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John Marvin

Achieve Disney-Level Leadership to Manage Effectively and Exceed Patient Expectations

Walt Disney understood that people’s coordinated effort could achieve anything.




OF ALL THE things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” – Walt Disney

Managing a business comes down to managing people. Imagine the great Walt Disney stating that the most vital thing he did was to coordinate people towards achieving a certain goal. Each year, millions of people visit one of Disney’s great theme parks, and children worldwide love Micky and Minnie Mouse. All of this came about because Disney understood that coordinated effort can achieve anything.

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Similarly, the success of an optometry practice or optical business is dependent on effective management coordinating the work of a team towards a specific goal. Management is a process that, when followed, yields excellent outcomes. Here are five critical elements of this process:

1. Understand Your Business.

Many managers don’t understand the details of their business. The delivery of quality eyecare and customer service needs a set of standardized procedures to ensure consistency. An effective manager will know and understand why each procedure is necessary. They will be a student of their business and continually look for ways to improve. When a manager truly understands their business, they can set big picture goals.

2. Break Down the Areas of Processes.

Every business has a variety of functions that consist of standardized procedures. In an eyecare practice, these generally can be defined as administration, retail, and medical clinic. A successful manager will understand these areas and understand how the performance of the people in each area impact the big picture goals of the practice. Patient care goals cannot be achieved if the exam schedule is not designed to provide the best comprehensive care. Sales goals cannot be achieved if patients do not purchase eyewear in the optical. Revenue goals cannot be achieved if third party billing is not filed correctly. Income goals cannot be achieved if expenses are not controlled.

3. Hire the Best Talent You Can Find.

Too often, hiring decisions are made out of panic or desperation. Usually, this is because practices are often understaffed. You need to hire the very best. You’ll need to recruit good people since


often the best are already working somewhere. If it’s an optician you need, get in touch with the local chapter of the Certified Opticians Association and find out who the most talented are, then contact them. If you need someone for administration, target recruiting ads where they are more likely to be seen by qualified people. Talented people do not cost you more; they contribute more to the business. You need to invest in their training and their skills continually. Sir Richard Branson says, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.”

4. Delegate to the Talent You Hired.

One of the most important abilities of a successful manager is to know how to delegate both responsibility and authority. It is easy to delegate responsibility, but if you don’t transfer the authority needed to make decisions, your people will not be responsible for outcomes.

Delegation means explaining how what they do and the areas they are responsible for directly impacts the business’s ability to reach its goals. Clear and consistent communication is critical, and this includes listening. Another important aspect of delegation is weekly or daily communication. We call these a weekly “huddle-up” and use the 30 minutes to coordinate and make sure we stay focused on our weekly and monthly goals.

5. Hold People Accountable.

When you understand your business and have defined the various functions through standardized procedures, holding everyone accountable to perform becomes objective, not subjective. Many owners have difficulty in holding people responsible because the policies and related systems are not defined. People don’t mind accountability when they know what’s expected. Accountability also means recognition; daily and weekly recognition keeps morale high and people motivated to do their very best.

These five steps will create an environment where your team is productive, enjoy what they do, and exceed the expectations of your patients.


John D. Marvin has more than 25 years of experience in the ophthalmic and optometric practice industry. He is the president of Texas State Optical and writes about marketing, management and education at the blog. You can email him at


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