Is your practice mission statement displayed on your wall for patients to see? Maybe not.

Practice mission statement displayed on your wall for patients to see? Maybe not. Personal practice leadership mantra? Absolutely! For those of you living the blessing of leading a practice, it’s likely that at some point in your career you’ve momentarily lost focus. There have probably been those points in time when the phrase “what am I doing here?!” entered your mind. Heck, if you’re like me it’s possible that your mind travels there a few times before lunch most days!

We all feel overwhelmed, discouraged, unprepared or unqualified at some point in time. If the idea that ‘I went to school to be an eye doctor, not manage a practice’ ever creeps into your head, you’re not alone. One of the greatest keys to success though is remembering that truly incredible practice management is like a cross-country road trip: it takes time. Bumps happen. Sometimes you get lost or turned around.

Occasionally accidents occur. But in the end, you’ll get where you want to go as long as you remember where you’re going along the way.

Step #1: Wake Up

Start each day by waking up. And no, I’m not just talking about the physical act of rising from bed (although that is a pretty important first step!).

When you lead an organization you have to show up each day awake, present, ready to actively participate. You have to take a moment each morning to think through the day ahead.

Leaders have got to check their personal problems at the door. They have to remind themselves daily that they set the tone for the practice and that they are looked to for direction.

Most importantly, waking up is appreciating the incredible opportunity that you’ve been given to shape how eye care changes lives in your community. Realize that the choices you make that day matter and that your practice culture is a reflection of who you choose to be. Be intentional each day about truly waking up.

Step #2: Kick Ass

If you’re going to lead a practice then there’s really no other way to do it than to kick ass! I’m certainly not advocating that you get into physical altercations, but even if I was the first rule of fight club would prevent me from talking about it here.

Seriously though, carry out determined, proactive and driven practice leadership. Every single one of us will fail. We will all have upset patients, disgruntled employees, and frustrating vendors.

Kicking ass in practice leadership means realizing that you have control over pretty much nothing. However, the few things you do control are your attitude and reaction to all of those ‘uncontrollables’. Choose to be a rock that the waves simply crash upon. With time all they do is make you better!

Anything in your practice that you don’t put your heart and soul into will end up reflecting that in the end. If the staff you surround yourself with matters to you, then kick ass at recruitment and retention.

If the quality of the jobs out of your optical matters to you, then kick ass at ensuring solid quality control measures are in place. If it matters to you at all then choose to dominate it, and if it doesn’t then find someone to do it that it does matter too. Kicking ass can be delegated and it is absolutely contagious. Lead each day in your practice simply by kicking its ass.

Step #3: Repeat

Practice leadership is a never-ending task. Once you take the reigns…you’re in there like swimwear! Learn from failures and develop repetition of successes. Go home and reflect on how you impacted your practice each day.

Appreciate all of the many ways that your role as an eye care physician and a practice leader served others. The worst thing you can do is to get lulled to sleep over time.

Complacency is the killer of improvement and innovation. The old saying of if you’re not trying you’re dying is so true in the life of an optometric practice. Repeating starts with having a clear vision of who you are and of what you want your practice to be. Returning to that vision each day is the only way to gauge if the choices you’re making will get you there. Most importantly, if you ever find yourself in a place of simply ‘wake up & repeat’…make an immediate change!

Remember practice leaders: Wake up. Kick Ass. Repeat!