Change – the eternal love/hate relationship

By Stacy M. Menz, PT, DPT, PCS

As a business owner, you know that change is often necessary as your business evolves and grows. You are the one implementing the change on your business. You feel in control, you are doing it for the good of the company, your employees, and/or your patients. When change comes on our terms, it is exciting and generally welcomed. Change also can be imposed on us and not something that is in our control—or even something that is welcome. You are on the receiving end of it. You feel like you have less control. You do not know how it is going to affect your company, your employees, and your patients. Do you see the reason for the love/hate?

As October 1 rapidly approaches all of us will be required to change to ICD-10. Hopefully you have begun to implement strategies for navigating the transition. While this change is an example of one that was externally imposed on our practices, what you are able to do is reframe it. Look at how you can create some control for you and your staff. How does your staff navigate change best? Do they need to sit with it for a while, take baby steps, or just make the leap? By knowing your staff, you can best support them during a period of change. Also, sometimes it is changes that force us to make needed process changes or provide the opportunity to reassess different aspects of our operation that can be improved. Is there a positive that can be taken, are there creative solutions to some of the changes that make whatever the change is more palatable?

This issue of Impact is themed “Navigating Practice Transitions,” something that also involves change. Have you started to plan for the future of your practice? Do you know what you want your exit strategy to be? Will you sell to the highest bidder? Will you create opportunities for your employees to have ownership? Will you join with other practices and become part of a larger group while still maintaining the characteristics of your individual practice? No matter how new you are to private practice, if you own a practice, start thinking about this now.

By beginning to navigate the path of where you ultimately see your practice going, you can take control of the change. You can make decisions based on what is best for you, your practice, your employees, and your patients. Being prepared for what may come allows us as business owners to not just react to the moves on the board, but to foresee potential moves that may be coming. It allows you to play “chess not checkers” (a great book on developing leadership in an organization). And move your practice to one that is proactive and plans ahead so that even if change is imposed on you, you can plan the best ways for you, your practice, your employees, and your patients to navigate it with success.


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