What People-First IS NOT

What does it mean to put people first as a leader or business owner?

People First is a method of strategically designing your practice and building your leadership skills to ensure you have an exceptional workplace.  

Before I get into how to implement the People First method so you can change the trajectory of your business, I want to address the resistance you may initially experience when I tell you to prioritize the needs of the team. Many people believe that a leader must choose between finances, patients, business initiatives, or team when in reality, a leader’s goal is to keep every facet of the business cohesive in good or bad times. Here are two things that a people-first approach is not:

Financial Ignorance 

A great leader will understand that there’s a major difference between knowing the numbers and putting profit over people. It is time to un-learn the thinking that you can’t put your people first because finances matter more than anything else. It’s true, you can’t have a business without the financial means to support it. It is also true that the way to increase revenue and decrease expenses is by having team members who can do those two things. It is not an either/or situation between patients, business or your people but a way of prioritizing the work, a way of viewing your role as a leader and owner that consistently keeps people at the center both in good times and in bad.   

Patient (Customer) Centered  

Traditionally, we’ve been programmed to put people first, but not the right people. This idea of “the customer’s always right” gives the impression that the customer comes before the team when in reality, I’m suggesting that we do the opposite. Our focus needs to shift on bettering our team experience. If they are engaged and empowered to do their best, they will give 100% of their best to the patients and now you have a loop that ensures patient satisfaction.  

In my next letter, I’ll share more about how implementing an effective people-first method changed the whole trajectory of our team and how these simple shifts can absolutely help yours as well.

For an even deeper understanding of this approach, order my book People First! Stay tuned for more details!

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.