By Freddie Ulan, DC, CCN
When somebody says: “I don’t want to grow my practice,” or “I don’t want to expand,” they’re saying a few things. One: “It scares me to death.” Two: “It’s too much stress.” Three: “I don’t know how to do it right.”
But there’s a problem. This is a really big problem for pretty much anyone in this field. Somewhere along the line you realize that you could help people get well. Then not expanding is a huge problem.
That’s what I call the “joyful obligation.” Because the moment you realize that you could get somebody well, you had the obligation to reach the greatest number of people. Now, it isn’t an obligation you should wear like a sack of woe on your back. “Oh, I’m a healer. I can’t stand it.”
We’re talking about a joyful obligation, but it needs to be fulfilled. That means that you need to become, what? You need to become as good a manager as you can get people well. That’s the obligation and that’s the ethical position.
Talking about these rationalizations in this subject of expanding, helping people, here’s one: “I’m not a manager. I’m a doctor. I can help people get well, but I’m not good at paperwork and, you know, managing. That’s not my thing.”
When I talk to them a little longer, it’s sort of like they are trying to tell me that this is a birth defect. As if they were born with an “administrative dysfunction.” The doctor tells your parents, “I’m sorry to tell you this, your child will never be a manager.”
No, let’s examine it a minute. You’ve spent how many years learning the art and science of nutrition, chiropractic, optometry, or whatever your modality is? What about the fundamentals of management?
I’m separating management from procedure. What you’re getting here with our Nutrition Response Testing® training is procedure. Clinically, here’s how you do this, this is what you do next. Vital stuff. But being an executive is different than procedure. It’s a system of thinking, it’s looking at things a little differently and it means a certain kind of operation.
You have “administration,” “clinical” and “marketing.” Of these three, which is the most important? The purpose of management is results, i.e., patient benefit. If that’s true, which of these three is the most important? Clinical, of course. Because all the others are there to assist clinical.
Administration provides the wherewithal and the personnel and all the factors that go into getting somebody well. Marketing drives the business in, to get somebody well. Therefore, what statistic are you concerned about in your practice? We’re talking about the rate with which patients get well, and especially patient visits. “Statistics” is another whole area. I’m just making a point, and let’s not lose track of this: even when we do talk about administration, when we talk about management, we are still talking about clinical results.
There are systems that are natural, that flow, that are easy to implement. I was at an office about three weeks ago. This was an office that used “Management By Hope.” “Are we going to have a better week?” “I don’t know, I hope so.” You know? “Is that new CE (Continuing Education) going to work out?” “I don’t know, I hope so.”
I was out in California for thirty years, there’s a system out there. It’s “Management By Karma.” No, really. “We’re going to have a better—this is our week. We’re good people, you know, and we’re good people, so, you know, the stats should be up.”
Management by purpose is the only real way to go, and that means making the distinction between you and these other methods. Because here you are as the owner, and this is the most important position in the practice. Isn’t that interesting? There’s nothing more important than this in terms of getting people well. Without this, nothing happens.
What’s this person’s function? In essence, we’re talking about coordination. We’re talking about supervision. Look at the word. Supervision. This person needs to be three to six feet above the practice. That’s where this guy is. Because the staff are in the trenches, every day, day-to-day. Somebody’s got to be up above, looking out to the future. Because looking to the future is what creates that.
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