I try to have office retreats twice each year and I have had a number of opportunities to facilitate retreats for other practices. My point is I have been to a lot of planning retreats for optometry practices. And I feel compelled to tell you that the one we had with my team last week was probably the best one I ever ever attended. I always de-brief after a retreat and look for ways to make it better next time. So I am asking myself now, what made this one so good?
Location: We found the greatest spot to have a retreat and lucky for us, it is in our backyard. The environment was beautiful, there were many activities available for us and the facilities had everything we needed. It is a new sporting resort in our area and has jumped to the top of our list for retreat locations. I am even looking at family activities out there. They have horses and fishing and ATV's and bicycles and hiking and horseshoes and I don't know what else.
The location is 30 minutes from the Atlanta airport so if you ever host a meeting where people fly in, this place has my full endorsement. It will be the location of the first ever LeadershipOD conference.
Oh, it is called Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club.
Weather: It was perfect. Sunny, 72 degrees and low humidity in Georgia. I will plan for that next time.
Guest speaker: Dr. Jason Miller from Ohio happened to be in town doing some lectures for Alcon. I asked my rep, Larry Savage, if he would bring him by and they both said "Yes." If you have ever heard Dr. Miller speak, you know how talented he is. He graciously allowed us to present to him our findings from the morning and asked him how to fix it. An outside expert is always a plus. We owe Dr. Miller and "Larry the Contacts Guy" a big thanks.
The BluePrint: My office is the first one to repeat the BluePrint program. The first time we went through the program, it was the Beta test. We have made many improvements, but still a lot of it is the same. Currently, we are in Week 6 - Responsibility Grid. We had such a head start, because the entire team has been contributing to the retreat for the previous 6 weeks.
I was able to say, "Here are your responses to the survey in Week 1," and "These are the goals we set early in the program." Much of a retreat is compiling thoughts and we had already done that. (We will be looking at our recommendations about following up on the BluePrint with an Office Retreat.)
Plus Week 6 of the BluePrint is Contact Lens Week and Larry got to take a look at that.
The Best Staff is our History: I honestly believe that right now we have the best team of professionals in optometry. We know that we have a lot to learn and a long way to go but we are determined to learn it and to get there. Right now, we have the right people and they are in the right seats.
We re-dedicated to excellence: I led a very frank discussion with the premise that maybe we are making this too hard. Maybe all this work to be better is not worth the trouble. There are a lot of mediocre practices that seem to do just fine. (There is always a risk when you take a group down this road.) I said, "We could just see a few more people, take care of them quicker, give them the minimum, and quit with all this extra stuff."
But our collective stance was summed up by a brilliant comment from Aerial, who has been with us for just one year. She said, "You might see more people, but it doesn't mean you are taking care of them." She is exactly right.
Practice: Maybe it's like playing piano or baseball, you just get better when you do the same thing over and over.
Thanks for reading this and I hope it doesn't sound to much like I am tooting my own horn, but this is really exciting for me.
Truly yours, Mike
P.S. Dr. Bazan is not giving up. He sent me a very well-thought out retort about our Facebook article. I will share that with you soon. I am still recommending the Marketing Calculator to find balance in your marketing strategy.