Provider Strategy

The Pace of Your Success

The four elements central in your HME business's performance.

According to Harvard Business Review, the number one reason CEOs, business owners, and executives fail is a lack of strategic execution. Managing a business can feel like a whirlwind of leading people, managing process, and providing products and services to customers. We have targets, goals, and big ideas about what we want to do and how we want to do it. However, every time we begin to make progress, the daily grind conspires against us, and we find ourselves off-track, frustrated by a lack of forward momentum, and ending the day no closer to the finish line — day after day after day.

Has your business hit a growth ceiling and it seems difficult to achieve sales the way you used to? Are your teams more focused on individual or departmental accomplishment than overall company growth? Do your customers find your processes difficult to understand and engage with? These are common challenges that all HME, DME, and CRT businesses face that lead to stagnant performance and can be detrimental for the business.

As you consider the demands and growth opportunities for your business, you must be prepared for sustained execution that will stretch beyond the strategic planning process. The organization must embrace a business “operating system” that will create a consistent cadence of strategic thinking, systematic planning, and intentional and executable actions that grow the business, improve team engagement, and separate your company from the competition.

Here are four key “rhythms” that will provide systematic and sustainable results to move you, your team, and your business forward.

1. Planning

The quintessential quote often credited to Benjamin Franklin still holds true today, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” None of us want to fail, but so often we don’t actually create a plan for reaching goals and then become frustrated when our hopes and dreams do not become a reality.

If you want to have a successful year, you must have a successful quarter. And the only way that can happen is by having 13 successful weeks in a row. A great annual plan will provide a structured “road map” with three to five key initiatives for the year, supported by quarterly priorities and weekly action items that move the organization towards its goals — every single day.

Do this: Get out your calendar right now and schedule your annual planning session for your executive management team. Move this meeting off-site to limit any distractions, and plan a minimum of one day to give your leadership time to discuss, debate, and agree on what truly matters for your business. Best practices in this would also include using an outside facilitator to enable equal participation and engagement from all team members.

Find tools that can help ensure each participant is prepared to have candid conversations think strategically for the coming year. These include exercises such as Start, Stop, Keep; Opportunities and Threats; Building Your Brand Promise; Discovering Core Values, Destination Postcards, and Measuring Winning Moves. Each can provide valuable insight into further defining your business, your core customer, and how true success can be achieved.

2. Communication

You’ve just completed an amazing off-site meeting with your leadership and built a year-long strategy with key initiatives, quarterly priorities, and weekly action items. How do you get everyone in the organization as engaged and excited as you are? You cannot just send an email and expect everyone to “get it!”

It is very common to see strategic plans fail due to never being able to overcome the communication gap of connecting the strategic plan to the daily work of every team member. As the leader, it is your responsibility to consistently and creatively share the vision for the year with your teams, departments, and even individuals. Also, you must do so in a way that bridges the gap between the work of today and your vision for tomorrow.

Shoot a video, build a slide deck, hold a town hall, set one-on-one meetings, attend departmental meetings you don’t always attend — but make sure you engage leaders and managers so that they understand their place in the plan and what they can do every day to move towards your vision for the company.

3. Key Performance Indicators

One of the best ways to let your team know what is important is by consistently measuring what matters. The development of both leading and results based KPI’s can have an immediate and lasting impact on driving your business forward. These numbers will tell the story of where you have been (sales revenue, net profit, delivery times), as well as where you are going (new referrals connections, daily sales calls, and critical conversations.).

Measuring results indicators against a target will not only tell you how you are performing, but leading indicators can also identify levers of influence to establish areas that can be replicated to drive growth as well as areas of weakness that may need to be realigned or potentially eliminated. Start measuring one leading indicator — something you can influence to move you toward your target — and one results or lagging indicator — something that tells everyone how you’ve done. Second, share this information with the team, get their feedback, ask them how or why this matters to them or their department, let them speak into what is getting measured so that it truly will matter and they can become an active part of improving your organization’s health.

4. Accountability

Equally as important as measuring the performance of your numbers, is measuring the performance of your people. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a culture of accountability that starts at the executive level and cascades to every department.

To begin this transformation, you must first clarify expectations. When a strategic plan has been properly designed and communicated, it will provide a clear pathway forward, with defined roles and responsibilities for each participant. Setting weekly status meetings for each person to provide their own feedback via “red,” “yellow,” and “green” criteria enables open conversations to take place and rather than condemning poor performance, it allows collaborative efforts to take effect and establishes a healthy, honest team dynamic. It is imperative that each person knows and understands not only what they are responsible for achieving — but also knows how to measure their own performance for both failure and success.

This article originally appeared in the Aug/Sep 2019 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Jonathan Walters, ATP/SMS, CEAC, is vice president of leadership development and a complex rehab technology coach for HME management coaching and consulting firm Team@Work, which can be found online at or contacted via phone at (260) 627-8938.

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