There is a book by Jim Collins: “How the Mighty Fall” published in 2009. Amazon has a 4 star rating from 109 reviews. What makes this book interesting to me is he looks at how really good companies become complacent and loose their edge. He points out 5 stages of decline, depending on where a company detects the decline it can be reversible. Even though Mr. Collins looks at large companies, very small ones need to take this information to heart as well. Ray Katz, editor of Have You Heard? here at HHTM, has written a series of articles on the business of running a private practice, and reminds us to watch and review our companies regularly.
With both of these examples I use, yes we need to have Core Values, as I mentioned in a previous post – Core Values: Need an Update? – but there is a need to review and know when to update. Mr. Collins states that the troubled companies had good core values, but were too strict in following them and were not flexible enough to change when needed. “When needed” is the key here, don’t change for change sake, but be aware and prepared for the right reasons.
An example I have from my offices happened close to 10 years ago. Prior to that time I was able to work people in if there were little issues with their aids. But as the business grew there was less flexible time. We instituted “Walk In Hours” from 11:30 to 1, we all took staggered lunches (not out of the office) and people could come in for anything that did not require sit down time with one of the audiologists. There are days we have close to 15 people, and it took close to a year to train us all (patients still want to drop by no matter what the time of day), but in the long run it has helped our schedule and our patient satisfaction. Patients (or clients how ever you want to designate them) do not need to wait for their issue to be resolved.