Are you taking ownership?
This is the “From the President” portion of the private practice journal. I have been contemplating my next step since finishing the DPT. There are many avenues that I would like to enter. I have the skill set in orthopedics and the background knowledge in order to successfully treat this type of condition. I still need to expand my skills regarding vestibular dysfunctions, but at that point I feel that I would have the requisite skills to start or successfully manage a private practice. I am not as interested any more in “just treating patients”. I don’t mean to sound demeaning in this aspect, but as PT, I can affect only one person at a time. As a clinical instructor, I have to ability to affect the future of our profession in terms of their mindset leaving “the program”. As a manager, or better yet a private practice owner, I would have the potential to inspire any or all of the PTs that I am managing. I spoke with Annie O’connor many years ago. (As an aside, you can either support Annie by purchasing her book: A world of hurt, or learn more about her in the interview on the “Mechanical Care Forum”). During my conversation with her, I learned how she helped to build the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago into the powerhouse that it is today. It wasn’t always this way; through perseverance and difficult decisions the hospital became the #1 rehab hospital in America. That is the type of impact that I want to have on the profession and the patients that we serve.
- “Every practice owner knows that the people with whom they surround themselves play heavily into the practices success or failures.”
Again, it has been said that you are an average of the 5 people that you spend your time with. “Spending time”…think about that. When you buy something, you get something in return. You are exchanging your time in return for something…be that time with a loved one, the latest episode of your favorite t.v. show, a new book or hanging around your friends. What are you getting in exchange? Is this making the “boat go faster” (see the episode of Spartan Up in order to understand this reference)?
If we spend our time around people that are of the same level or on a lower rung, professionally, then we have to understand that this will not elevate us professionally. Not that there is anything wrong with spending time with people that don’t elevate us, but don’t watch the “up and comers” such as Kelly Starrett, Quinn Henoch, etc and think “I could do that if I had…”. For a long time, I was satisfied with learning little by little and only affecting the patient or student in front of me…not anymore.
- “We are good at getting them on board, then spending time and money training and molding them into productive team members”
If you work for a company like this…you are either lucky or sought out the opportunity.
If you are a PT, how are you being molded? Are you being molded to give the best patient experience or to charging the most units of treatment? Do you, the “Doctor”, or the aide, at best a graduate without a license, treat the patient best?
- “As private practice owners, we must strive to engage all employees to feel as if they have ownership in the practice”
This goes well beyond the “private practice” realm. I currently work in a suburban hospital. I have a stage in the hospital. If we don’t make money, we won’t have jobs. If I do what is best for the hospital, without sacrificing what is best for my patients, then we will continue to prosper. These two don’t have to be exclusive of each other. When I do what is best for my patients, that in turn can translate to what is best for the hospital. For instance, many years ago I treated a patient that was so satisfied with her treatment that she transferred her medical care from the hospital that she was previously go to for tests and surgical interventions to the hospital that I was employed. Doing right by the patient turned into increased revenue for the hospital. This is how I take ownership of the “practice” (meaning the hospital). If anyone wears the hospital logo, they are part owner and have to treat their career/job as such.
- “Employees need to be heard and recognized”
This is the flip side to the above point. For example, employees have to be charged to act as owners. Owners have to be charged to treat them as such. If we continue to treat employees simply as employees, then they will always act as such. I don’t want an employee. A la Dave Ramsey: “an employee shows up late, leaves early and steals while at work”. Don’t think of steal in the literal sense, but the figurative sense, as in stealing time. Owners will show up to work early, stay late and figure out how to make the business better while there.
- “Empower your employees to do their best. This requires having measureable objectives for each employee and providing steady feedback to them.”
This is huge. Many times we look at “employees” and think that they don’t measure up to our ideal employee. Do we all know what an ideal employee looks like? If not, then that is a problem. How can we gauge a person’s effectiveness at their job if they don’t have a benchmark in which to hit. For instance, my current company recently rolled out a new pay structure. The problem with this is that none of us know how we are being gauged. This is a huge problem. We all think that we are doing a “job well done” and until we are told otherwise I still think I am a rockstar. That’s a problem, because I may be a total screw-up, but until I know what my measurement tool is…I am still a rockstar.
- “Set yourself apart from the competition. People want to work for a winner.”
If the boss isn’t a rockstar, then the boss sets the pace of the company. The boss is always leading and people are always following. If things are not going in the right direction, then leadership will have to reflect in order to determine if they are leading in the wrong direction. The leader is such because the leader will always lead from the front, even when they try to lead from the back. For instance, no one likes a back seat driver, but at the same time we will always do what you do instead of what you say.
My dad is my superman. He is a Vietnam veteran, catcher of thieves, beater of gang bangers and overall super hero. Growing up, we lived on the wrong side of the tracks. Every area has the same tracks it seems like. Some of us grew up on the good side and were always told not to go to the other side of the tracks or viaduct or river or other such landmark. We lived near a prison, and living in Joliet you are almost always near a prison. I can remember my dad picking up a hitchhiker once and almost immediately he said do as I say, not as I do. His actions more so than his words have left a mark.
- “Build loyalty by earning trust, respect, and commitment from your employees”
The boss has to have the same expectations placed upon him/her as he/she places on the employees. “I want to trust my employer, at times, there is enough of a lack of transparency that it is hard to trust the employer.” We’ve all either said this or though this or knew someone who did. This is an issue. The company has to treat the employees as owners, but in the same respect the employees have to deserve the treatment.
Excerpts taken from:
Brown TC. From the President. Impact: Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. 2016;May:5.