There is an old Russian proverb, “If you chase two rabbits you will catch neither.”
Are you chasing more than one rabbit?
Some of the more common ones include attempting to build your practice and imagining you can spend more quality time with your family. Thinking you can find a chiropractic assistant who is outgoing and precise on the computer. Finding an associate who is a great adjuster and a passionate marketer. Charging a high fee and seeing lots of families. Wanting more wellness patients and measuring your effectiveness by symptomatic improvement.
What rabbits do you chase?
There’s a popular icebreaker that involves pairs. The first person offers up a pair of somewhat similar words, things or ideas. The other person identifies their preference and then offers up their own pair. Maybe you’ve played it:
Person one: “Monday or Friday?”
Person two: “Monday. Spaghetti or lasagna?”
Person one: “Spaghetti. Freedom or security?”
Person two: “Freedom. Starting a project or finishing a project?”
You get the idea. The point is, whenever two choices are present, most of us have a preference of one over the other. When it comes to the rabbits in your practice, I’d encourage you to determine the hierarchy for every apparent pair of tensions you face. If you really want to make some progress, have your staff participate. In fact, this makes a great staff meeting activity because it empowers your team to make decisions congruent with your preferences.
Honoring the scheduled appointments of existing patients, or accepting a schedule-busting “emergency” new patient?
A great consultation or a great report of findings?
A front desk assistant who makes precise computer entries or one that patients adore?
An associate with good adjusting skills or an associate with good marketing skills?
Helping lots of people or using a time-consuming technique?
"Stranger" new patients or reactivations from former patients?
Patients who get great results or patients who religiously follow your recommendations?
Adjusting patient spines or adjusting patient beliefs?
Patient compliance or patient curiosity?
You get the idea. Pick one from each pair and explain why you prefer one to the other.
“But I want both!”
Unlikely. Like rabbits, if you go after both, you’re bound to catch neither. Wanting both is either naive, an attempt to avoid the hard work of making critical distinctions or more both.
When I explain this at speaking gigs or on telephone consultations, I can tell that the chiropractor I’m speaking with doesn’t believe me. They believe that they can “have their cake and eat it too.”
Is this stubbornness or a case of chronic positive thinking?
I suppose it’s human nature to take aim, lower our head and bulldoze our way towards what we want. Which is usually a sign that we've chosen brute force over decisive power.