If you’re just starting out, your rookie physical therapy practice may not have as much business metric data as your more senior counterparts. But that’s okay, because you’ve got something that they don’t: The opportunity to create a metric-centric culture from the start. And that’s huge. Not only do you want the business metrics themselves, but you also want the culture that supports a constantly improving mode of operation. (Now, this isn’t to say that clinics that have been around the block a few times can’t establish this type of culture—it just might be a little more challenging.) That being said, let’s get started. Here are five ways to create the metric-centric culture you want:
1. Set a good example.
As an owner, director, manager, or lead therapist, all eyes are on you—and everyone else is going to take their cues based on how you act, so lead by example. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your followers’ trust. If you want your staff to believe in the power of the metric, you should, too. Measure your processes, analyze the findings, and then tweak everything appropriately. Re-measure, and start again. If you make it a priority—in your words and your actions—others will follow suit.
2. Be willing to change course.
As I mentioned in a previous post, you shouldn’t get stuck in metrics that are no longer beneficial to you or your practice. If you do, you’ll end up sounding like a broken record, and your once-inspired team will start to dread metrics because they’ll seem like a lot of work with very little payoff. Instead, constantly evaluate the impact of your metrics, and disregard them the minute they no longer serve your practice. Trust me, tasking a staff member with tracking the revenue generated from a dormant Yellow Page ad is going to generate more resentment than appreciation.
3. Take action based on your findings.
Once you’ve measured a specific metric, take action based on your findings. Metrics won’t serve you if you’re not using them to constantly strive for something better—and your staff won’t see how using metrics to set goals will help you actually achieve them. Now, that doesn’t mean that every time you notice a slight change in one of your measurements, you have to take some extreme action to compensate. Instead, make a small tweak and measure again. Then repeat. (I love the subtitle of this metrics article: “Only measure what you mean to act upon.”)
4. Celebrate your progress.
Want people to share your vision? Make it fun! Celebrate your team’s successes—no matter how small. Get everyone involved in every step of the process and don’t sweat it when tweaks produce less-than-ideal results. Tweak something else, and then measure it again. A good leader (metric-centric or otherwise) is able to choose perspectives—what the author of this article refers to as, “zoom in, zoom out”—to focus on the big picture and the small details without getting bogged down by either. A constantly improving way of life—or business—is a long-term goal, not a short-term one, so there are bound to be some ups and downs along the way.
As Brooke Andrus writes in this article, it also doesn’t hurt to turn this sort of thing into a game—one that “reinforces your company culture and rewards those who embody your cultural values.”
5. Hire like-minded people.
Speaking of embodying your cultural values, the best way to ensure you create the culture you want is to hire people who embody your cultural values. In this article, Charlotte Bohnett explains that new hires whose personal culture aligns with your business’s “live up to expectations faster.” She continues on to say that, “If a new hire shares your values and understands how the business operates, he or she can adapt more easily.” In other words, he or she will “swim rather than sink—and…start swimming sooner.”
What else could you—or do you already—do in your practice to create or maintain a metric-centric culture? Tell us in the comments section below.