Podcast: Dr. Laurie Sorrenson

This week Dr. Ted McElroy sat down with Dr. Laurie Sorrenson to discuss removing fear from your decision-making.

You can check out their full conversation here, by searching "EyeCode Media" in your favorite podcast app.

Read the full transcript below:

Ted: [00:00:00] Hey,

[00:00:01] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:00:01] Lori. Hey Ted, how are you? How are you doing?

[00:00:05] Ted: [00:00:05] I'm excited. That's fine. Do, and I'm really excited about

[00:00:11] this is going to be a blast.

[00:00:14] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:00:14] How long is it going to be

[00:00:17] Ted: [00:00:17] Irish? Maybe at the most, we need to cut sooner. You, we can, we can go wherever you need.

[00:00:22] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:00:22] No, I'm pretty open.

[00:00:25] Ted: [00:00:25] All right. So what I will do is I'm going to get us started.

[00:00:39] welcome to the vision of leadership podcast. I'm your host, Ted Mack. This podcast is dedicated to helping you find your wins. Have a better quality of life and become the best leader being conveyed. Hey, have you subscribed to this podcast yet? Don't miss an episode they're worth every single thing you paid for, which is nothing because they're free.

[00:00:59] You subscribe to the podcast by hitting the subscribe button, give us a rating and a review on your specific podcast player. This helps us with our podcast rankings and makes it easier for people to find us. And as always, please support those who help support

[00:01:12] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:01:12] us.

[00:01:38] Ted: [00:01:38] On episode 102 of this podcast. Chris interviewed Justin Quan, Michelle Andrews and Richard Ruth. They pointed out that as a profession, we have done a great job of letting our patients know that myopia is not a big deal. If you can see 2020, there is no worry. It is the high myopes that are more danger.

[00:01:56] And as they said, that message is tragic. Any myopia has a higher risk of maculopathy glaucoma and earlier cataract development in the, my site one day clinical trials, only 4% of study participants who got procure one days stayed stable in their myopia progression over the three-year period. That means you can confidently say parent by not going to a system geared to slow them out up your progression.

[00:02:20] There is a 96% chance your child's vision will get worse. This may take away some of the choice your child has in the future as to how they will correct their vision choice. Not fear of the disease associations with my OPO is what best resonates with parents when it comes to my opiate control for their children.

[00:02:38] And with Cooper visions my site one day, we now have an FDA approved, single use contact lens to lessen the progression of myopia in our patients. Contact your CooperVision representative to find out more about my site. One day contact lenses. Hello, and welcome to the vision of leadership podcast. I'm Ted Mackleroy, the host for today.

[00:02:57] And I have as my guest, my good friend, Laurie Sorensen from Texas, Laurie and I serve on an advisory board together. And we've been administrators for vision source for quite some time. So I apologize. Yeah, there's probably gonna be some. Sprinkling a vision source in this here and there, but just ignore it.

[00:03:14] If you don't really care much about vision source, that's not the important part here. It's about really getting a chance to have a good conversation with someone I really admire and enjoy speaking to. So, Laurie, thank you for being here. I really appreciate it.

[00:03:25] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:03:25] Thanks for inviting me. Certainly.

[00:03:28] Ted: [00:03:28] So just in case there's one or two people on the planet who don't know who you are, and I'm sure that's literally how many it is.

[00:03:34] Can you kind of give us your origin story as far as you know, how you got to where you are today? I know you played basketball in Oklahoma on a basketball scholarship and, you know, what, what kind of led you in optometry? How'd you make those decisions, that kind of thing.

[00:03:49] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:03:49] Okay. Well, I, you know, I start wearing typical optometrist.

[00:03:52] I started wearing glasses when I was seven years old and the second, my second visit to the optometrist, believe it or not was, my doctor was Dr. Bobby Christiansen. He actually fit me in con action on my second visit. It was his partner that I saw first, but in ninth grade, Bobby fit me in my first pair of contact lenses, which obviously helped me a lot when I started playing basketball and when I was playing basketball at that time.

[00:04:16] So that made a huge difference then. So, yeah, so in, and I don't know that that a lot of people know that Bobby. And his partner, I think his name was Baldwin, wrote a book about practice management back in the day. And so, you know, that my experience when I was in his office was superb. Right. And so I thought it was, I loved going to the eye doctor, so very different than any other, any other place.

[00:04:37] And I'm sure I probably had a skewed view of the universe of how. Good. That experience could be because I went to Bobby's practice. Cause it was, it was amazing. so I was always interested in it, I think. So at one point I was going to do Marine biology. but early on in high school I was thinking optometry in college.

[00:04:54] I, first started thinking optometry and then I switched to a math major. my family's all math people. My dad was an engineer. Both of my sisters have math, may have a bachelor's in math. One of them has a master's in math. The other one has a master's in education and working on her PhD right now.

[00:05:10]so we're definitely from a math family. And, but then I decided to switch back to optometry, which that kind of incorporates science in math obviously than, than other professions. So I liked that my mom always told me you have to go to college and you have to either be, you have to be some kind of doctor or an attorney.

[00:05:30] And so I believed her when she told me I had to do something. So I did it. so that's so that's, so I started going to, I went, I did play basketball for a year in junior college, I'm on a scholarship. And then I followed my boyfriend at the time to another school and decided not to play basketball anymore.

[00:05:45] And, the math teacher who was also the Baptist preacher and, at the school I went to at the college, we went to, Recommended that I go to the university of Houston college of optometry. So he became my advisor and told me that to go there because Oklahoma had just opened up Tahlequah. and he said it wasn't accredited for all four years and he knew Houston was a good school.

[00:06:05] So he told me to go there. So that's how I ended up there. so then when I graduated from there, I went and did an interview in Austin and just fell in love with the town. So I came to, I got two job offers, one in Dallas for. Well, I'll just tell you the money is because, it'll sound weird now, but I got a job offer for $72,000.

[00:06:24] I'm in Dallas working five days a week, and I got a second one for four days a week in Austin for $36,000. And I took the Austin one once I wanted to, I know I wanted to come to Austin. They had better equipment in their prep, in their offices. I just, I can see myself there and I couldn't see myself in, up in Dallas and in, in that particular setting.

[00:06:44] So that's how I ended up in Austin. And I first worked for these two guys. They sold out to, LensCrafters right after I joined them. So, the doctors maintain the doctor's side in the LensCrafters, took over the optical side. That didn't work real well because they had the entire Southern United States.

[00:07:01] Right. So about a year later, LensCrafters came to me that they basically weren't doing well. And, I took, I took over the, the lens crafters and, so I did that until 1995 and then opened my private practice. So for 20 years I was in one location. I'd expanded five times in that location. And then I built my building five years ago.

[00:07:24] And so now we're in a 10,500 square foot building. We have seven. Doctors, including myself.

[00:07:30] Ted: [00:07:30] How far away from your original location are you currently?

[00:07:35] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:07:35] 1.2 miles or something like that. It's right down the street and across. So it's, two lights and across the street. But the funny thing is we're in a different town because on the South side of the street is Austin on the North side of the street is Cedar park.

[00:07:49] That actually was a huge benefit because now our insurance said Cedar park. And we ended up with so many more new patients. We're just from the very beginning. And it was the, my staff and we asked why and on the insurance stuff for it to say, Cedar park actually brought us in new patients. Yeah. I had no idea that was going to be a benefit.

[00:08:11] Ted: [00:08:11] You know, it's amazing how just these little small incremental changes affects so much our lives. I mean, I'm not just talking about practice, I'm talking about just our general life as well. it's just kinda weird. I had a conversation with somebody a couple of weeks ago about this golf lesson I took for the first time ever took golf lessons.

[00:08:29] And the pro had me moved the ball back in my stance, like three inches and it made. Complete difference in everything. I was doing three inches.

[00:08:38] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:08:38] Wow. Yeah. So that's interesting. Yeah.

[00:08:41] Ted: [00:08:41] And, and I know there's probably other types of incremental growth things that you've probably had happened in your practice.

[00:08:46]I mean, what, what's something else that you've had, that's been this real small thing that seemingly at the beginning seemed like it was nothing and turn out to be so huge.

[00:08:55] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:08:55] There's so many, right. And what's, you know, you, you didn't tell me to prepare for that question. So I will tell you the weird thing.

[00:09:04] And I've talked about this in some of my lectures before the first thing that ever that pops in my mind, I'm efficiency, nut, right. And. I had a conversation with a front desk person. That was one of my one-on-ones where I was checking in with her. And I asked her what she loved about her job and what she didn't like about her job.

[00:09:18] And she said she didn't like preparing the charts for the next day. And I said, well, what all you're doing? I said, we're, we're paperless. Right. So, you know, that we have, you know, Routing slip already printed out. It's all, you know, there's not much to do. She goes, well, I have to put the name down. I have to put the appointment time.

[00:09:35] I have to put which doctor it is. I have to write down which insurance they have. I don't remember what else it was. And I, she goes, it's just tedious and it's just, I hate it. And I said, well, is there something in the, in the software where we can just print that page? And the information is there? She said, yeah, the patient pages.

[00:09:51] Everything on there. Plus some other things we would like, I go, can you just print that when the patient walks in the door, she said, yeah. I was like, so, you know, I saved about two hours of staff time from this one little tiny conversation and we've done it that way, you know, for the last nine years. And I was like, duh, why didn't we think of that before?

[00:10:09] But there's always, it's just like, there's just. Always something little like that. And I think one of the reasons some practices grow and in some pet practices don't grow as much. And I'd say, and this is just one reason, but it's that they're always looking for that little thing. W how can we know this?

[00:10:29] Just a little faster? How can we do this? Just a little better? How can we, you know, it's just one thing at a time and that builds up over the next 20, 30 years.

[00:10:38] Ted: [00:10:38] Yeah. One of the other things that happens, it's not just incremental. It's also, I think. And I'm not going to use the right word. I'd want to say scarcity, but I think it's almost constraint of having to work off of less all of a sudden, like we have this year, for instance.

[00:10:55] So, you know, what are some of the things that you changed this year for those that are listening in the future? This is 2020. so what is, what are the things that you have done this year? Because of the constraints we had with COVID that have. Made huge improvements for what you have in your practice.

[00:11:12] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:11:12] It's quite a few it's that whole concept is there's a book called pullet paper entrepreneur. He's the same author that wrote profit first. And so it's all about, so the toilet paper entrepreneur is about, you know, your. You're in the bathroom and there's only like four sheets of paper left. And so how much toilet paper do you use versus when you have a whole roll?

[00:11:32] And so, so it's all about thinking that you only have a few sheets left and that's how you run your business is like you're always, Striving to just use whatever a small amount, instead of realize that the abundance that you have in profit first works that way too. So I thank goodness. We were doing profit first before this all started.

[00:11:48] I will tell you that. And I know make clean, has heard that over and over and over, but my goodness, I'm just so grateful for that because we were, we were in, we're still running. And now, even though we have quite a bit of cash in the office, it doesn't feel that way because we keep it. We keep all that cash in different places.

[00:12:03] So we're still running it pretty lean and mean, but the things that we changed. During COVID. That I think I would like to continue for the rest of my life. Cause I've, I think it's amazing is getting the history before the patient walks in the door. That's huge. Right? I mean, it's a pain at them to do it.

[00:12:24] Right. And to make it happen. I mean, we have the online history, but to get patients to do it. Yeah. To make sure we get it done, that techs have to call if they didn't do it online. all those kinds of things, but, Oh my gosh, what a difference once that once they're in the practice, we can get them through the system so much faster.

[00:12:41] And I that's, that's huge. I'm trying to think. Oh, second biggest thing I would say is our using our drive-through more efficiently, so not everybody has a drive-through so this time might not be helpful for a lot of people. You have a drive-through

[00:12:53] Ted: [00:12:53] I have a drive-through window.

[00:12:55] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:12:55] Oh, I, so it was cool before.

[00:12:59] Now it's like one of the most brilliant moves I've ever made in my life. all of our dispenses, all of our adjustments are done through the drive-through. Now we have somebody who is assigned to the, we have two people, we have one that's at the checkout, but we have an optician who is assigned to the drive-through and, it's, that's what they do.

[00:13:18] They all day long. And we have. Shoot. What did I figure out the other day? We have close to a thousand a month go through the drive-through. Yeah, it is about a thousand a month. It is about a thousand a month. And, that's a lot. Right. And it definitely justifies having one person back here, but it keeps that thousand people didn't come inside.

[00:13:39] And right now during COVID, that's huge, but you know what? That's huge when we get back to normal too, because we're big, busy practice. We don't want to be crowded. We don't want it to be too loud. We want it to be efficient inside and not have too many people milling around. So I want to keep doing that when we're done

[00:13:54] Ted: [00:13:54] with this.

[00:13:55] I would submit to you that it's not just, I mean, what it does for us personally in our practices, but I think it's hugely beneficial for the guest because they're not having to get out of the car. you know, let's talk about mom, that's, you know, she and the baby are in the carnelian, just drive up and come to the drafter.

[00:14:11] We, when we built my building in 2002, I put that in because I had heard, Dr. Wayne would, I don't know if you've ever heard of him before we practice in Jacksonville, Florida. And he, he tells himself as being the very first. Optometric practice that he knows of where the drive-through window. And I heard him talk about this, like in 1997, I think.

[00:14:31] And when I started looking for a location, when I had decided to actually build them a property, that was the thing I was going to do. Or I was looking for a building that are had. A drive through window. And one of those was a bank that I actually saw and the guy that I talked to, it just didn't quite work out.

[00:14:47] He didn't want to sell the practice and sell the building and I wanted to have my own, so that didn't work out. So I just said, okay, I was going to put one in and it took forever for my team to really embrace the joy of having this drive through window. They kind of always looked at it as almost. Kind of in their way, a little bit.

[00:15:03] And then one day somebody kind of got some traction with it. And the most exciting thing that happened to me, it probably took about, I don't remember public teen years for us to really get into it was I walked out of, out of the back parking lot and there were three cars backed up to get to their drive through window.

[00:15:19] I thought we have finally figured this out, you know, and that's, you know, and then it drops off, but now it's been a constant flow through that, through that window.

[00:15:27] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:15:27] And ours is a door.

[00:15:30] Ted: [00:15:30] Even better.

[00:15:32] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:15:32] I, especially right now. So for us, cause it can get backed up. Obviously I still said there's a thousand that come through there, so we will send out a, we have a pager system.

[00:15:40] And so if there it starts getting backed up, they send a pager, said helping the drive through and people will come out there. The walk just like Chick-fil-A does right. They'll walk down and people go to the third or the fourth car and go get their glasses. And by the time they get the glass, everything, usually they're up to the door by then, but we'd get everybody just runs and goes and helps and gets the drive-through all caught back up.

[00:16:01] But I think that's cool. I mean, I think as a patient, they're going to go, wow. I can't believe that. And so we had to have some systems cause we use. I mean, we never got backed up before we did maybe 10 a day. Now we're doing 40 or 50 a day. I mean, it's a ton coming through there. And, but yeah, I, I saw the drive-through door at Sarah Yodlee's practice out in, Hadow and was something about she couldn't do window.

[00:16:24] They told her she had to do a door and she was disappointed. And I said, no, this is the coolest thing ever. And I'm now I'm really grateful. We have a door instead of a window, but. Yeah, that'll

[00:16:34] Ted: [00:16:34] be a wee bit of a structural change for me to have to go through that. Right,

[00:16:39] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:16:39] exactly.

[00:16:40] Ted: [00:16:40] But, you know, yeah. That I had talked about when I've done talks about, business in, I care, I have talked about our drive through window and invariably, I will get somebody to say, well, you know, I'm in the strip mall or something like that.

[00:16:54] And we'll say, well, I can't do a draft there. I said, yeah, you can. You've got one right now. It's called a phone. You just have people call when they get there and you just take it out to their car. And suddenly now that's what people are doing, you know? And, you know, I, I want to say I was before my time.

[00:17:10] Unfortunately, I'm like that, that person that had vented the first, MP3 player, I'm no longer in business with that idea. Apple took it and ran with it, you know? So I'm, I'm in trouble. So,

[00:17:22] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:17:22] well, I tried the online history thing, getting patients to do that. Yeah. Four years. Yep. And, we did contests, we did all kinds of stuff.

[00:17:30] The highest we ever got was 15% of our patients doing it. And now it's about, I don't even know for sure. It's some somewhere around 70 to 80% and do the online. And then we call for the rest of the people, but almost a hundred percent of our patients have their history done before they walk in the door.

[00:17:44] Ted: [00:17:44] So what do you think the biggest hangout was with that? When you were at the 15%, what was it that was standing in their way to do that?

[00:17:51] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:17:51] So there were several things, there were some logistical things, our online history doing, and the form itself wasn't quite as friendly as it is now. and I think, I think it's part was partly my leadership.

[00:18:05] I think that even though I really wanted to do it, I didn't. I didn't, I wasn't able to tell the why as well as I should have. And now the why is so important and such a big thing that it's very easy for me to tell them the why, and the why resonates with them. So I think I didn't get the why in there, and I probably didn't allocate the resources.

[00:18:27] To make sure it happened every day. So right now it's like, this is do or die. We're going to make it happen and it wasn't do or die before it was, I think this would be better. And so it was really hard to, I couldn't implement it. I tried, I gave up, I tried off and on for three years and I gave up. And so I hadn't even tried again for the last, probably five years, maybe six years.

[00:18:47] And, so. Maybe it would have worked better if I'd tried it again a few years ago, but we're going to definitely keep doing that.

[00:18:55] Ted: [00:18:55] It's really refreshing that you said it was part, I think it was a lot of my leadership. I I've got, a mentor of mine who says a lot. What in your leadership? Caused this result.

[00:19:07] And he's typically talking about a result that didn't go so well. And he that's the question he asked himself. And I, I think I have been really internalizing that question a lot more since I heard him say this a few years ago. So where are some other things that you have seen that your leadership has maybe been the cause of some of the lids that you've run into of getting to this next step?

[00:19:33] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:19:33] All of them here. I think every time we, I think that's the only way to look at something that's not working right. Is to say, to look in the mirror and say, what can I do differently to. To change this or to, or what did I not do? And that's why it didn't happen. I mean, I think that's the only way you can do that as a leader in an, an and or a manager.

[00:19:57] And then sometimes it's you look at it and go, I have done everything I can do to make this successful, which is how I felt about the online history stuff at the time. I'm not sure that was true. and I said it doesn't, I can't make it happen. I can't make this work. I'm trying to think of something else that we've done.

[00:20:12] Oh, I don't want to bring it up actually. Let's just say we were trying to implement something in our practice and we worked really hard and did everything right. And it just didn't quite work. And, I said, okay, we, we tried it and we gave it two months and it's worse. It's, it's causing more time on the staff, than, than it did before.

[00:20:33] And you guys gave it your two months you'd gave it me your all, I feel like you really tried it. And we really worked through the whole system. It's not the right thing for us to do, so we're going to stop. So that's one of my big things. When I, when I start something new with the staff, you know, you tell them what you're going to do.

[00:20:49] You tell them why we're going to do it. And then you ask them if they're in the last thing, I usually tell them after I asked them if there's any issues that they can see with it and work through. That is the last thing I say is, we're going to try this for three months. And if it doesn't work, we'll stop, but I need you to, you know, give it your, all these three months.

[00:21:07] Don't just like, pretend you're doing it or not try hard. cause if it's not working, you've shown me. It's not working. We're going to stop most of the time. It works. Right. If you get everybody on board. but I have definitely tried some things where it did not work. And I said, okay, And some of it's like technology stuff.

[00:21:25] We were trying to do some kind of technology thing at the contact lens area. that looked really cool and it was on an iPad and you could show patients all, but the information and the costs and what insurance covered and all that stuff. And it just didn't work in our office. Cause we already had a system that was doing that.

[00:21:41] That was way more efficient, but we did it for three solid months. Did it on every single patient. I took out all the way we were doing it before and it just took more time. And it, and it didn't work as well. And so we quit. So

[00:21:54] Ted: [00:21:54] this is not surprising to me, given your background that you said with your family history is with engineering and math and stuff.

[00:22:02] That experimentation starts playing a role in how you handle your business. And, you know, so. Is three months, a typical length of time for experiments, or you know, or how, how do you decide maybe it needs to go longer. Maybe. Have you ever gotten to a point where you realized, okay, three months is way too long?

[00:22:22] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:22:22] Oh yeah. So I say three months to get them in the right mindset, but my mindset is I can pull the plug anytime. I feel like I should. and sometimes things have we, I wish I could remember a couple of things, but I trust me, I have pulled the plug after. Two weeks, three weeks, several times, quite a few times.

[00:22:38]I did on one project recently and it just, it just didn't make sense. and as we started implementing, I started going, I'm just not sure this is going to work inside my head, but I didn't tell them that. So I pulled the plug on that one after about three weeks. But like you said, I'm always trying something, to make things better for the patient and for the staff and it doesn't always work.

[00:22:59] Ted: [00:22:59] How much of that do you think makes it exciting for your team to be doing these new things and how much of this stuff becomes just, well, it's kind of like the guy who says, you know, limit Hold'em poker is hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

[00:23:19] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:23:19] So. I'm I would say 95% of my staff hates change.

[00:23:27] And I always tell them that on day one, when I hire them, I know most people don't like change, but you better get used to it here because we're always going to be changing because if you're not changing, you're going backwards. And so we're always trying to improve. So I try to let them know that one of my, employees has been with me for.

[00:23:44] 30 years now. Wow. And if there is, she's not my, she's not my longest one. but if there's one person in the universe that hates change more than anyone, it is this woman. And, but she actually, now it stresses her don't get me wrong, but she really takes pride in. That, that we're always trying to better ourselves.

[00:24:05] So I think with the right communication, if your employees respect you and they trust you, when you do a good job of telling them why, why, and making sure that you've answered all their questions, and don't throw too, and that's a huge one. Don't throw too many things on them at once trying to implement more than one thing at a time is just, you're asking for sheer disaster.

[00:24:24] In my opinion, you know, the, what is the, great, Ron Swanson said, hold last one thing. Never have asked two things. Right. I really try hard and that's hard for me because I'm wanting to do 10 things at one time. so I try really hard to do that at work it's just to the whole ass, one thing. Do

[00:24:42] Ted: [00:24:42] you have like a punch list of your things that you're going to do?

[00:24:45]so you're like, okay, I've got this, this was broader. Number one, but Hey, in about six months, this is going to be priority. Number one,

[00:24:52] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:24:52] I actually have a list in my it's in my inbox. It's on a piece of paper that is on the bottom of my inbox. So when I completely clean out my inbox, it's my reminder of all these things that I want to do.

[00:25:02] And sometimes I'll bring that to the forefront and that goes on another piece of paper that's on my desk. To remind me every single day that that's something I want to get to next.

[00:25:13] Ted: [00:25:13] Maybe what we should do also is almost show link notes. I should have you take a picture of your desk and take a picture of my desk and we can fight for his desk.

[00:25:23] I think it's going to be similar. You have done such a wonderful job. And actually, this is one of the things that I know most about you is you're you're. Ability to really influence your team and to grow your team and to turn them in to what they want to be. And I mean that in a, in the best way. So what are the things that you do to, to really promote your, your team, to where they understand they are truly important to you?

[00:25:50] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:25:50] I think that is huge because it's. There's so many pieces to that one is that you really have to get to know each person. And of course, you know, we have 47 people in our office now, so it's hard for me to get to know them. One-on-one so their managers, their direct managers have to get to know them really well and be able to relay that.

[00:26:10] And one of the big things is figuring out their strengths. Right. what, what did they do the best in, in, I think another thing about looking in the mirror is if somebody is, I sent something out on our listserv just recently. if some, if somebody is not doing well in their job, it's very easy as a manager, owner operator or whatever, to look at that person say, they're not doing their job well, Or they're making mistakes when in reality, it's, it's our fault that they're not doing well.

[00:26:37] The vast majority of the time, right? They're either not being trained. Right. Which unfortunately was us a lot at the, until recently we're much better now. or they're just in the wrong position, their strengths don't fit into that position. Now sometimes you'll have somebody who their strengths don't fit into any of your positions in their office and it's time to let them go on and find their bliss elsewhere.

[00:26:58] Right. And, but most of the time it's because they're in the wrong. I can't tell you how many times we've moved somebody from one position to another, and now they're a superstar. You know, that they're, they're really good. And, and. I think those I've talked about those one-on-one meetings and how important they are.

[00:27:14] I think that's a great place to find strengths. but I also think it's a great way to, tell the person, who might not be obvious. Believe the most important person in the office, let's say, it's the person who's pulling the insurance for all the doctors. Right. they don't get that feedback. They only actually get feedback when they didn't pull the insurance.

[00:27:34] Right. When they didn't get all the information. Right. They don't get, Oh, good job. Holding that insurance, you got all the insurance because that's what their job is. Right. so telling them how. How important is that they got there in that they do that well, and that if they didn't do that well, then the, then the doctor couldn't do their job correctly.

[00:27:53] The billing person couldn't do their job correctly. The patient would be upset and we wouldn't be doing giving a wow to all our patients, how important every single job in our office is. And you have to communicate that with them and you have to tell them over and over. Okay. I'll give you one little thing that I do free.

[00:28:09] I did it to two people today is I have this little, these little note pads and they're funny little notepads that says something like you're awesome. One of them says, one of them says you rock. And then there's these little boxes that have different things. Like, you know, you're the team player. Are you.

[00:28:27] Pick up where everybody else, you know, pick up for everybody else, whatever it is, it has all these new market. And then on the bottom, there's a place to write a little note. So it'll say like today, I forgot which box I wrote for Debbie and, and at the bottom, I said, I've heard that the opticians think you are a hero out there.

[00:28:45] Cause you're always out there helping them disinfect the frames and put things up. I appreciate you. And so I usually try to do four or five of those notes, every single. Week, today I did two of them, because we also, we did not. I told you we did, 10 exams for the salvation army in this morning.

[00:29:04] And, one of the front desk people was late. So one of my opticians went up to the front and he just kinda took it all over and got all the guys going, where they were supposed to go and did such a great job and basically saved the day. So I, you know, wrote a note about him being a hero for the front desk and for the salvation army man this morning.

[00:29:21] So I think that's huge too. Right. So that's a little thing that they've done, but it's huge. And you have to tell them though,

[00:29:28] Ted: [00:29:28] So your one to ones, let's go back to that for a second, because I I'm, I'm a shit how you do yours. I, I do them as well. How many of those are you doing a week? what do you do in your one to ones?

[00:29:40] How do you sort of process that whole thing?

[00:29:43] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:29:43] Well, it's evolved since the whole COVID stuff. And honestly, some of the books that I've been reading more lately, I realized that we. need to do a meet. We were doing where we made sure that each manager hit their team. At least once. in a quarter for a 15, 20 minute one-on-one and we had a specific question, a lead in question, it might be, what do you like best and what do you like least about your job?

[00:30:08] It could be. What do you think is your, best strength in your job? what would you like to work on? And, and, and let's talk about who we can and we're what would you like to learn? And let's talk about how we can make that happen. so we would change that once a quarter, but I just read, One of the, I just, re-read another one of the books that I like.

[00:30:28]and I'm trying to think which book it was, but he said, if you can't meet with all the people that as a manager, if you can't meet with each person, at least once a week and check in with them once a week, then you have too many people. Wow. Yes. He felt very strongly that you need to be checking in with each person once a week.

[00:30:51] I don't think it needed to be, he wasn't talking about a really long one. Then the main question is, of course this was a big business type book was more about what is your week look like and what do you have plans this week? And how can I help you this week? That doesn't really follow us so much. but it could be just, how are things for me a lot of times it's how are things going on at home?

[00:31:09] Or how, how, how did things work last week? but we usually still have some kind of theme. I will tell you right now, the thing that we're working on, on all our one-on-ones and we're making sure that we get that question answered, is, what do you think your strengths are at the office? What do you do well?

[00:31:25] And then that way we can maybe talk about how we can use that strength a little bit more in their position.

[00:31:31] Ted: [00:31:31] So what's been the most surprising answer you've gotten out of that so far.

[00:31:34]Laurie Sorrenson: [00:31:34] well, I, my one-on-ones are with the doctors, so I just talked to the doctors. And so that's a pretty easy one that they like working with the kids or with the older people, all of that.

[00:31:43] And the, the managers. I can't remember when that was super surprising. Oh, there is one. whew. This has been a godsend. I will tell you one of my opticians loves training. Wow. Yeah. Wow. Everybody hates training and, you know, we have this whole training, methodology now, so she can do it. Not only does she like doing it, I have given her tools to do it well, excuse me.

[00:32:12] And, so. I think we're going to, I'm going to create this superstar role for her in the office as a, as the trainer and send her and make her the best optician that ever was the most knowledgeable, the most educated so that her, she is a trainer she can just use and also teach her how to train better, to take cinder to classes where she can train better also.

[00:32:37] So I found something that she, she says it makes her, Feel, more, I don't know. I forgot the word she used, but yeah, I fulfilled. That's what she says. She said it feels like it fulfills me. And I think she had been looking for something like that where her job was more fulfilling than it is right now.

[00:32:56] And we found it. So you find something like that, man, pouring resources into that I think will, pay you back in dividends.

[00:33:04] Ted: [00:33:04] So, I mean, as far as the level, so was she, she, was she a manager type kind of position? Was she more mid-level? Was she just starting out? I mean, you know,

[00:33:17] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:33:17] Five six, seven years.

[00:33:18] Optical experience has been with me for three or four years. She's definitely one of my, yeah, super long for me, but she's definitely, you know, part of our universe for sure. And she is definitely one of our favorite, our patients' favorite floor opticians. She's very outgoing, very playful personality, and, very stylish.

[00:33:39] And so she was definitely, you know, we loved the idea of her training before, just because she's a good optician. Right. but I don't think her knowledge base might not be as much as some of the other. I've got people that have got. 40 years of up to optical experience there, I've got a couple of them.

[00:33:53] And, so you would think you'd want them to train, but that's not necessarily the right thing. Right? Right. And, that list that we created for vision source on what to train on what day and, and the checklist and all that man that has worked, that, that just gives you this framework. If you get somebody that likes to train really, really helps.

[00:34:14] Ted: [00:34:14] Yeah. I mean, one of the things also, Laurie, I really admire about you is that of all the people I know you probably are more on it than anybody I've ever met. And, and I'll, I'll speak to this, to those that don't get a chance. Lorian and McClain who she, he, she talked about earlier. Who's another dear friend of mine, actually, you know, our classmates from optometry school and have known each other.

[00:34:35] I mean, we're, we're, we've been good friends since, 1989. I mean, really good friends too. And so it's. They are heading up a program for, for a vision source called the business of optometry. And it's all about really the fact that, and one of the things I really like about the fact is the word business is in the title of this instead of practice management.

[00:34:56] And that's that thing there by roles, or knows that when you say that out loud in any mixture of people, I really am glad we're trying to get rid of the word practice management, but the business of optometry and it started off in Laurie. Your thing was really about this. The team and really pouring into the team and making sure they are, are viable and mixed thing was the finance and, you know, profit first and a lot of those kinds of things.

[00:35:18] And then COVID hit. And, so I guess the first question is whose decision was it? To change the way boo went, as far as it turning into this online bulletin board type kind of thing. And the second question to follow that up is how often are you not looking at that list? Because it seems like every single time there's a title of something you have response to it.

[00:35:44] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:35:44] I do feel very responsible for my list serve. I feel like it's, it's like, it's my little family that I need to make sure everybody's getting taken care of. yeah. And, and then a mirror Kushner has asked me to do a synopsis for every week. I used to do it every day, but now I'm doing it every week, to post.

[00:36:00] And that actually helps me. I have to reread every single email again. and so then I see some people who might've fallen through the cracks with a question or something. So I'm constantly doing that too. So I enjoy that part. I mean that, you know, I don't know why that's. In my wheelhouse, but I enjoy the heck out of monitoring that listserv and answering questions and watching people help each other on that list serve.

[00:36:25] I think, I think it's huge. So I'll tell you the, the, what happened was, you know, we did the business of optometry and we actually had. a section on the, on the website, you know, on the insight, the website that vision source has, where all the people who had gone through it were supposed to talk to each other and, you know, discuss everything.

[00:36:43] And we didn't get very, it was not very well used. I kept begging to Donna Michael Leckie, will you let me just do a list, serve. I already do a list serve with all my Texas ODS. you know, I own the Lynn's serve and I, and I just run it. And, that's always been really helpful. And she finally said, yeah, but don't tell anybody that was initially, and she saw how successful it was.

[00:37:08] And then COVID like you said, it was going well. And I think people were thinking good things about it already. And then COVID hit in the number of emails on that list or per day we're in the hundreds. Yeah. Yeah. I mean,

[00:37:22] Ted: [00:37:22] my box was getting way over full and I was having a hard time just keeping up with, I mean, I would, I would glance through the topics and I can't read that one.

[00:37:30] Can't read that and we can't read that. Oh, that's something good. I think I'll watch that one, you know,

[00:37:33] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:37:33] and that's how it's supposed to work. Right? Of course I read them all. The good thing is, and I said this in an, in an interview about, why this kind of thing works for me is I read really, really fast.

[00:37:44] My mother read really fast. She read faster than I do, but I read weirdly fast. So I can get through stuff like that way faster than I think than most people can. So I think that's one reason I can kind of process all that stuff a lot more lot faster, a lot more easily just, and even like looking at government sites and figuring out stuff for the cares act and HHS and all that stuff I can read through it so quickly.

[00:38:04] And I've read so much legislation over time that it's, I don't think it's as hard for me because of that.

[00:38:11] Ted: [00:38:11] That's incredible. one of the reasons that you actually ended up, well, I mean, I was, I had you on my short list already, but, Kurt steel, our good friend. I said, have you asked steal more from Lori Sorenson than anyone?

[00:38:25] I know. Who do you steal from?

[00:38:29] Laurie Sorrenson: [00:38:29] Oh, John Todd, cornet, Amarillo, Texas. He is one of the most brilliant business minds of anybody. I probably steal from him that by far the most, if you looked at my practice and saw his practice, you would see a lot. I've had somebody walk, a vendor, walk into my practice and go, this is the prettiest office.