2022 Innovator of the Year
This year’s Ascend marked a triumphant return to in-person events, and despite the interim, the event lost none of its verve and enthusiasm, as speakers and attendees alike shared their thoughts and feelings on the state of the PT industry and what PTs can do to change and adapt to new realities.
It’s fitting, then, that this year’s Ascend Innovator of the Year award winner exemplifies the notion of trying new and different things to keep pace with the times. I had the pleasure of speaking with Rehab 2 Perform’s (R2P) founder and CEO, Dr. Josh Funk, about what he and his team have built and the factors behind their success. His clinics have managed remarkable growth (they now have seven facilities with more on the way) while maintaining tremendous patient satisfaction and outcomes, and have deployed some innovative marketing strategies to get R2P’s name out in the community at large. Check out the interview below!
Tell me about Rehab 2 Perform. What is your culture like? What makes you stand out from the competition?
Rehab 2 Perform is an embodiment of the modern workplace, largely centered around conscious culture. As we were quick to realize that yesterday’s business practices just won’t cut it with today’s workforce, we have been able to engage and mobilize a mostly millennial workforce around principles that will ground the future of business.
One of the first things that comes to mind when I think about our culture is the word alignment. We have a team that is aligned on its core values and operating principles, which makes the workplace extremely enjoyable and productive. We try new things together, we learn together, and we grow together. We give employees individual autonomy—everyone has the opportunity to operate like an owner. To that point, we have a much more circular org chart as opposed to a hierarchical one, giving anyone the chance to “drive the spaceship” when the time is right.
We’re also big believers in the interdependence between one’s personal and work lives. We make it a point of emphasis to get to know what makes our employees tick, what fills them up, and what enables them to be at their best. By making the focus on the individual, we know that this will lead to a much more fulfilled, and happier teammate when we get their time with us.
What are your core values, and how do you make sure that your staff are embodying them every day?
Our core values are found on the walls of every R2P building for teammates and patients to see on a regular basis throughout their day. They ground our thoughts and actions as we operate, and make decisions throughout the course of our days. Our core values are:
Client First/Patient First
Education & Empowerment
Control the Controllables
- Our Role
- Our Team
- Our Community
It starts with building an environment which prioritizes the client or patient. We have learned over recent years that a patient-centered approach to care is an absolute game-changer when it comes to driving ideal outcomes. A big part of that is creating things that benefit the patient, and that the patient “feels,” which leads us directly to education and empowerment. These two words are so central to our mission at R2P, and are important not only when it comes to patient care, but also to our team. An environment that prioritizes education and empowerment for the people receiving the service and those providing the service truly sees a tenfold impact.
What sort of patients do you typically see, and how do they find you?
Most of our patients are competitive athletes, active adults, and others who are looking for some help to be more active in their daily lives. Most aren’t referrals; however, I would say less than 20% come to us via physician referral. Instead, we’ve cultivated an ecosystem of marketing relationships with businesses, youth sports leagues, schools, fitness centers, and medical facilities to get the word out about R2P and our services.
We have always made it a point to be a community-facing organization, and we have done exactly that over the years. Whether it is events with the chamber of commerce, career days at the local school, doing talks for a group of trainers, or running injury risk screening for a youth sports organization, R2P is everywhere!
You make a point of noting that your clinics are more like fitness centers than a doctor’s offices. What about that setup do you think allows you to achieve the best treatment for your patients?
We’ve endeavored to create an environment where people don’t feel like physical therapy is a grudge purchase. We pride ourselves on creating a “Get To” environment as opposed to a “Have To” environment. We want patients to say that they get to go to the gym in order to feel better and improve their lives rather than feeling like they have to go to PT, as they do about other healthcare experiences.
Most people don’t have a very positive experience with doctors or the healthcare system in general—between the cold, sterile environment, the scrubs and white coats, and the confusing medical jargon tossed around, it’s no wonder that many people are nervous to make appointments, even when they need care.
To that end, we strive for an environment that feels more like an athletic training room, a barber shop, or your local neighborhood bar. We try to keep things active and engaging for our patients, whether it’s through the Banter Board which has a random Q&A each week, or the motivational quotes and positive affirmations posted on our walls, including our favorite, “Be > Yesterday.” We also use things like modern music (Post Malone, Lizzo, and Kygo come to mind), a casual dress code with our staff (as well as “Tiger Woods Tuesdays”), and using layman’s terms when talking about treatment to make the whole experience feel more comfortable when they come in. Most importantly, we center the patient’s journey around self-actualization so that they can leave feeling a sense of accomplishment with each session.
You’ve seen impressive growth in your business. What have been the key drivers of that success, in your view?
One of the most important drivers has been the investment in our people. If you find the right people, you should do everything you can to help them maximize their potential and what they can bring to the team. I am a big believer that everyone is a free agent and we treat them as such in that we want to place their goals, dreams, and ambitions at the forefront of our efforts.
We’ve also spent a lot of time cultivating connections with the community so that we can have that relationship and reputation when people are in need of a PT. R2P is top of mind when it comes to solving peoples’ problems because of our deep roots in the medical, fitness, youth sports, school, business, and veteran communities.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our full-time media team. We have an in-house videographer and video editor who have helped us not only make our social media platforms more engaging and impactful, but have also helped tremendously in getting our podcasts off the ground.
I will end with one of the most significant drivers of our growth, which is our mindset of competing with process. One of our operating principles is to have a beginner’s mindset, or to be curious in every situation. When you bring that mindset to your processes, situations, circumstances, and experiences each day, you continue to iterate on what you are currently doing, and how to make things better. This reframes the standard viewpoint of competing with others and instead drives competition within yourself, to continually find ways to elevate the things you are in control of each day.
What has been one of your biggest lessons learned as a business owner?
The biggest thing I’ve learned personally is that the modern leader has to act and operate differently than leaders in years past. Bringing it back to sports, I liken it to the idea of being a “player’s coach” versus the more authoritarian model we’ve seen throughout the history of professional sports, as well as in depictions of coaches in TV or film. The latter may have worked in the past, but people want to be treated with respect and empathy even as you’re pushing them to achieve their best—athletes and healthcare professionals alike.
Another area that this ties into is how I think leadership needs to be demonstrated. In my earlier years, I was big on “talk the talk and walk the walk” from a leadership standpoint. I thought that by communicating and demonstrating the “what” and “how” things needed to be done, that I was doing enough. That by doing what I could do to push myself, challenge myself, and grow into the best version of myself, others would see that and follow suit.
Little did I know that this would not resonate with the modern professional, who doesn’t just want to hear and see a leader do things a certain way on their path to self-actualization; they want to be in an environment where someone is invested in them becoming the best version of themselves. This is where being a growth leader comes in. A growth leader has found the path to reaching their potential, and does everything they can to ensure that others find the process and path as well. It’s a more active and collaborative form of leadership that definitely resonates with the younger generations.
What’s next for Rehab 2 Perform?
Honestly, there’s only so much I can share. There are some things that are set in stone, such as new brick and mortar locations, new services, and new continuing education courses. We have something bigger on our plate that I don’t want to get too far ahead of, but it’s one of those few opportunities in life where we get to swing for the fences and do something big. I feel incredibly blessed to have assembled the Avengers over these past few years, and I am really excited to see what the future holds.