Much like your clinic’s vision statement, you should have a clear set of company values that are steering the ship at your private practice. But more so, the leaders and staff must be living into those values in order to truly bring your clinic’s “why” to life.
To put it another way – these core values can’t just function as a catchphrase or a quick PR patch to be thrown on top of a crisis. Essentially, these values should be the organizing principle behind what you do and how you expect your clinic to operate – that’s what separates the good companies from the bad ones.
MEG Business Management has seen the importance of company values in the success of different physical therapy practices over the years. Here’s what we’ve learned:
Why is it important to communicate your company values?
We are in a people business. Our role as therapists is to gain the trust of our patients through authentic care. In the same way, your company values can’t just be painted on the walls and ignored. They must be practiced often and authentically. This thriving company culture is what quickly becomes a powerful differentiator for your business.
If values guide how a business operates, what does it say about a company that runs counter to that guidance they have laid out? Too many businesses simply talk about values – Boeing speaks of Safety, Enron spoke of Integrity, yet both failed to make it part of their mission.
So, it is not just about laying out values, but integrating them into how your physical therapy practice works. Company values should be part of the inside and outside of the clinic to where even patients and staff can get a sense of where your “why” stands.
How do you develop your company’s values?
Establishing core values can create a strong work culture, but what your goals should be and how to accomplish them varies based on the industry. Here are some general ideas that are helpful for a physical therapy business.
Remember, these values are something to be followed; if you are making decisions counter to them, you are already heading down a wrong path.
The purpose statement of your physical therapy company is the ‘why’ – your purpose for planting a practice in this community’s neighborhood. What is the reason for your clinic to exist, and what do you want your impact on the community to be?
Having a clear purpose motivates your team and reflects well on your community, but it’s only the start. If the ‘why’ of your company is in the purpose statement, what your company does is the ‘how.’
Most everyone is familiar with the old Google purpose statement, “Don’t be evil.” While it may be pithy, it is vast, and they haven’t quite lived up to the idea.
When crafting your values, be specific. Choose values that communicate how you want to be as a leader and how you would want your staff to behave towards patients. Leave behind the values that are just trying to make you seem cool or trendy – point each of them at purpose.
Keep your company values simple and easily remembered and communicated. If it is too difficult to remember what your company is about, perhaps you are trying to do too much or overcomplicate things. Stick with around 5 values to stay concise and on point.
It may even be a situation where you keep the stated values shorter but provide further detail elsewhere for patients and staff.
Living by your values also means that sometimes you must sacrifice what is easy or profitable for your ideals. Can they even be called ‘ideals’ if there is no risk associated with working within them?
Let these values guide you as the organizing principle behind your business. They will help with decision-making when faced with opportunities that may lead the mission of your practice astray.
As circumstances change and society evolves, so should your purpose statement and your company’s values. We’re not talking about every year, mind you – just the idea of giving yourself and your staff the permission to be aware and respond to how the industry and society evolves.
Above all, these values must mean something and represent the ideal practice so that they can attract and inspire the patients that help you bring this mission to life.
Learn the 4 Keys to Private Practice Success
Want to bring out the most in your people and your practice? MEG’s 4 Keys to Private Practice Success Program is a self-assessment tool to evaluate your practice’s environment, structure, personnel, and systems of operation. From there, we help you identify your practice’s barriers to success and develop strategies to implement improved efficiency and productivity.