President's Perspective May 2016

Sean T. Grambary, DPM, FACFAS

Working with You
"Make sure the team members know they're working with you, not for you."—John Wooden, Basketball Hall of Fame Coach and Player 
Sean T. Grambart, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

When playing basketball, Coach Wooden’s quote makes sense: You are a member of a team with a goal in mind—to win the game. But, when applying this to our foot and ankle practices, it can be more difficult.

As a physician, you are expected to be the leader of the team and to provide support to your nurses, medical assistants, front desk people, residents and students when they have questions or concerns. When you are having a good day in the office or OR, that is an easy thing to do. However, we’ve all had those other days where everything seems to be heading in the wrong direction. You are running an hour behind in the OR, you have “that patient” on your clinic schedule who is going to take an hour just to talk with him or her, the work list is growing faster than you can imagine, and another person just showed up at the front desk demanding to be seen today. These are the days that I can forget we are a team working together and instead make my staff feel they are working for me. I need to wallpaper my office with Coach Wooden’s quote as a daily reminder that my office team and I are working together to achieve the goal of the best patient care possible.

The same principle behind Coach Wooden’s quote applies to the College. Every time the ACFAS Board of Directors meets, it reaffirms that as an elected board, we are working together with ACFAS members and staff to achieve the same goals. The question is, “What are the goals of the ACFAS Team and how do we achieve these goals?”

We needn’t look further than our ACFAS website and our Strategic Compass, which consists of:

Our Vision
To serve society as the preeminent source of knowledge for foot and ankle surgery.

Our Mission
To advance the competency of our members and the care of our patients.

And, to guide us in our vision and mission, we have our six strategic initiatives:

1. Deliver superior continuing medical education to enhance competency at every level of professional training.
2. Define and promote the specialty of foot and ankle surgery to patients, government, the media and the healthcare community at large.
3. Advance scientific and clinical research to maintain leading-edge competency among our members.
4. Represent the specialty through public advocacy.
5. Improve the surgeon’s practice management expertise.
6. Employ strategic governance and adopt the best practices of medical association management.

And behind the strategic initiatives, our Business Plan has 200 tactics that our 15 committees address every year.

When the ACFAS Board meets, we review the entire Strategic Compass, including the Business Plan, to make sure we’re on course to achieve our Mission and Vision. Outside consultants whom we use periodically always comment on how well ACFAS uses its Strategic compass to help set goals for the future.

But all this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. YOU—our members—drive these strategic initiatives through our Practice, Member and CME surveys, rotated every three years. We constantly tweak the plan and tactics, based on survey input, to keep us in sync with changing member needs.

For example, if the members rate an item as important and they rate the College’s performance on that item as poor, the large gap needs to be eliminated. The Board then refocuses efforts to place more time, effort and finances on that goal to ensure the College is achieving what our members want.

In previous surveys, our members have reiterated to the Board how important it is to define and promote the specialty of foot and ankle surgery to the healthcare community. In response, the Board recently approved a $1.2 million dollar public relations campaign “Take a New Look at Foot and Ankle Surgeons,” which focuses on building awareness of our specialty among key referrers (nurse practitioners, family physicians and diabetes educators) to encourage greater numbers of patient referrals to our practices.

This is a great step for our team to achieve one of its most sought-after goals, and I look forward to watching the campaign unfold and seeing the results.

I encourage all our members to take a step back and look not only at our own ACFAS team, but also at your individual practice teams and remember Coach Wooden’s quote. When we all work together as a team, great things can be accomplished for us individually, as well as for the greater picture of our patients and the future of our profession.

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