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How — And Why — to Let Your Associate and Your Practice Thrive

When hiring an associate, you become a leader and mentor. Define that role and work on that part of yourself so others can be successful around you.

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OFFICIALLY CELEBRATING MY one-year anniversary of sole practice ownership of West Broward Eyecare has been an adventure. Let me share my path and what led to my success as an associate colleague, to now owner, of West Broward Eyecare and having two of my own wonderful associates, Drs. Isabel Carvajal and Sara Rasekhi, by my side.

I joined Dr. Gustavo Garmizo at West Broward right out of residency. He took a chance on a new grad as much as I took a chance on him in growing his practice and hoping to be part of it one day. I attribute a lot of my early success to Dr. Garmizo letting me be me. I also let him be him, which allowed us to grow together and learn from one another. Figuring out what was important to him and what was important to me, and us both honoring that in each other, allowed us to thrive and expand the clinic.

Another key to our growth was him letting me fail. He was there to help with ideas and brainstorm, but he let me rise, fall, and make mistakes along the way. He never said, “No, this is the way it has always been done,” and more importantly he invested in my ideas. Yes, we had a few that didn’t pan out, but the majority helped our clinic digitize, expand our offerings, and update processes.

He realized early on that by giving me autonomy my success was his success. By him giving me this freedom, not only did our clinic grow exponentially, but so did we as clinicians, partners, and friends.

Another trait I admire in Dr. Garmizo was how he was able to put his ego aside to help evolve as a clinician and let me see “his” patients in the beginning.

When finding a great associate, it is important to let go of your ego. Our patients love us, but to grow and let an associate be successful, you must let go of the fact that people will learn to love another OD if you let them.

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Being clear and having open communication helped us both grow. We all need clarity in the roles we play. This starts with the owner being up front in the interview process. Determine what you’re looking for, where you want to expand, what opportunities are ahead for your associate, and stay true to those.

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Our thinking can evolve, and clinical needs change, but acknowledging this up front is beneficial for both parties.

Having two wonderful associate colleagues join the practice, I’ve done the same for them as Dr. Garmizo did for me. As Dan Sullivan describes in his books, Who Not How and 10x Is Easier Than 2x, we all have a unique ability which can either be accelerated or squashed by those around us. When hiring an associate, you become a leader and mentor. Define that role and work on that part of yourself so others can be successful around you.

Seeing West Broward Eyecare live into this second generation for our community is something special. But it all came down to Dr. Garmizo and I trusting each other fully. Giving an associate the freedom and the space to grow in your clinic is the best gift you can give them and yourself. Begin by defining where you want to be in the next three years. You can and will get there faster with less work by putting it out there that you are looking for an associate colleague now. You never know who will walk in your door when you fully open it.

westbrowardeyecare.com

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