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December 2008 Archives
“I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Many have fallen for the illusion that “seeing is believing.” But they have it backwards. First you must believe, then you will you see.
That’s because things exist on the spiritual level first before they manifest on the physical plane where the five senses can experience them. Closer to home, new patients exist spiritually before they can show up physically in your practice. So, while many search for the perfect script, the ideal screening tool or the sure-fire new patient offer, this attention is largely misplaced. It’s more efficient to create new patients on the spiritual level.
“How do you create new patients spiritually?”
Begin by getting your heart right. Seek to serve, rather than be served. That is, focus on how you can meet the needs of new patients, rather than how new patients will solve your ego-cash-flow needs.
Start there. Then you’ll see what I mean.
I frequently write and speak about tribes, so when I saw that my favorite author (Seth Godin) had a new book (thanks Dr. Mike Headlee) and that it was about this important subject, I immediately picked up a copy. It didn’t disappoint.
In many ways, Tribes is a book about leadership. Not the stuffy MBA kind of leadership. But the kind of leadership that chiropractic needs more of. This is about reinventing yourself, how to attract your tribe and how to be a successful heretic. Seth isn’t enamored by status (or the status quo) and offers up plenty of action steps to step up as a leader and plant your flag.
At 147 pages, it’s twice as long as his last book (The Dip) and twice as good.
Turns out that Malcolm Gladwell has topped his previous books, The Tipping Point and Blink with his most recent offering Outliers. It was one of those rare books that you read a bit, then stop to savor, and then continue reading, knowing that with each delightful page that you’re actually getting closer to it being gone.
Yes, it’s that good. Learn the significance of 10,000 hours. Or, if you’re a hockey fan, why a January birthday is so significant. Or why their German gigs helped the Beatles. Or why Korean airline pilots had (past tense) so many crashes. Or why a birthday in 1954 or 1955 was an advantage in being a software developer. Or the significance of the feud between the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s. Or why the English way of numbering ends up favoring Asians. The list goes on and on as Gladwell offers a new understanding of the subtle confluences that affect what we call success.
You probably get them too. “Double Your Practice in 60 Days!” and “Boot Camp for Marketing Dummies” and similar email subject lines. My first reaction has been derision. But then it occurred to me. These sorts of marketing overtures must actually work or they wouldn’t appear in my inbox. Somebody must be responding to them to prompt their continued presence in my inbox! Who?
That got me to thinking. Perhaps this get-rich-quick-shortcut-to-success mentality is what constitutes a majority of the chiropractic profession! Silly me, taking the high road, thinking that chiropractic was about service, value and a natural solution to the symptom suppression of drugs or the maiming by irreversible surgery! Shame on me. How could I have not seen it all these years? Was I that blind?
Continue reading "Hype and Hyperbole" »
There's a popular notion that if you conceal your beliefs in favor of appealing to what patients want, you'll be seen as more attractive and enjoy greater success.
At first glance, taking the populist's angle in your patient communications, pandering, chameleon-like to the lowest common denominator makes sense. But the cost is high: A disrespect for patients. A cynical, healthier-than-thou attitude. Which turns into anger. And eventually burnout.
By the time patients resort to consulting a doctor (of any ilk), they have lost their bearings, are uncertain and looking for someone more certain than they are. Wetting your finger and putting it to the wind makes you appear opportunistic and uncertain. Instead, boldly tell your chiropractic story, whether the Pain Story, the Bone Story, the Nerve Story or the Lifestyle Story. Whichever one(s) hold the greatest certainty for you.
Then can you offer what patients really want: Hope.
How patients pay for their care dramatically affects their results.
A patient can generally pay four ways: in advance, as they go, later or never. The best results are achieved by those who pay in advance and the poorest by those who don't pay at all.
Paying for one's care is part of the recovery process.
That's why the impending move to socialize what is called "health care" can't and won't produce true health. Self responsibility does. Just as the government can steal responsibility from patients, so too can chiropractors. Many do. And it often begins by believing that unenforced financial policies are doing the patient a favor. Allowing patients to run up large uncollectable balances not only interferes with your business, it can compromise their care.
Ultimately, how patients pay often reflects their confidence in your care, their emotional investment in the process and the priority they place on their health.
To paraphrase Einstein, “Significant problems cannot be solved at the same level that created them.” Thus, when Wall Street expressed symptoms of an impending collapse, they sought relief from a higher level. Similarly, after the bumbling Detroit automobile manufacturers hit some black ice after years of running an uncompetitive business model, they have sought relief from the U.S. Treasury. Even American Express has expressed the need for help. Expect others to join the bandwagon.
I’m hoping that whether you favor these sorts of bailouts is not tied to your party affiliation or locality, but to the philosophy you exhibit in your patient care. Many well-intentioned chiropractors may have overlooked the connection between a government bailout and what they do each day with patients.
Continue reading "The Patient Bailout" »
Can’t remember now where I heard about Dr. David Koch’s book, but I’m thankful that I rang up the bookstore at Life University and got a copy. The subtitle to Contemporary Chiropractic Philosophy is “A Reformulation of the Thirty-Three Principles and the Normal Complete Cycle.” If you have a deep appreciation for the principles on which this profession is based, don’t panic. Dr. Koch has done some much needed rearranging and language clarification. While the most cultish among the chiropractic philosophers may cringe, Dr. Koch has done a spectacular job of making Stevenson’s 33 principles come alive and become more understandable. Of special note is the way he has divided the principles into three logical categories, Universal, Biological and Chiropractic. If you’re unfamiliar with these principles this 128-page paperback would be an excellent introduction!
No one is going to rescue you.
If the circumstances in your life or your practice aren't what you wish, you may be inclined to look outside for resolution.
Insurance companies do not hold the answer. The golden days of the past will not be returning.
The government is not going to bail you out. Nor should it.
Your staff will not save you. In fact, they're looking to you for leadership and direction.
Patients will not solve your problem. Depending upon them is an unsustainable role reversal.
Looking for Santa, the Tooth Fairy, a genie or mere luck to save you, simply delays the action you must take to face what you've neglected, don't want to look at or have artfully avoided. That thing you're afraid of; that you've resisted; that difficult conversation you've put off? Your answer lies there. Your solution, like healing, always comes from the inside out.
Since it’s a human foible to look outside one’s self for the causation of our problems and challenges, it’s not surprising that many chiropractors look outside themselves and their practices for the cause of their underperforming businesses.
Patients, who conveniently blame their genetics, divorced parents, the job they hate or an unlucky break for whatever injustice they face, are joined by chiropractors who blame the economy, the weather, their location or the attitude of their front desk staff.
In other words, few chiropractors blame their understanding of chiropractic principles as the root cause of their struggling practice.
Continue reading "Principle vs. Practice" »
Seems a week doesn’t pass that I’m not sent an email claiming the end of chiropractic. These epistles often use the eroding reimbursement from insurance companies as evidence that chiropractic is about to go the way of 8-track tapes and polyester leisure suits.
It’s true that swaggering chiropractic is almost gone. As is gold chain chiropractic and luxury automobile chiropractic. And sloppy chiropractic. And mindless three-times-a-week-until-your-carrier-balks chiropractic. And most-insurance-accepted chiropractic. History. Kaput.
As the profession contracts, there will be chiropractors unable to sustain a viable business without the price supports and “subsidies” offered by insurance companies. So while individual chiropractors will leave to pursue other livelihoods, the profession of chiropractic is about to experience a renaissance never seen before.
Continue reading "Is the Sky Falling?" »
Success is not drawn to clutter.
The piles on your desk and the disorder in your closet and drawers are symptoms of far more serious issues:
Uncertainty. If you hedge your bets, creating a backup plan to your back up plan, you tend to horde what you see as potential resources. The resulting clutter is a sign of indecisiveness. Decide! (Which comes from the Latin word meaning to “cut off from.”)
Lack of clarity. Without a clear vision of the future you want, it’s easy to allow stuff to accumulate because you’re not sure whether you’ll need it or not. Remove the fog of the future!
Purposelessness. Have you identified your purpose? (It’s not adjusting patients or merely surviving!) Without one, it’s difficult to say “no” to off-purpose temptations. Identify the top priorities that would advance your purpose and remain unyielding.
What can you throw out, simplify and organize for next year?
For my last post of 2008, I’d like to explore a troubling telephone call I had recently from a practice management coach. You’d recognize his/her name, but this person’s identity isn’t important, since I’m suspecting that many in the practice/management/coaching/training/consulting space make similar suggestions. At least I make this assumption based on the state of the profession these days.
“...I just tell them at the report that I’d rather not have them as a patient if they’re not going to take their problem as seriously as I do.”
“Really?” I asked. “You actually recommend that your clients say that?”
“I do. And it dramatically improves compliance.”
“Isn’t that kinda manipulative? When you shame them into care, doesn’t that attempt to override their free will?” I insisted.
“I guess so, but people are more likely to act in an effort to avoid loss than to achieve gain,” he countered.
Continue reading "Does the End Justify the Means?" »
This page contains all entries posted to Chiropractic Practice Blog in December 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.
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