Things have changed since the beginning. You are now so wrapped up in the day to day that you’ve lost your North, your purpose, your original destination.
It used not to be this way, but it seems like the practice has lost its focus.
Losing focus was not intentional. You started out with a clear vision, worked out the details and began. You remained disciplined and consistent. You were not distracted easily, you kept an eye on the ball and made sure things were addressed effectively and efficiently.
However, along came bumps on the road, mishaps, unforeseen circumstances, misunderstandings, performance issues, competition, reduction in payments and the vision, the original purpose, got buried.
Now, there is so much stuff going on, so many fires to put out, that you only have time to focus on the immediate, the urgent. No time to step back and re-assess. Not even enough time to align priorities or the important.
IS THIS YOU?
I do not know about you, but we’ve been there as a practice. We’ve felt before as if the practice has lost its north. My guess is that if you practice has been around for some time; you can relate. In fact, whether in the medical field or otherwise, many companies go through similar challenges.
Early in 2008, Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, is on record saying he felt the company had veered off its original path and as a result, he announced he was returning as CEO.
Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in 1995 was motivated by similar reasons. The company had spent the previous 10-years drifting and was on the brink of bankruptcy. The board brought Jobs back to realign the organization and restore it to its original innovated breakthrough company it once was.
HOW TO GET BACK ON TRACK?
Like Rocky Balboa returning to the old neighborhood after being defeated, we thought it was best to go back to the early days of the practice to get us back on track. We went back with the purpose to recall the essence of our practice.
However, merely remembering the old days was not enough. So we took the time to draft questions that would remind us of our north, but also is identify priorities and determine next best steps.
Below you will find 20 questions we wrote to help us gain the clarity and the insight that would lead us back on the correct path.
- In one sentence, what exactly is it that your practice provides (take care of patients is not a valid answer. Dig deeper to find the essence of what your practice offers)?
- Why do you/we come to work every day?
- In one sentence, why do parents bring their kids to the practice?
- If you closed your doors to the practice tomorrow, would anybody notice?
- Who would be most likely to miss you?
- What is one thing that is is preventing your practice to accommodate more patients?
- What is the one thing that is preventing the practice to have a full schedule?
- If you could ask a parent just one question about your practice, what would that question be?
- If your practice’s revenue stream suddenly stopped today, how many days would you have before you run out of money?
- If someone unexpectedly handed you $250,000 what would you do with it?
- If you were forced to hire someone today, who would you hire?
- What would you need to do, to ensure, the new hire contributes enough revenue to cover their expense?
- If you were forced to hire another person tomorrow, who would you hire?
- What was different about the person you had to hire immediately versus the person that you had to hire the next day? In other words, why was the first hire first and not the other way around?
- If you had no choice, which department in your practice would you outsource and why?
- Which employee would make your stomach sink if they gave you a 2-week notice.
- Alternatively, which employee would make you say “yes!” if they gave you their notice?
- If you have two columns on a piece of paper, one labeled urgent, and the other important, what would you write in each column?
- If you could get one solid hour with a guru you respect, what would you discuss?
- How would you define a great day in the office?
- What is it exactly that is preventing you from having a great day, every day, in the office?
I am sure there are many ways to jolt a company back on course, however in my experience, businesses that have lost their way, veered off their mission or forgot their purpose regain it by asking critical questions.
Asking the right questions lead organizations to put their current circumstances into perspective, prioritize issues and determine what is the next-best-step for the organization.
For us, the questions did not answer all of our problems. The questions did not immediately place us back on track. However, they led us to admit things we had been neglecting, brought awareness to the tough decisions we were avoiding and in several instances, helped us decide to abandon projects because they were not in alignment with our practice’s vision.
Can you think of another question that would fit with the list that I have? What would you add? Also, if you experienced something similar, I’d love to hear your story.