Like it or not, it all starts with you. You set the tone, culture and ultimately the success of the practice. We are going to cover four leadership skills that you have or need to develop in order to have a smooth running practice. The investment in time to get clear on these skills is going to make your life much easier in the future. The biggest monthly expense for most practices is payroll, so it is critical to invest time in developing a team that functions well, whether you are there or not.
In Simon Sinek’s groundbreaking book, Start with Why, he introduces the concept of the “Golden Circle.” He hypothesizes that the most successful leaders and companies connect the What, How and Why of a company and this connection inspires both team members and patients. I’m sure you know what you are going to do. This may be to provide aesthetic procedures like Botox®, fillers, and/or tattoo removal procedures. If you have attended any training, or have done research, you will most likely know how you are going to do it—you will use a laser to remove tattoos, or RF energy to tighten lax skin. But why are you doing it? It’s not to make money, since that is a byproduct of your why. You need to be very clear on why you are getting into aesthetics, and this why needs to motivate and inspire your team to follow you and direct your patients to come to your practice. My guess is that having a purpose of “making money so I can buy a bigger house” is not going to motivate your team members to follow you or patients to buy from you!
Your purpose should revolve around making a positive difference in peoples’ lives. How can you make their lives better? Can you improve their self-esteem by improving what bothers them on their face or body? Why does doing what you do matter?
Let’s be clear though, money is critical if you want to operate a successful business and make a difference. Without profits from your practice, you will not be able to invest in newer equipment, support your local economy with taxes and jobs, and reach your financial goals. As Jim Collins wrote in Built to Last, “Profitability is a necessary condition for existence and a means to more important ends, but it is not the end in itself for many of the visionary companies. Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.”
When developing your purpose, keep in mind that it shouldn’t change. Your business operations, procedures and/or unique selling propositions will all change, but your core purpose should not. Your purpose is not your marketing campaign; it is like a guiding star in the sky, directing you to the final location, which by the way, you never get to. When it comes down to the basics, your purpose should not only guide you and your team but also inspire them every day they come to work. This inspiration will translate into the way they interact with patients, and those positive interactions will generate more happy patients who will return and tell their friends. This cycle is the key to an enduring and profitable medical practice.
Your purpose needs to be deeply internal for you and your practice.
In his book, The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni says, “Employees in every organization, and at every level, need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational.” This is a great point. Why you exist must matter to your team; otherwise, they will work to their own personal agenda, which is often just doing the bare minimum to get a paycheck. You don’t want people who are only working for a paycheck working for you.
In a Harvard Business Review article, “Happiness Traps” (How we sabotage ourselves at work),” author, Annie McKee says, “Humans are wired to seek meaning in everything we do, whether we’re sitting in an office, hiking the mountains, or eating dinner with the family. Passion for a cause fuels energy, intelligence, and creativity.” I think these are all traits we want with our team. Annie goes on to say, “Purpose is a powerful driver of workplace happiness.” I think we can all agree that we want happy team members!
Richard Branson says, “You need to explain your company’s purpose and outline expectations for internal and external clients alike. Make it unique to your company, make it memorable, keep it real, and, just for fun, imagine it on the bottom of a coat of arms.”
Your purpose should be used in team meetings to guide conversations toward making constant improvements. For example, if your purpose was to “improve the self-esteem of our patients,” you could ask your team for ideas on how they can do that. “How can we improve the self-esteem of ten new patients we haven’t met before?”
Questions to Stimulate Finding Your Purpose
- Why does your practice exist?
- What difference do you want to make in your patients’ lives?
- What difference do you want to make in your team members’ and their families’ lives?
- What difference do you want to make in your community?
- If you closed down, would anyone miss you?
Your team will be much more motivated and engaged when they have a clear purpose to align to, one that gives real meaning to their role at the clinic. Ultimately, your practice’s purpose will give them a reason to get out of bed in the morning beyond simply getting a paycheck.
Do you have a clear and compelling Why that reminds your team of how meaningful their jobs are to them and to the patients they serve?
Your purpose may act as a unique differentiator, but that should not be the basis of your purpose.
You should also be deeply passionate about your purpose; if it is going to keep you motivated day in and day out, you want to make sure this is something you really believe in. Your purpose should come from something deep inside of you.
For more detailed tips and steps on how to develop your practice’s purpose, you can check out Jeff’s latest book, Secrets to a Successful Practice available now on Amazon or attend the Secrets to a Successful Practice Workshop at an upcoming Aesthetic Medicine Symposium.