2011 Team Gratitude Letter and a Year in Review

In my opinion, it’s important to relay appreciation to my All Star Team of Eye Care Professionals (a.k.a. Your Envision Eyecare Team) on a regular basis. In addition, at the end of the year, I also like to write a “Year in Review” letter that I read to the team at our holiday party to ensure each team member knows how awesome they are and how much they mean to me. Perhaps in our busy American culture, it’s easy to let these opportunities pass us by because there is always something pressing that needs attention. On the other hand, maybe it could be that taking these moments to express gratitude trumps all else. A friend mentioned this would be a good blog post, so let me know if you agree!

Welcome everyone to the 2011 year’s end celebration and extravaganza! Many thanks to Josh Bailey for providing the venue and making it a unique experience.

When I look back at our 2011, I’m astonished at what a year it has been. What we have accomplished as individual team members and as a collective team is nothing short of amazing. I find that it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture during day to day work. Let’s take a step back for a moment and take a bird’s eye view at the many changes and advancements that our small, private optometry practice has seen.

Technology/Software category: ECR vault, Eyemaginations, The Edge, Solution Reach, six computers, one printer, two servers

Optometry Equipment category: MPOD, Visionix AK, AR, Topographer, Abberometer, new exam room equipment

Office improvement category: New workspace in lab, three new workstations

Team Category: Jeni ABO certification, added Tricia and Bonnie–both terrific additions, lost Lauren to a good cause

Marketing Category: Social Media expansion, two trunk shows (most successful), of all the Asheville eye care practices, Envision has the most google reviews and highest ranking

Awards/Honors Category: WNC Best of Eye Care 2011, 2011 Optometric Innovators, Five Cleinman Performance Partners Awards, Envision Eyecare is Living Wage Certified with Just Economics

I’ve seen you all grow and expand in the past year. Observing how each of you show up and are present each day, I’m reminded of a quote from “The Prophet,” by Kahlil Gabran. He says, “Always you have been told that work is a curse and labor a misfortune. But I say you work that you may keep pace with the soul of the earth. And in keeping with labor, you are in truth loving life. And all work is empty save when there is love. And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to your higher power. It is to charge things you fashion with your own spirit. Work is love made visible.”

I’d like to share my observations noticed in the past year for each of you in your work.

Jess: You have managed to maintain day-to-day operations skillfully and with precision so that your teammates, patients, and I have what we need. You have a firm grasp on what this organization needs to be successful from an operation and financial perspective, and you consistently do what is needed toward that end. I’m excited to watch your skills continue to evolve into 2012. On a daily basis, it’s clear that you pour your heart, love, and soul into this organization.

Jeni: ABO certification is obvious, but that is only the tip of the iceberg with you. You have taken on the task of lab management. How you keep that whirlwind of a room organized is a mystery to me. You have increased your speed and efficiency in nearly everything you do—that benefits you and all of us to boot. You are always willing to be whisked out of the lab to lend a hand at a moment’s notice making it obvious that you care deeply for your team. You also laugh at everything I say, and that’s a lot of fun.

Maria: Although you couldn’t be here tonight, it’s important to honor your contributions nonetheless. You have added to your skill set insurance specialist. Even when traveling the country bringing smiles to theatre patrons, you are logging in and contributing to Envision. You have also helped us expand our social media reach into our community with creative contests on Facebook, well-written blogs, and consistent tweets. We look forward to having you back in the office once again.

Lauren: I’ve watched you come from the hospitality industry with notable social skills and then expand your skill set to become an exceptional technician, capable IT facilitator and community outreach rock star. For the next several years I’m going to have to hear patients say, “What happened to Lauren? She did such an amazing job!” Sometimes it’s hard to know how we truly affect our patients’ lives. I’ve heard it said that my job as a leader is to develop a person and then send them out into the world to continue challenging and developing themselves. My hope is that you will be able to use some of the skills learned at EEC to further broaden your talents. We hope that you won’t be a stranger and will visit often.

Tricia: You have stepped gracefully into Tanya’s role as optician without missing a beat. Wow, have you ever learned a tremendous amount about eyewear and eye care. Your skills with communication and compassion have helped set our patients at ease so they can be open to making good decisions about their eyewear. The experience you bring to our practice from previous careers and life experience is an asset to Envision–your input and perspective has helped us make good decisions on difficult topics. We all appreciate the willingness you’ve displayed to go above and beyond when the need arises. Lastly, your calm demeanor is an asset to us all, especially at times when there are a lot of plates spinning during days of patient care.

Bonnie: Although you have been with us only a short while, several of your attributes are readily apparent. You have a strong work ethic. When I’ve asked you to do something, it seems like it is completed before I have time to turn around. Unasked, you look for things to do to help your teammates wherever you can lend a hand. You consistently greet patients before they reach the front counter with a warm smile and friendly disposition. With limited eye care experience, you are willing to place yourself in less than comfortable situations to challenge yourself and become more effective more quickly. We are all glad to have you aboard.

We have a special place here. Just today, a patient commented how she had a poor night’s sleep the night before and was in a bad mood when she arrived at our office. She then said her day had already improved. Of course, I had to ask her why! She said “Because when I got here I stepped into a good environment with lots of attention.” She knew she would be taken care of and appreciated and that she was in place where people knew who she was. “It’s a lovely thing.”

There are times when our office is full of wonderful patients, and watching you all manage their needs with a kind, efficient, and effective intention is magical. Each day you are making people’s lives better. Remember that when times are stressful, you not only make practice at Envision possible, you make it proliferate and shine. At a personal level, you enrich my life with your positive attitudes, your unique individuality, and a belief in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character. Thank you for all that you do.

A look at 2012: As we continue to gain momentum in the year to come, we will have an even greater impact on our community by serving a greater number of patients. We look toward 2012 with hopes of finding a permanent home for Envision. We will continue to find innovative ways to deliver top tier care by improving our systems. We will continue to support our community through donating eye care, donating to worthy causes, and helping our patients in times of need. We welcome Mark Hinton into the fold. We are extremely fortunate to have his years of wisdom and experience, his expertise and intention, and as his ability to make each day fun and engaging. In my opinion, it is an exciting time for our practice.

I said it last year at this time and I’ll say it again now, “Our future is so bright we have to wear UV/HEV shades!”

Larry Golson, OD is an Eye Doctor in Asheville, NC