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Go Before You Know
Mar 16, 2006

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There are times when you should leap before you look.

As a doctor, you have a number of different roles. And for each role, there is a certain but different mindset that is most effective.

Your first role is that of doctor. The mindset and motto for this role is: Know Before You Go.

Each time you start a new case, you do your diagnosis to find what the best treatment program should be. You want to know what to do before you go with the treatment program.  And, at each visit, you briefly reassess the patient’s condition before you go ahead with that day’s treatment. 

In your role of senior manager, you have a similar mindset. You assess the business situation, make plans to improve it, and then execute the action steps. Again: Know Before You Go.

The opposite seems to be true with entrepreneurial doctors that have successfully built their businesses. The lesson seems to be that, as a business owner, you need to have the inclination to GO before you KNOW.

Why is this?  Because we are all faced with degrees of procrastination, of fear, of “paralysis by analysis.”  Given any opportunity, many of us can find reasons to wait, do more planning, get more information, talk to more people, and just think about it some more.  

Pretty soon, other issues come up and our planning gets bumped to handle new issues. In time, we have a garage full of uncompleted or never started practice building projects.  An attitude of going for it, without waiting for all conditions to be perfect, gets us out there promoting our services, telling our story, and serving more people.

Too many of us get ready, then aim, get more ready, aim some more, and never fire. On the other extreme, the successful entrepreneur often just fires. This can result in wasted money and time, but it does get the office moving and this is what leadership is all about.

Many practices and businesses do suffer because the entrepreneur has never adopted systems of good management that stabilize the business so that it can grow. Their growth is stunted because of poor organization. We see this all the time.  But, that is the role of managing.

We also see the opposite: wonderful, skilled doctors, well organized, and broke. Or nearly so.

Successful business owners and entrepreneurs have a bias for action. This especially applies to marketing activities, but can apply to anything that improves your business. Marketing is a very broad category and covers everything from the services you provide to the way you promote them.

For example,  you can always improve the brochures and letters you send to your patients and community. And you should improve them. But no matter the quality, you need to get them out and distributed, not lying around in stacks on the top self in the storage closet. 

When was the last time you painted your office, gave a lecture, did a screening, wrote a letter to the editor, set up a referral relationship with an MD, dentist, or car repair shop? The color of the paint, the content of your lecture, the location of your screening, the grammar in your letter, or what you say to the MD or business owner is secondary to just doing it.

As a doctor your have to know before you go. In practice management, you have to develop strategies based upon set policies and procedures. But as the business owner and leader, sometimes you need to just get going, and figure it out later.

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Petty, Michel & Associates
Practice Growth & Development Since 1988
Voice: (414) 332-4511 Fax: (414) 332-0909
Post: P.O. Box 170882 Whitefish Bay, WI   53217

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