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March 2008 Archives
Is competition actually a form of envy and jealousy?
I meet some chiropractors who, instead of reaching out to the new chiropractor in town or supportive of the chiropractor down the street who uses a vastly different technique, are inclined to see these as competitors. To be destroyed and eliminated!
This zero sum game of thinking comes from the misguided notion that there is a finite number of new patients to go around. Apparently, so the thinking goes, if those other chiropractors get new patients then you won’t get them.
This is absurd.
Turns out, if more people in your community understood chiropractic, there would be such a demand for what you do there wouldn’t be enough chiropractors to go around! A shortage of new patients simply means you haven’t been telling the chiropractic story to enough strangers. When you create new patients you no longer have to compete for new patients.
I was interviewed this morning by a writer assigned by the ACA to explore the subject of cash practices. I think someone may have tipped off her editor that I had done some seminars about the cash practice in New Jersey and California and created a three-CD program for chiropractors called Converting to Cash.
While I love asking questions, I love being asked questions even more. And there were some good ones! Perhaps one of the most significant was, “What should a practitioner keep in mind before converting their practice to cash?”
Naturally, I talked about the income “dip” that happens temporarily afterwards and the importance of having one’s own financial house in order first. But something else came up that hadn’t come up before.
Continue reading "The ACA Cash Practice Interview" »
Sure, we were all told in elementary school that “there’s no such thing as a stupid question.” And it’s true, I think asking questions is the key to true patient education and understanding. But I think we can all agree that the question asked on many new patient admitting forms if not stupid, is at least ineffective.
The question has several variants, but generally follows a structure similar to this:
My goal for seeking care in this office:
[ ] Help with my most immediate problem
[ ] Help with my current problem and preventing its return
[ ] Help obtaining optimum function, health and well-being
At first glance, this appears to be a brilliant question, maybe even helpful in designing a care plan that will best reflect what the patient wants. Yet, give this question even the most superficial consideration and you’ll see why it’s such a waste of time.
Continue reading "Do You Ask This Ineffective Question?" »
It takes a loose arm to throw a fastball.
Tension, whether physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual, is a defense mechanism; a form of self protection. When you show up tense, guarded or what seems to pass for "professional," patients often interpret your demeanor as cause for worry, a lack of confidence or uncertainty.
That's not permission to be casual, indifferent or flip. Instead, assume the body language of someone who has "been there, done that." You take on the posture of "Sure, we see this all the time." You project the confidence of someone who has total faith in the principles of chiropractic and the patient's self-healing capabilities. Simply put, you show up certain and doubt-free.
Projecting an overly serious, "don't-bother-me-I've-got-to-focus" attitude might lead patients to believe you're the one doing the healing. It's a great way to get admiration, but a lousy way to teach patient responsibility.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be reporting for jury duty. It’s been awhile since I’ve been called and I actually enjoy participating in the process. Unlike many, I’m looking forward to it. I’ll bring my laptop and do some overdue writing and use the time constructively. It’s been over 10 years since I was called, and on that occasion I was actually chosen to serve.
It was a drug case as I recall. We gave the defendant his due process. The memorable part was watching the exchanges between the district attorney, the defendant’s lawyer and the judge. To suggest it was underwhelming would be an understatement. Probably because I had been spoiled by how courtroom drama is depicted on television and in the movies. I guess most of us are. In person, it all seemed, well, amateurish.
Continue reading "Civic Duty" »
When you report for jury duty in Douglas County, Colorado, after filling out more forms you watch… a video! It’s an orientation to get everyone up to speed, reduce apprehension, explain the players and what’s about to happen. This effectively imbued the jury pool with the proper mindset and respect for the proceedings. I couldn’t help but notice the similarities with visiting a chiropractor.
Granted, volitionally going to a chiropractic office is quite different that being called to jury duty, however there are some similarities.
Continue reading "Jury Duty" »
“Begin with the end in mind.” What “end” do you have in mind as you care for patients?
The cessation of the physical, chemical or emotional stress that created a patient’s subluxation pattern? The restoration of spinal curves and improved biomechanics? The reduction or elimination of the patient’s presenting complaint? The patient’s compliance? The patient’s admiration and respect?
Unfortunately, you have little or no control of these outcomes. Focusing on them is a recipe for disappointment. They are tempting forms of pride that produce a reliance on your self-efforts, leading to doubt and a lack of confidence.
Instead, trust the wisdom of their body to use the energy you add to its greatest advantage. Instead, make the patient the hero, not your intervention. Instead, show up as a humble servant, unconcerned about reputation or outcomes you can’t control. Allow your being to be more powerful than your doing.
The trial ended yesterday. It involved stalking, breaking a restraining order, a childhood romance and the use of psychotropic drugs to control delusions. The defendant served as his own attorney, ostensibly so he could cross-examine the witness he had been illegally stalking!
Throughout the testimony, I couldn’t help but notice that most of the problems were caused by misinterpreting what others were saying and doing. Second guessing what others mean, or creating little stories to explain this or that, seems to be our nature. Naturally, there’s a sizable difference between misinterpreting the action of a patient who discontinues care without warning, and misinterpreting a restraining order requested by the 9-year old neighbor girl who now, thirty years later, has her own family and children!
Nevertheless, both scenarios are pathological. It’s merely a matter of degree.
Continue reading "Guilty" »
Patients can’t ruin your reputation. Only you can do that.
There’s a popular myth circulating the chiropractic profession that “allowing” patients to miss visits, to drop out of care prematurely or generally overrule your recommendations, will somehow degrade your precious professional reputation.
It’s not true.
When your dentist recommends regular flossing, even supplying the floss, his or her reputation isn’t tarnished by the unused floss a week later. When your car mechanic recommends a tire rotation and alignment, but you overrule him and nine months later have to buy new tires, you don’t blame the mechanic.
Continue reading "Are You a Bulldozer?" »
Don’t compete, create!
If you feel threatened by the new chiropractors moving to town or the changing economic climate, you’ve been misled into thinking you’re living in a zero-sum world. Competition leads to winners and losers. Creativity leads to new possibilities and unlimited potential.
Create extraordinary patient experiences. Create deep and meaningful patient relationships. Create new ways of communicating chiropractic. Create a more efficient procedure. Create systematic ways of keeping in touch with inactives. Create a way to keep yourself more present with patients. Create a clear vision of the outcomes you desire. Create gratitude for those who show up. Create new, higher levels of health.
Create ease rather than battling symptoms.
Avoid the temptation of imagining that your particular challenges are due to what others do or have done. Instead, raise the bar, become more relevant and create a better mousetrap. And watch patients beat a path to your practice!
After his warm hug, when you spend time with Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, the president of Parker College, you can’t help but emerge more positive and optimistic about chiropractic and the future of the profession. That was my experience today as I had the honor of being the featured speaker for this trimester’s all-school assembly.
After a tour of the school (it had been eight years since I was here last), Dr. Mancini and I had lunch. It was a stimulating conversation. I was immediately struck by the great questions he asked.
“So Bill, you’re not a chiropractor, but you’re deeply involved in this profession. What do you see as your purpose?”
Continue reading "Parker Student Assembly" »
I recently completed my 7th Conversation weekend debrief in Denver (The next Conversation closes April 18th). It’s exhilarating to be present as someone “connects the dots” and sees how their mistaken beliefs have conspired to create the constraining circumstances in their practices. I can only imagine how pleasing it must be for you to witness patients “getting it” and taking on greater responsibility for their well-being.
As I’ve been processing the direction this most recent Conversation took, I was struck by thought that most of us seem unwilling to change until the pain of the present eclipses the pain we imagine might happen if we make the change. In other words, most of us commit to change only when present circumstances become intolerable enough that it makes the unknown consequences of “pulling the trigger” attractive.
Continue reading "Pulling the Trigger" »
Are you playing a zone defense?
If there's an aspect of your practice you're uncomfortable facing, whether it is your checkbook, collections, new patients or even missed appointments, it's tempting to turn over its responsibility to someone else. This is often justified as a way of freeing you up for duties that are "more important." These more important aspects are usually areas where you feel more competent and confident.
Compartmentalizing your practice by delegating issues to others so you don't have to face them, is how many practices get into trouble. It turns out you're the only person on the planet who sees these "peripheral" issues as being separate! Since it's your practice. You're responsible for EVERY aspect. Not just the ones you like or are especially resourceful in handling.
By all means, delegate. Supervise. Expect accountability. But be unafraid to look at anything and everything. Because it's all your responsibility. Even the unpleasant parts.
This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in March 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.
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