According to Gene Klann, author of the book Crisis Leadership, “During a crisis, a leader’s goal is to reduce loss and keep things operating as normal as possible.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping your medical aesthetics practice’s doors shut right now, keeping things “operating as normal as possible” is not really a viable option. So how can you embrace and adapt to what is and lead your team effectively until your doors re-open?
Leadership is the anchor of great companies. It is the foundation of any business. So how can you take the lead and use this time to strengthen your practice and your people?
Here are some tips, strategies and tools to be an effective leader and make use of this time.
Keep lines of communication open.
This is vital. Transparency and inclusiveness are key—especially in times of crisis. Regular, honest communication about the financial status of your practice, plans to re-open, job continuity or the possibilities of layoffs, helps reduce emotional distress, reduce your team’s fear of the unknown and shows your team that you are concerned, knowledgeable and monitoring the situation.
The best way to communicate is face-to-face through virtual meeting platforms. Then to follow up with written communication. Just like I always teach my clients about reach and frequency when it comes to communicating with patients, reach and frequency with your staff is also vital. Don’t just share information once through one avenue, repeat information and reinforce “the purpose, “the why” it matters” as it helps with information retention.
When you don’t communicate clearly and consistently, people start to gossip, and rumors start to fly. The truth is ALWAYS better than twisted information, no matter how harsh it might be.
Be proactive and decisive.
During times of crisis, you don’t have the normal luxury of time to begin addressing problems that come up. You have to buck up, step up and take charge! Make the hard decisions. Even if you might misstep or have to course correct, being a leader means you need to take action. Nothing is worse for your anxiety level than being stuck in indecision. Remember that everyone is viewing the crisis through their own unique lens in terms of what is affecting them. A leader has to take the 20,000-foot view – considering the organization as the whole wheel, not just individual spokes, and make decisions based on that perspective.
Be accessible to your team.
Now more than ever it is important to let your team members know you are there for them. Make sure you let them know the best way to reach you and who to call if they have any questions. If you can maintain a sense of calm and stay in control, it keeps your team encouraged and gives them more confidence that you have a plan in place. Having an “open door” policy or at the very least, having a staff member designated as the “liaison” goes a long way. This is also a great time to survey your team for feedback, making them feel important and that their opinion matters. Having them provide their feedback creates accountability and sparks innovation. Perhaps someone has an idea to improve scheduling to keep patients safe, or regarding a change in office hours to ensure you have capacity, and that clients are seen timely. Perhaps, it’s regarding your fee structure, knowing clients will be “cost conscious”, or some ideas to spotlight on social media or in a newsletter to welcome patients back. The list can be endless but provokes a thought process. Welcome all suggestions as your team may have more of a pulse on patient needs than even you do!
Dedicate the downtime to prepare for the future and up level your practice.
After the initial crisis period subsides, it’s time to start shifting gears and focusing on re-opening and what the “new normal” will look like. It is possible to come back more skilled, with better processes, greater control and knowledge of the business and systems so that in time you will be bigger, better, stronger, and wiser than before. Time + Opportunity.
Here are some things you can be doing RIGHT NOW:
Complete a SWOT Analysis
As a leader you should have a pulse on where your practice stands. When you are busy focusing on the day-to-day activities of running your aesthetic practice, it can be a challenge to carve out time to do this. That’s why this is a perfect time to complete a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is an objective assessment that can help you determine your:
Strengths: What you do well that makes you stand apart from the competition.
Weaknesses: What is not working and where you can improve.
Opportunities: Where can you pivot? How can you leverage your strengths and help to achieve the company goals?
Threats: What are the challenges that will influence or create us to take action?
You can download my SWOT Analysis worksheet here.
Know Your Unique Value Proposition
Knowing your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is more important than ever. Creating a clear, consistent message around your UVP and explaining your credentials can take the guesswork out of promoting your practice and get your entire team on the same page and delivering the same message – further enhancing your brand. Now is the perfect opportunity to make sure your team can all communicate:
What specific benefits you offer.
How your practice’s products or services solve your client’s problems or improve their situation.
Why they should choose your practice over competitors.
Now is a great opportunity to take an x-ray of your practice by completing a thorough practice assessment. As a leader it’s important to take a good hard look at your business, especially now, what services make you the most money, or cost you money? Your pricing, your team, your compensation, your marketing, your finances and KPIs, your systems and software, the list goes on. Knowing where the gaps exist allows for opportunities for growth. Then, take ACTION.
Online Learning Opportunities
Any good leader knows there is always room to learn new skills and improve. While you are waiting to re-open, why not take this time to Improve your sales training and learn how to conduct consultations that convert.
As always Tribe, my team is here to support you and are ready to help answer any questions you might have. Stay tuned for future blogs and webinars to prepare your practice for re-opening.
Terri Ross can take your business to new levels, whether you’re looking for exclusive private strategy sessions, corporate sales training, or a keynote speaker for the next major aesthetic event. Book Terri Ross today to take the first steps in giving your business the tools it needs to succeed in this incredibly competitive landscape.