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Roger Bannister and the 4-Minute…

4-minutesFor years it was generally accepted that the four-minute mile was unassailable. Then, along comes Roger Bannister who breaks the record in 1954. With the barrier broken, suddenly an avalanche of sprinters was able to run the mile faster than four minutes. In fact, within three years after Bannister's achievement, 16 different runners had logged sub-4-minute miles. Today, the world record is a blistering 3:43.13.

More favorable winds? A new running shoe? Performance enhancing drugs?

No. No. And no.

In fact, something much more significant occurred. Something that is the access point for taking your practice to greater patient service and success.

Some chiropractors find it unbelievable that among their peers these days, practices are literally booming. Practitioners who are getting new patients in the double digit range each month. Having their best year ever.

Do they practice in an area with generous reimbursement? Do they practice where there is little competition? Do they have a special report of findings that compels patients to do their biding?

No. No. And no.

Every practitioner who would like to help more people faces two main constrains: physical constraints and psychological constraints. Growing a practice (or growing a person) is the process of identifying the smallest opening, expanding it to reduce unwanted friction and repeating the process, eliminating lynch pin after lynch pin.

Physical Constraints

Since "form follows function" one of the more significant constraints is the space in which you have chosen to practice. Its location, access and parking are obvious factors. More specifically, the office layout, adjusting technique, patient flow, staffing resources, record keeping process, financial policies and office procedures play a role in determining practice production and profitability.

In many under performing practices there can be some quick wins by reducing physical constraints and improving throughput. Unless you're prepared to move, knock down a wall or change to a faster adjusting technique, more dramatic (and difficult) breakthroughs come from addressing self-imposed psychological constraints.

Psychological Constraints

Chiropractors who are helping twice as many patients as you, hold a different set of beliefs about themselves, the patients they see and the intention they have when they are helping patients.

For example. Let's take adjusting technique. Sure, there's a physical component, but the time, talent and intention surrounding it reside in the headspace of the chiropractor.

Even after three decades of providing chiropractic supplies I'm still astonished by the number of chiropractors whose purpose is to "…help as many people as possible in our community…" yet insist that patients endure lengthy assessment and adjusting techniques on every visit. (Read about the luxury of the 20-minute visit in my 2008 blog post Success on Your Terms.) Seems to me that if you really wanted to help a lot of people, you'd employ an adjusting technique that was quick and effective.

When I raise this issue, I'm often greeted with something like, "Obviously Bill, you're not a chiropractor so you wouldn't know that you just can't deliver a quality adjustment in less than 20 minutes."

Really? How come countless chiropractors ask for only three or four minutes of a patient's busy day, adjust only one bone and get results that frequently border on the miraculous?

Seems to me the real constraint is the software (beliefs) not the hardware (technique).

Which brings me back to Mr. Bannister, the runner. Once the psychological barrier of the four-minute mile was broken, the physical barrier changed. Does that mean someday we'll see a sub-3-minute mile? Unlikely. The point is, when one person broke the "barrier," others could too. Same with your practice. If anyone can be successful in today's practice environment, then virtually all chiropractors can be successful. Yes, it will probably require some changes. It may require that you walk away from a vow that you made. And it will most certainly require a change in consciousness. Whether it's pride, fear, arrogance or ignorance, it's the stiffest competitor we ever encounter.

Comments (2)


Well done Bill. You never cease to challenge me to rethink how I look at myself and the people I serve.

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From September 20, 2012 6:00 AM

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 20, 2012 6:00 AM.

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