often personnel management skills must be learned along the way. When training your management team, be sure to emphasize the people-focused components of the job, such as how to interview, hire, document, reprimand/re-direct, enhance performance, etc. Without these tools, managers’ potential to help others succeed is severely diminished. Remember, people are your company’s greatest asset!
- Teach and Talk Money. While middle managers may be responsible for keeping up with their department’s budget, they often don’t understand how those numbers fit into the company’s finances as a whole. Without an understanding of how their department’s costs are affecting the practice’s bottom line, managers don’t really think about the cost of their decisions. I recommend discussing the company’s financial statements with management. Again, it’s beneficial to everyone when middle management leaders can see how their department fits into the machine.
While these skills aren’t emphasized in medical school, they are critical to the health of your private practice. To learn more about how you can improve your business, order a copy of my book One Patient at a Time.