In analysing private practice physio businesses for over 40 years, there is one common denominator when it comes to those businesses that are flourishing and that’s “rock-solid LEADERSHIP” from the top.
There’s an old proverb, a fish rots from the head down, and its the same for businesses. If a business is not achieving its potential, then its most probably a leadership issue. However, the reciprocal is also true, when a business is absolutely humming and hitting winner after winner and consistently staying at the top of its game, then its due to the leadership within. It’s a categorical fact that leadership is the exponential factor that stimulates and maintains consistent growth.
In my experience people like to talk about leadership but don’t know what to do about it other than read a couple of books or go to a weekend conference and hope that there’ll be a dramatic change. Please understand that leadership is an all-time thing, and your goal is to be ever growing, aiming to be better and better each day, aiming to learn something new today, apply it and be better the next day than you were the day before. It’s the little one-percenters that occur every day that make the difference.
Leaders love to learn and adopt what they have learnt and then apply it into their environment. There is a saying, you can determine where you’ll be in 5-years’ time by the people you surround yourself with and the books you read. However, that can now be taken to a further level – you can tell what type of leader you’ll become based on the people you surround yourself with (get a mentor), the books you read and listen to and how you actively apply what you learn on a constant basis.
If you’re not getting the results you want, then always look inwards and don’t blame your circumstances on others or point fingers because more often than not, they’re 3 pointing right back at you. A typical sign, or red flag of broken leadership is when the head of the organization blames others for their lack of progress.
The Continual Pursuit of Wisdom
Create a passion for reading good wholesome books which have learning points applicable to leadership or productivity attached to them. Here are some great examples of some tremendous books from the perspective of growing as a leader.
- “Legacy” by James Kerr
- “The 5 Levels of Leadership” by John Maxwell.
- “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown
- “Good to Great” by Jim Collins
- “The Culture Code” by Danial Coyle
However, you’ll need to absorb yourself in many books to find those that relate to you based on your personal experiences.
Leaders are consistently asking themselves – what have I learned? – what am I applying? – what do I need to do next? (an actionable step).
Wisdom is best described as applied knowledge. If you know something and do nothing with it, then it has the same effect of not knowing it in the first place. It’s the application of what you’ve learned that creates the results.
Here’s a couple of little sayings that give great guidance in this.
- “What’s the difference between a person who can’t read and a person who can, but chooses not to?”Nothing – right! There is only potential – which isn’t worth anything unless it is acted upon.
- “To know and not to do, is the same as not knowing in the first place”
Wisdom is an actionable state of mind that comes from applying what you know.
Leaders are adventurous and prepared to have the hard conversations both with themselves and with others if they are not measuring up to expectations. Typically, without the accusatory approach but more with the attitude of “we’ve fallen short of the mark and we’re better than this. What do we need to do to rectify this? Do we need to change our mindset or attitude or do we need to learn some new skills and then apply them, monitor those results and keep adjusting until we hit the mark?”
Work to include your team, in both team and individual performance issues. Listen to the degree where everyone in the conversation is being understood. Then direct the team or individual back to the defined and accepted standards.
You’re better than that
Working within a proactive team that has a growth mindset means that at times you, as the leader, will come across members who’ve slipped in those defined and expected standards. Here are a couple of tips in having those hard conversations:
- First let them know the result of the actions (The KPI, KPA, patient satisfaction or a hard fact)
- Let them know you believe in them with a statement such as “You’re better than this”
- Ask for their input and pay particular focus on whether this is due to a skill set which is missing or has been overlooked, or otherwise is an attitude issue.
- You can teach any missing skill set
- They must decide to change their attitude or behaviour if they have the skill set but not applying it.
Within the Physio Business Growth Premium Business Accelerator this topic is covered in fine detail.
Expect – Inspect – Define
There is a wonderful saying, “You cannot expect something unless you can inspect it and you cannot inspect anything unless it is first defined and understood by all parties.” So, in short, working backwards, define the standard, have a process to inspect the process and the end result and then expect that behaviour or end result.
A b4 J
Leaders are not afraid to be measured, in fact they thrive on it. Imagine an elite sports team where members of the team decide that they no longer want to keep the score. I wouldn’t be long before standards slip into mediocrity or worse.
Leaders are accountable for their actions and those of their team. The “A b4 J” means Accountability comes Before Justification. Those who blame others and sit in mediocrity typically are quick to justify their position rather than take accountability. Leaders are brave enough to say, “Enough is enough.” I am accountable for the position I am in, the good and the bad, and now it’s time to change things up. This doesn’t mean doing more of the same – it means change where change is required.
Leaders love KPIs as it gives them the results that their actions have created. We at Physio Business Growth also encourage business owners to track not only the results (KPIs) but also the actions that create those KPIs which we call KPAs or “Key Performance Actions.” Embracing this helps lifts the standards throughout. However, with a word of caution, you cannot embed KPIs in a team that do not have a growth mindset and understand the “WHY” of their importance. The team culture has to come first and to understand this check out the Physio Business Growth roadmap.
It’s for this reason that leaders enthusiastically embrace the Physio Business Diagnostic, which dives deep into analysing each component that successful thriving practices do and how their business compares. To find out more about the ‘Physio Business Diagnostic’ Click Here.
Control the narrative
Leaders are confident in themselves because they operate on ethics and principles that are unbending. It’s important know what you stand for and what issues or principles you are unbending on, regardless of whether it’ll cost you money or not. You can always make money, but your reputation is something you should not bend on. Consider your reputation is like virginity, once you lose it, it’s gone forever.
As you can see this is quite a long blog and it’s something I can discuss in depth for days because it is so essential in creating the business you’ve always wanted. The Physio Business Growth modules on both leadership and team culture dive deeply into this.
To help you on your way can you request a free copy of our ‘leadership for physio business owners’ e-book by emailing [email protected] You’ll get a concentrated leadership immersion covering:
- Understanding blind spots by the Jo Hari window
- Leadership skills are learned and developed over time and due to a designated position
- The power of visualisation
- Overcoming self-doubt
- Goal setting
- The killers of success
- Neural mapping your way to success
- Identifying your WHY
- You’ll learn the ideal physiotherapist team member should be open and coachable with an attitude of gratitude as they pursue excellence in everything pertaining to private practice physiotherapy.
If this is the ideal team member, then surely the leader should also be:
- Open and coachable
- Generous with a sense of gratitude to be coached and even be open to be shown blind spots or areas where deficits exist
- Excited to learning all the components of operating a successful private practice and not only the areas where they already excel
It’s for this reason that great leaders have mentors to keep them accountable and continually honing their skills and behaviours.