You would already know that this industry is dominated by only a couple of large organizations so we’ll avoid dropping names here. Many industry professionals will go from one company to another and utilize the same strategies and business tactics. Understanding the differences between strategy and tactics will help guide you through your career in corporate optometry.
Power of influence.
Corporate optometry is a field where charisma and similar tactics are often employed to influence ODs into making certain decisions. Even the employees in this field have to tread carefully because corporate optometry practices can be quite manipulative at times. When it comes to corporate optometry, this is just how the business works. The way things are shown is not always the reality. Many times younger ODs are influenced into thinking that working more hours or seeing more patients per hour would increase revenue for their offices as a solution to managed care plans. Yet careful calculations indicate loss in revenue with increased staffing, decreased insurance reimbursement and increasing chair costs.
Understand that corporate opticals are in the business of selling glasses. The optometrist is a part of the puzzle that needs to fit in their plan. Finding ways to elevate their business is sometimes done at the expense of the employed or sublease OD. These tactics are sometimes completed in a charismatic way to influence the OD that it is in their best interest when in reality it is just a way to get the OD to cooperate in a strategy to sell glasses.
Many times Corporate ODs are told that how fierce the competition is and going out on their own would be more difficult than subleasing when in fact that is not the case for many ODs. (There are many different situations)
Here’s what you need to know about the psychology of business in corporate optometry.
The awestruck effect
Charismatic people have this endearing ability to almost hypnotize their audience. Their personal energy, aura and the manner in which they convey their message can persuade you to make the decision they want, without you even recognizing it. It is not until later when you walk away from them and the effect fades away that you realize you have been manipulated. Getting the individualized attention compared to your colleagues maybe one way to influence business decisions on OD side of the business, yet collaborating with others you will find that the same individual discussions are repeated in order to advance the corporate optical agenda. This can lead to emotional exhaustion as ODs suppress their emotions.
For employees in corporate optometry, the awestruck effect can occur for instance when they accept to work for the job that they soon realize is not what they were looking for. When a recruiter promotes a location for its work life balance, medical model and flexible schedule, an OD should also question the regional manager and store manger. Ask other ODs in the area. Many times if it is too good to be true it is. The “honeymoon” stage can only last so long. Understand what you bring to the table for that location and the value that you provide the corporate optical and the staff at that location. What was presented to you at the time of signing should be consistent throughout your time there.
As for sublease ODs, many are painted a picture of a high volume practice, that are turn key and potential of expanding to multiple locations. Optical sales will not directly reflect OD income, there are many factors that shape this. Leading on a sublease OD about additional locations and potential perks is another tactic to pursued ODs to do things that is in the best interest of the optical. Learning to see these tactic trends will help you target the right sublease.
The effect of compelling storytelling
Stories are known for the lasting effect they can have on the audience. A great story not just captivates the listener’s attention, but can also impacts their decision-making ability because the events stick to their mind and influence their actions.
When you interact with a regional manager about telemedicine or increase hours , if they are manipulative then they can lure you into taking an action that might not necessarily be in your best interest. How a story is told can help you differentiate between what is best in your own interest. Many times illustrating how another OD has been a great partner within the organization to impact your decision. That others are doing this and you don’t want to be excluded. Fear tactics can be applied in the same way as a story is told about a sublease termination or not evolving as the optical business evolves. The way that a story is told can increase emotions that can impact a business decision. Business decisions should be based on analytical data and metrics not emotions.
Consider the possibilities that corporate optometry can offer you. The stability, potential to grow a business, income and security. Yet listening to a regional or eye care director might have made you feel like you can pull this off for the numerous ‘benefits’ that it offers. There are many “stories” to the chapters in corporate optometry some you might have to skip.
Attention is (not always) a good thing
Corporate ODs who want to be satisfied with their job. Corporate opticals offer recognition awards for the ODs that have excelled in a regional or nationally. Some provide Doctor of the Year award while others receive accolades via email or social media.
If you are an OD, a corporate giant might initially make you feel welcomed in the workplace by adjusting your work hours, putting you at a location that’s feasible for you and so on.
However, despite the possible relaxations, being burnt-out is still very common in corporate optometry jobs because the rules and regulations are rather binding. So, if you too are getting stressed at work then it’s time to evaluate what’s wrong and take the appropriate measures if required.
Sometimes attention is given to the younger ODs to sway them to work more hours, help recruit younger ODs or just because that specific location is hard to find OD coverage. Attention can be given to the ODs that are in states that is hard to find coverage to try and sway them to stay when competitors are opening new locations. “Celebrating an OD” but not providing tools and resources that are needed can be tactic that is very familiar in corporate optometry.
Manipulative tactics can be subtle or obvious so whether you are a sublease provider or an employed OD in corporate optometry, the key to ensuring that you don’t fall prey to such techniques is to always stay clear about what you want.
Whenever in doubt, step back from the situation, analyze and evaluate the circumstances and then regain control by asserting yourself more tactfully.