Culture Truly Is Everything
As a clinic owner you probably know that a Great Team Culture is important for business growth.
You’re normally faced with some troublesome team members who challenge every change you make or never seem to follow through on what you ask of them.
The trouble is that most clinic owners don’t know where to begin with defining or transforming their culture.
What do you think when you hear those words? “Great team culture”.
Do you think of Google.
Do you think bean bags and table tennis?
Do you think a team of people hanging out after work and loving each others company?
Do you think of 1%’ers, hard work, the extra bits and staying back late?
Team Culture is almost ethereal… a unicorn…
or to quote one of the greatest movies of our time, Hot Tub Time Machine…
“The Great White Buffalo”
In this article, i’m going to share with you our real and initially unsuccessful story of changing our clinic, to now, and how we’ve transformed our team culture and improved our business results massively.
My Experience Transforming Team Culture in Private Practice
I’ve been thinking a lot about culture at iMove Physiotherapy.
Where we started from. Where we are now. How we got here.
The contradiction between ‘the feel’ of team culture and the practicality of making team culture;
Team Culture, to me, was all ‘feeellzz’’.
A thought, a vibe, a feeling, an indescribable magic in the air.
So for a very logical minded INTJ it was hard to process how we get a great team culture and what steps we needed to take.
I’m here to tell you there are very practical, logical and thought out ways to get great team culture.
In fact team culture can be systemised.
The Start of Great Team Culture for iMove
One year ago we held a team culture retreat.
We got every single person’s individual goals, listened fully and documented everything.
The iMovers felt great. We felt great.
The vibe was good…. for about 3 weeks.
What went wrong? We read the books. We listened.
We got heartfelt stories and barriers and things we need to work on and we were vulnerable DAMMIT! Man we’re we vulnerable…
The fact is… it was a great start, but we didn’t re-visit those goals, check in weekly, nurture towards a 3 month check point.
We just had them.
So very quickly everyone went back into the day to day grind without getting that ‘something more’ that we were trying to offer.
So very quickly, the ethereal idea of achieving what you want at the workplace left us…
Finding Our Way
We needed to be honest, team culture is a full time job. Here are some steps we took;
Step 1 of 7
It wasn’t possible for us, as business owners, to be seeing patients, running the business and developing 11 people’s lives… we had to step away from the business and structure for culture.
Step 2 of 7
We kept google keep ‘notes’ on each employees goals that was easily accessible by both parties with check boxes along the way.
Step 3 of 7
Weekly 20-minute chats only focussed on life goals or side projects (this CAN NOT be intertwined with physio or work talk… it JUST DOESN’T WORK) – separation is key.
Step 4 of 7
Larger, 1-hour quarterly reviews as progress or check markers.
Step 5 of 7
Making everyone aware of everyone else’s goals. All the help can’t come from one person.
Once other team members knew each others goals, a magical thing happened, they started helping each other and we won some time back.
Step 6 of 7
Actually making time in your week to help each member with practical tips and resources when they least expect it.
Eg; Creating your physios side hustle URL for them. When it comes to team culture, you work for your team!
Step 7 of 7
It’s a full time job…. And here’s the kicker…. Some people will leave… some people don’t want to talk about their feelings, their aspirations outside of work, their side hustle… some people don’t want or aren’t willing to accept help…
Some people just want a 9-4 that pays them 70k and they can just switch off… and that’s ok… but they won’t contribute to your culture.
This actually acts as a filtering process to create a tribe of people who want to grow beyond just a career.
The Approach to Team Culture is Give, Give, Give!
As an INTJ, giving a lot is difficult.
It means listening to peoples barriers, coaching, taking non-logical thoughts and steps…
…but you have to decide what you want, what’s more important.
It wasn’t until I truly gave myself, to my staff, on a daily basis that they could see we were actually working for them…
this garnered more respect and culture wins than any other single thing I could do.
It might be an extra clinic visit…
It might be not just doing a hands on session but then shooting them a journal at 8pm at night…
It might be taking a cancellation email and compressing their list so they can go home early…
It might mean sending flowers to their loved ones for their birthdays…
It might be an afternoon off to go and cook dinner for the wife.
It might mean time blocking several hours a week of your time to help serve your employees…
Team Culture is not time efficient and cannot be outsourced or short circuited…
It takes time… love… nurturing… redirection… renewed energy… ups and downs….
But it can be systemised, time blocked and with small steps each day…
All of the sudden in 12-18 months… you will be looking at “The Great White Buffalo”… a team with an amazing culture.
The Financial & Business Rewards of a Good Culture
If you’re like me then you value seeing results.
It’s great to make all of these changes in your team culture, but at the end of the day, you need to see the results.
Here is a breakdown of our results after following the steps above:
- Our Patient Visit Average (PVA) went from 5.8 to 8.4 by constantly and consistently nurturing the team towards our mission statement, our goals and their goals.
- In February we served 1335 patients in a month. This was 200 more than we had ever seen and this month included our staff retreat and a public holiday.
- To prove it wasn’t a fluke in Mach we dished out another record of 1759 patients.
- This meant we helped more patients than ever and our physio’s were on a roster of their choosing (an exercise on our retreat). Autonomy created efficiency.
- Increased communication between team members meant us as owners had much less messages coming through us. Effectively this removed us as the bottle neck in the business and the team realised they could help each other.
- Each member had created a side business or side hustle… this meant they had to learn how to create an instagram and facebook page, a website and this upskilling of themselves meant that they were now able to not only understand the back end of our business but contribute to it.
As Tristan White from The Physio Co says, “Culture is Everything”.
You probably know that, however, doing great culture takes time and purposeful effort each day.
It’s not a set and forget area in your business.
I can definitely say that having the systems, policies, procedures and structures to follow up on our team culture focus has allowed us to get better results second time around.
I’ve also added some suggested reading, some great books to help you in your journey – read here
All good things take time and effort!
If you want to get the systems and support to transform your culture, perhaps you’d benefit from a strategy session with the Clinic Mastery team.
Until next time,
Live with Passion and Serve with Care!