Independent practice owners must set targets, speaker Erak Simsson emphasised to practitioners during Sight Care’s regional meetings, which were hosted from Scotland to Exeter.
Encouraging independents to focus on growth “because it helps defeat the competition and retain good people,” he emphasised the value of setting targets.
“It may be number of eye tests that you do, the number of dispenses, or your average dispense price, for example, but you have to have specific targets so that the whole practice team knows what you are aiming for.”
“Once in place, the whole team can move with confidence in the same direction,” he added.
Speaking to OT at the Gatwick event (18 October), Mr Simsson said that Leicester City FC winning the English premiership league was the inspiration for his presentation titled How against incredible odds a winning team can prevail.
“It focuses on the different elements that I believe helped them to achieve that goal, based around a model by Patrick Lencioni on high-performance teams,” he explained.
Mr Simsson said that there were five components to success – results, accountability commitment, conflict and trust.
“If a practice can integrate those within its set up, then it should be able to go on and achieve the results that Leicester City has done against some of the major players like Manchester United and Manchester City,” he told OT.
He told practitioners at the event that teamwork is the ultimate competitive advantage of an independent practice, and highlighted that the concepts apply to every member of the optical team.
“All of them have a role to play in making that business a success, so applying those principles can help them to succeed and forge ahead in the marketplace,” he told OT.
Mr Simsson, who runs his own personal training business in Salisbury, emphasised the importance of accountability so that the goals of the practice “are not purely down to the practice owner.”
“Everybody has a part to play,” he stressed.
Regarding commitment, he urged practice owners to make sure the practice team has clarity about where it is going, so that every team member can commit to that.
He warned that conflict was necessary, but emphasised: “It’s about people being able to disagree with something, to have lively discussion about a particular topic without feeling they are intimidated.”
“It has to come from a place where it’s not mean spirited, where people can speak up without fear,” he added and advised: “Be open about mistakes.”
He told practitioners that there were two types of trust – ‘predictable trust,’ such as the practice owner trusting staff to turn up on time, and ‘trust from vulnerability.’ “This is where a team member is able to say, ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I’m not sure,’ or ‘can you help me out?’ That ethos has to be developed by the leader of the team,” he concluded.
Sight Care chief executive, John French, told OT: “Establishing and maintaining a high performance team is not easy in a small business. People are our greatest resource so it makes sense to invest in the practice team.”
He added: “Independents that build and sustain a winning team see their businesses grow year-on-year, with low staff attrition, high patient loyalty and above average patient referrals, which sets them apart from the competition.”
The regional meetings were held by Sight Care in 10 cities during the first three weeks of October and were attended by over 300 independent practice owners and staff.
Sight Care’s next major event is its annual business conference for independents, Independent not alone, which will take place at the Hilton Metropole Birmingham on 26–27 February 2017.
For more information, visit the Sight Care website.