"Strategy is not the consequence of planning but the opposite: its start point."
— Henry Mintzberg
A strategy defines where you are going. It defines direction and pace, while also understanding the challenges and resources necessary to get there. And it is almost entirely about moving forward and the future. Almost.
There is an element that is ignored, avoided, and often forgotten when orthopaedists start discussing strategy. Maybe because it isn’t as sexy or fun to reference, but as much as strategy is about where you are going, it is imperative we all understand where the practice is currently positioned.
Effective strategy requires a clear and accurate measure of your current position, and to do this correctly requires perspectives beyond your current view. It requires facts, input, and opinions from other partners, staff, patients, referral sources, and your competitors.
Reviewing your current patient volumes and reimbursement mix is barely a start in identifying where your practice is. Where is your current volume in comparison to past years, and where is it in comparison to capacity? Where are patients coming from geographically and by what referral sources? What are the views of the practice from past patients and those who likely influenced their decisions? These are just a few reference points to consider when looking at patients alone, not to mention primary care, workers’ compensation, and others.
Our experience is that practices engage in strategy, and subsequently marketing, when they find themselves in a hole. And although we agree that the best way to get out of a hole is to stop digging, we think it is equally important to stop and acknowledge how you got there and determine the properties and specifics of the hole you are working to get out of.
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