While the strategies for success on the golf course or in your practice may not appear similar at first glance, take a closer look and the synergies will surprise you!
The golf was on the telly the other day. It’s one of those games you either understand or you don’t. Some can pick up a club and belt the ball hundreds of metres. The rest of us, to varying degrees, try hard and wonder what went wrong.
The detail and game play of golf appeals to me and I try it every five years or so when I have forgotten what a disaster it was last time. By the third hole the memories come flooding back but it’s too late to back out. However, these are my issues.
Before I fell asleep I was thinking how much running an optometry practice is like golf. Let me explain, there are some interesting insights.
Your purpose in training is to make your A-game your default setting, so when the proverbial hits the fan it’s all you and your team know…
It’s All About You
Both golf and practice management are about you. You win and lose a game of golf in your hands and your head.
It’s very easy to look around and find a reason why your practice isn’t where you’d want it to be, but in the end it’s also in your hands and head. It’s what you do with your resources, your staff, your patients and your time and money that will determine your success. If you are the best you will win.
Success lies in the detail. Club balance, grip size, shoe fit, all play a part in building a major golf win and practice management is no different.
How about this… like golf, in optometry it even matters what shoes you wear. The profession of Optometry is about detail and excellence in practice management is exactly the same. The big picture is important but what you say and do, and how you treat your patient in the next five minutes, is the main game. Victory can be lost next time you hit the ball. To be the best, you need every part of your practice in tune.
Practice, Training and Reflection
Nothing replaces practice and training. Even if you are the best, there are plenty of others after your title. Hours invested in developing an understanding of what will win the game will pay when the going gets tough. Your purpose in training is to make your A-game your default setting, so when the proverbial hits the fan it’s all you and your team know. A good coach doesn’t hurt either.
It matters who you play with. Having the right people on your team can make a difference to your perspective and play. It won’t hurt your game to see how the other guy is doing, to learn from experience, see a new club in action, and share useful information about the course.
Know your home course intimately. While it’s going to be harder off your local patch, the better you know the ups and downs, the traps and hazards of your own practice and region, the bigger advantage you will have over some guy in a Sydney or Melbourne office making decisions about the practice competing with you. And isn’t there plenty to know. I have played on a few golf courses and there is world of difference between the public course up the road and the Hyatt Coolum. A game fault on one can be a virtue on another.
Walk the course before you play. Think about how you will play it and what might be the important success factors. Write down what you will do and make notes about how you want to approach the game and what should happen and when. This is just as important in practice management. Take some time to work out where the bunkers are and the distance to that useful slope into the hole. Keep the plan uppermost in your mind and share it with those who need to know.
Be sure you have the right kit for the job at hand. Sometimes new equipment can change your state of mind, but it also important to have the right selection in the bag. Each patient is a new challenge and without the right options to suit their needs and wants your practice will always struggle to make par. Always be on the lookout for new things that can give you an edge, but never forget the biggest advantage you have over your competitors is between your ears.
Be prepared and have a good umbrella and wet weather gear. A bit of planning can save a lot of grief if the unexpected does occur and we get a change for the worse. Just when you think it’s going so well it can all come unstuck in a big way. Just ask Tiger.
Finally don’t forget to sit down quietly at the end of the day and reflect on the lessons to be learned. Make a few notes about changes and resolve to be a bit better tomorrow than you were today, even if you are the best.
Mark Overton is a professional consultant with an academic background in science and business. He has 29 years experience working in both the public and private sectors. Contact Mark on P: (AUS) 0409 233 901 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org