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CareerBuilder Leadership Series: Spotlight on Dan Connors, CEO of Physiotherapy

A key success factor in this business is attracting, recruiting and retaining the best people. Period.

In the following interview, Physiotherapy Associates CEO Dan Connors discusses how people have an impact on business on a day-to-day basis, the link between passion and performance, and the key to finding and retaining great people.

What is your philosophy about your employees and the impact that they have on the business? 

I’m sure every business says this, but in our business especially, our people are the most important asset we have and, really, the only thing that drives our business.  We have 650 clinics around the country.  Our Associates help patients improve their quality of life through rehabilitation, be it to treat a traumatic injury, improve post-surgical recovery, or gain greater flexibility and mobility. Much like a professional services firm, our people are our only asset. We place a very high level of importance on our Associates by recruiting the right people and making a conscious effort to retain them.

What type of person do you look for in an employee?

First, we have licensure requirements.  Physical therapists are licensed in the given states in which they will be treating patients.  In addition, we look for someone who is passionate for this profession.  This is a caregiving business, so having someone who is emphatic toward other people is extremely important. We also look for someone who is very results-oriented for two reasons: First, physical therapy is about obtaining results for the patient, and that needs to be the whole mindset of the caregiver. Second, we look for people who enjoy the business end of physical therapy. The clinic directors in each of our locations have the comfort of running their own businesses, hiring their own staffs and being responsible for their own profit and loss, all in the context of the foundation, support and financial stability of a large organization.

How do you tie those personality traits to office performance?

The quality of our Associates is directly tied to the performance of our clinics. We have clinics that have been in our upper quartile, performance-wise, for years because of the quality Associates there.Likewise, when we bring strong new talent to an under-performing clinic, our results improve dramatically. Our business is 100 percent people dependent.

 

How much time are you able to spend with the employees of this organization? 

There’s never enough time! It is one of the challenges of a distributed organization like ours.  I try to visit around 50 or so of our clinics yearly, and it’s one of my favorite things to do. But we also make sure to supplement these visits with both formal and informal communication channels. First, every person in the company knows they can pick up the phone and call or email me directly…and plenty do! We try to be very informal and encourage everyone to communicate with each other, and we also have formal channels as well to ensure constant, consistent communication with our Associates.

Can you tell me about the “Be the Best @ Physio” program?

 

A key success factor in this business is attracting, recruiting and retaining the best people. Period. So we take a very decided and holistic approach to our relationship with our Associates. “Be the Best @ Physio” is a program comprised of six different pillars: communication; compensation and benefits; community service; work environment; career path; and rewards and recognition.  Those pillars make up the basis of our relationship with our Associates. We have both informal and formal things we do weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually under each of these pillars to ensure that we have the best relationship possible with our Associates.

What’s the most important leadership decision you’ve made?

 

That’s relatively easy.  It’s a decision that I always try to make at some point in my tenure with a company, and that is to be the best company in our industry.  It’s a decision that you don’t take lightly, because it has ramifications, but we decided as a management team that we want to be the best in our business.  We committed with eyes open as to what that means in terms of personal commitment of time and going the extra mile.  In many ways, it’s very liberating because it makes some decisions very easy. For example, hiring decisions become easier when you will only settle for a world-class candidate, and decisions to invest in the latest technologies become easier. It’s challenging, but it’s very energizing, too! For our organization, “good enough” is never good enough. Our goal is to be the best provider in the outpatient rehabilitation and O&P space, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to make that happen.

ABOUT DAN CONNORS: As Chief Executive Officer of Physiotherapy Associates, Dan leverages the company’s strong foundation of clinical care to establish it as the clear leader in the outpatient rehabilitation and orthotics and prosthetics industry. Dan has more than 25 years of experience in leading customer-centric businesses. Prior to Physiotherapy Associates, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Wire One Communications, Inc., where he led the company’s turnaround and its sale to British Telecom. Dan began his business career with Bain & Company and has held executive positions with HQ Global Workplaces, Inc. and Wang Laboratories, Inc, and FedEx Kinko’s. Before pursuing a career in business, Dan was a lawyer for a prominent Washington D.C. law firm and in the Air Force General Counsel’s Office at The Pentagon. Dan earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame and his MBA from The Wharton School. He also holds law degrees from Georgetown University and The Ohio State University.

ABOUT PHYSIOTHERAPY ASSOCIATES: As the nation’s foremost provider of outpatient rehabilitation services, Physiotherapy Associates employs an industry-leading team of physical therapists and healthcare practitioners who are dedicated to high-quality patient care. With a comprehensive set of services – including physical therapy, occupational therapy, sports medicine, industrial rehabilitation, craniofascial therapy, women’s health, pre-op rehabilitation, and orthotics and prosthetics – the company’s clinics are well-equipped to treat millions of patients who have a wide variety of conditions. All Physiotherapy Associates clinics are staffed by licensed physical therapists who provide individualized plans of treatment for patients. Providing one-on-one care to patients continues to be the hallmark of the company. With more than 600 clinics, Physiotherapy Associates is national in scope, local in care.

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.
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