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John Marvin

Time to Kick These 5 Bad Habits

They are more common and more destructive to your business than you think.




I SRAELMORE AYIVOR, AN inspirational writer, once said, “If the problems you have this year are the same problems you had last year, then you are not a leader.”
Leadership is a learned skill. Many times, learning new skills requires breaking bad habits. Otherwise, the problems and challenges you face in 2021 will be the same ones you face this year, which were the same as the previous year or years. Here are some of the bad habits that need to change for 2020 to be the best year for your practice or store:

Not Taking Time to Reflect

Taking time for reflection is not so much a habit you need to change, but a good habit you need to start. Taking time each day, week, and month to reflect on how your business operates and serves your patients or customers is a fundamental practice for good leadership. Humans find security in routine. However, the routines need to serve the best interest of the customer and the business. Reflection will examine these routines and result in improvement.


I get it. It’s your business and there is so much money at stake. But you won’t succeed if you continuously micromanage your business. The first resulting problem is staff turnover. People don’t leave a business where they feel valued and empowered to make decisions affecting their day-to-day responsibilities.

Not Listening

Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, once said, “You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking.” It’s also hard to learn anything if you are not listening. Listening is an active, not passive exercise. It must be intentional. The information acquired through observation and listening is all that is needed to solve most problems.


Indecision will damage a business significantly more than any other bad habit. Speed of decision and taking action will keep your business relevant and successful. Indecision and procrastination will enable your competitors to take business from you. The threat to a business in this industry, at this time, is not the large eating the small, but the fast beating the slow. The internet has created such a momentum of consumer preferences and choices, that if you are not paying attention, or putting off decisions for change, the result will be a loss of business that will be very expensive to regain.

Blaming Others

Things go wrong. Bad decisions happen. Third-party payers make changes to their reimbursement, vendors change their prices, representatives and suppliers. Employees don’t do what they say. These affect everyone. They are out of your control in most respects. Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur and author, said, “The same wind blows on us all; the winds of disaster, opportunity and change. Therefore it is not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sails that will determine our direction.” A bad habit is to blame the wind for your problems: vendors, organized optometry, employees, customers, etc. are responsible. It’s all wind. Don’t blame the wind; instead decide to set your sail, and it will lead you through a successful 2020.


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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