The ever-present change in the hearing care industry shows no signs of slowing. Is this a cause for concern — or a chance to embrace opportunity?
Understanding Why We Do What We Do
Many private-practice owners are worried and struggle to find the courage to continue on in their practice. Some are even considering selling.
But the unknown has played a part in our industry for many years. Our profession, technology, and consumers keep evolving. It’s natural to ask yourself, “Am I keeping pace? Can I stay relevant at this stage in my career?”
Mustering the courage to plow ahead requires a step back. You need to find a strong foundation for that courage. Why do you show up and do what you do each and every day? Do you truly understand — at your core — why you serve your community the way you do?
Before you can take action to do something even bigger than you did yesterday, you have to know what drives you. But then what?
Understanding Your Role as a Leader
A business doesn’t simply grow because of a plan or some slick execution. It really comes down to whether you have alignment between the business objectives and the foundation of your organization — your people and your teams.
To create that alignment, you need to understand your role and responsibilities as a leader —not as management, not as a business owner, but as a leader.
That means unifying your team before setting professional expectations. Understand the goals, at an individual level, of each member of the team. Find out what drives them personally, professionally, and financially.
Not everyone is motivated by the same things. If I, as a leader, simply approach the team and bark out, “Growth percentage expectations this, flow that, conversion threshold KPIs over there, here are new targets,” most likely, it won’t resonate with the team.
But you can start culturally, creating a foundation where your team is naturally ready to embrace opportunities for growth. Don’t start with the operational and the financial expectations.
Knowing What Really Drives Your Team Members
How can you truly get buy-in? Sit down with them and have a conversation — not necessarily a meeting — and paint a picture of what success looks like to you, what you want the practice to represent in the community and as a legacy. Then ask them about their goals and how they see themself growing as a team member.
Really listen and try to understand their aspirations and what drives them. Then discuss what you can do to support them at the highest level. How can the practice better invest in them as they invest in you?
As you have those conversations — without any algorithms, without any data, without any KPIs — you may be amazed at their level of authenticity and sincerity. They’ll recognize that the practice’s growth can help them achieve things that are important to them. You’ll be amazed at the good ideas they have when you ask them to share opportunities they see for practice growth, because they themselves live it, breathe it, and do it every day.
Bringing It Together in the Day-to-Day
Drawing on John Maxwell’s “Law of the Lid” idea, a strong approach is viewing a business as having three lids, or maximum levels of effectiveness, and the more you elevate your lids, the more growth you’ll experience.
Establish a high level of belief in your team about what is possible — not what’s realistic, not simply what’s been done before, but what’s still possible in your community and marketplace. Ideally, you should establish a belief lid in your team members that approaches the inspirational.
Operational effectiveness lid
You and your team should really consider what next-level operational effectiveness looks like. What does it look like to push the envelope in your processes, marketing, finances, even the patient experience? You know what good looks like — that’s the level you’ve been operating at (hopefully). But to achieve more, you have to understand what the next level of operational excellence looks like in action.
This is about what you’re willing to commit to, regardless of your role in the organization. What kind of accountability, discipline, and support are you willing to provide that demonstrate your other two high lid levels? But beyond that, you take a good hard look at how you can create opportunities for everyone to grow, not just yourself.
Seizing New Opportunities
Our industry is going through unprecedented change and innovation, and it’s an exceptional thing to be a part of. Why? Because it’s a rare opportunity to be in the driver’s seat influencing that change.
You have a choice: You can show up to work and resign yourself to everything being the same as the day or week before — or you can take this opportunity and define your path, not one someone else will define for you. Be two steps ahead and proactive, not two steps behind and reactive.
How? There are three core ingredients for being able to grow, drive, and, in return, influence change.
- People are first. As already discussed, you have to create a culture in which your people truly are in lockstep with your purpose. That starts with understanding their goals and how you can best support them. But it’s not a one-time thing — it’s a continual process.
- Your secret sauce is second. What do you do extremely well? Knowing your purpose will point you directly to what’s unique about your practice in your market. Know and focus on that core ingredient, that secret sauce that is associated with you being able to achieve great results. Build your strategy around this.
- Execution is third. You know what drives your team and what their goals are. You have a strategy built on your secret ingredient. Now focus on flawless execution.
Looking for an outside-the-box way to weather industry storms?
Know When to Pivot and When to Stay the Course
Your annual planning process is still crucial. You want to have that deep dive and assess the organization one time a year and revisit your longer forecasts, asking, “Do we want to modify or tweak anything based on our annual?”
But you have to pay attention to the needs of your team members almost daily. Ensure you’re staying on top of industry changes as well, to remain proactive about trends and patient needs. Cultivate this awareness and commitment to constant innovation, in the sense that you’re always assessing whether you’re still meeting the expectations of the patient. And that requires maintaining a daily and weekly — not quarterly or yearly — understanding of your data, metrics, and key performance indicators.