An important reflection for current and future clinic owners.
For the last 4 weeks, my world has been thrown into a tailspin. My amazing practice manager resigned before Christmas ending ten wonderful years with me. She was dedicated, loyal and an instrumental part of my business [and life].
It was like being thrown a hand-grenade and being hit by a bus at the same time. I had no idea. I had the romantic notion that she would be with me forever.
Whilst I am happy for her and her new opportunity, I also had less than 3 weeks to handover. I was not prepared. No one was.
What does that mean?
I’m back at work full time and GrowthRx is moved to the sideline as I navigate an action plan. Training someone else will take time, it’s a huge role to take on.
As I always say… ‘You can hire anyone to sail a boat, but not everyone can step in to captain a ship.’
What have I learned from this?
1. You make it work
Just like Covid-19. When you find yourself in crisis, you get sh*t done simply because you have to. You make it work, life goes on. We are all capable of greatness when we need to protect the things we love. I love my business and our team.
2. People are amazing
As they say, when one door closes, another opens. My team have been incredible. They have stepped up, supported me, and each other. What I first saw as hardship, they saw as an opportunity. They took on new roles, welcomed responsibility, and embraced change. It’s been an honour and a privilege to watch. One role has now been shared across 4 people. Our future is bright.
3. Loss is traumatic
Whilst everyone is replaceable, there are some people we don’t want to replace. When someone leaves an organization, especially someone special and loved, it’s important to allow yourself [and others] to mourn. I not only lost my practice manager, I lost the comfort of working alongside my best friend every day. Not something many people get to do in their lifetime. There will be a grieving process and that’s ok. I’m not sure how long that will take, but I will give it the time it deserves.
4. People will always leave. Don’t be naive.
No matter how much you support, inspire, or pay people, when their priorities and lives change, they need to do what is right for them and their families… they will move on. Life is unpredictable — opportunities present, people can suddenly fall ill, staff are head hunted. Nothing is forever, even the most stable working relationships. The only thing you can be sure of is that you can never be sure.
5. Be prepared.
If you are not planning for the worst and hoping for the best, it is time to start. It can happen — shit happens… and fast.
Have a back-up for your back-up. Ensure multiple people double down on accountability and that roles are shared. When this is not possible in smaller clinics or if you are a sole trader, you need to think about what might happen to your business if you were suddenly taken out of the game.
And so it goes…
One of the greatest by-products of true success is resilience. Resilience through challenging times shows strong foundations and good leadership. Sometimes though, it’s not always the best option to simply, ‘bounce back’. We need to learn, adapt and evolve. Post traumatic growth over resilience.
To say “I didn’t think it would happen,” still acknowledges the possibility that it could. It means I considered something but didn’t have the processes to act accordingly; a system or strategy I needed was lacking! When that happens, it’s not bad luck— it’s ego come home to roost.
No matter how big or small your clinic is, keep your eyes open – consider all the potential consequences, even the unlikely, the unusual, and the unintended ones.
Thankfully we have policies in order, a great team and strategies in place. I may not have been emotionally prepared for this one, but I know we will survive.
What would you do if you lost a crucial staff member?
Has this happened to you in the past? How did you respond?
Do you have a succession plan?
My advice is – Action it… yesterday!
Bringing you my best… and a final tribute to my wonderful Nay Nay.
In growth and gratitude,
Jade Scott is a leading identity within Australia’s allied health community. Having successfully established a number of osteopathy clinics in Victoria Jade recognised an opportunity to create meaningful change and innovation within the Allied Health Industry.