The Keys & Principles for Success
by Dr. Eric Kaplan, D.C.
Make Clear Cut Goals
“If you don’t know where you are going, how do you know how to get there?” Goals are like maps, they help us set direction in our personal as well as our business lives. There are many similarities between business and war. In both cases, the victor is the one who uses superior strategy against his or her competition.
There are three principles of military strategy you can apply to your work every single day. The first idea from the military is called the Principle of Maneuver. The principle of maneuver says that you should be clear about the goal, but be flexible about the process of achieving it. According to the Menninger Institute, this quality of flexibility is the most important single quality that you will require for success in times of rapid change.
The world of health care is changing. Technology is changing the face of our profession. You should set aside a goal to update your office. When you update your office, update your marketing. Get patients excited again about what you do. Nothing stays the same. The automotive industry, one of the most powerful in our country and the world, understands change. Soon they will get you excited about their 2009 editions. Get patients excited about your office for the year ahead. Add something new to your office and let the patients know about your growth and what is new in health today.
Be Open to Patients’ Feedback
William Esteb originally made Back Talk Systems effective by listening to the patients’ thoughts while creating his marketing. Their feedback is germane to your success. A key peak performance quality for you is to “accept feedback and self-correct.” Peak performers are those who can take information from their environment and, even if the information is contrary to all of their planning, they can accept the information, modify their plans, and continue moving forward. They are always open to new ideas and insights. Are you a Peak Performer? Do you want to be? Ask your patients what they want, show them some technologies and ask them their opinion. Respect them and their answers.
Learn What You Need to Know
The second military principle you can use is the Principle of Intelligence. This principle of intelligence means, simply, “Get the facts!” Prior to buying anything, know everything. As President of DiscForce, I wanted to know everything about Spinal Decompression. It is an exciting technology. Decompression works for two reasons: one, it gets results; and, two, marketing, when done accurately and appropriately, works. A new technology without New Patients will not be successful. Do your homework first, make your acquisition, second. Remember, part of your homework is getting community and patient feedback.
The most important thing in business decision making is for you to get accurate information. Facts don’t lie. It is important that you get the real facts, not the assumed facts or the apparent facts or the obvious facts, or the hoped for facts, but the real, provable facts. Ask the company for testimonials from other doctors; ask to see the marketing; take your time making any decision.
Make Better Decisions
Perhaps the key job of the doctor is decision making. The quality of the decisions that you make will be in direct proportion to the amount of time that you take to gather timely and accurate information. The very best thing that you can do, if you have insufficient information, is to delay making a decision at all. Often, we must spend the time to diagnose our own practice. Symptoms of a sick practice are:
1. No new patients
2. No referrals
3. Insurance dependant
4. Poor collections
5. A sloppy office
6. Constant staff turnovers
7. Prolonged patient waiting.
A sick practice will have any or all of these. Each symptom must be attacked; but the key, doctors, is to find the cause and correct it.
The third military principle applied to strategic planning is the Principle of Economy of Force. Economy of force means that you expend only the resources necessary to achieve the objective and not more. It also means that you commit sufficient resources to achieve the objective once you have decided upon it. In life, in business, the principle applies. Plan strategically; this is a part of goal setting. Aren’t goals a means of planning? Your first goal is to start writing down your goals. If you succeed at doing something as simple as this, you are on your way.
Time is my most valuable commodity. In life, you can always get more money, but time spent is gone forever. Since your own personal energy is all you really have to invest over the course of your lifetime, the military principle of economy says that you should be very selfish when deciding how you are going to use your self. Keep asking yourself, “How important is this?” and, more importantly, “How important is this to me?” Then ask yourself, “How important is this to my patient, to my practice?”
The #1 key to any success is to always remain flexible when you are working toward your goal. In times of rapid change, all of your best ideas can be contradicted by new information. Be willing to try different things. Be open to new inputs and ideas. My father used to say, “Even a clock that doesn’t work, is right twice a day.” Be open minded; be flexible.
The #2 key: Get the facts! The more and better information you can acquire before you make a decision, the better your decision will be. The very best managers spend a good amount of time getting the real, provable facts before they take action.
The #3 key, in my experience, any virtue translated into action leads almost invariably to positive results. This applies to integrity, persistence, courtesy, love and courage. I’ve always liked the advice of an old man to his grandson, “Act boldly and unseen forces will come to your aid.” Success is not always for the timid. It took a risk to go to chiropractic school; a larger risk to open your practice. Without taking those two risks, you would not be where you are today. Life is about taking risks and, of course, faith.
Key # 4: Perhaps the most obviously important part of courage is the courage to step out in the face of uncertainty. Every great venture in the history of man has begun with faith and a giant leap into the unknown.
General Douglas MacArthur said, “There is no security in life, only opportunity.”
The creed of Frederick the Great, one of history’s most successful leaders was, “Audacity, audacity—always audacity.”
A twelve-year study of successful entrepreneurs conducted by Babson College concluded that the only thing they had in common was the willingness to launch, to step out in faith. Once they had started, they learned the lessons they needed to succeed—many of them ending up successful in completely different businesses from where they started. Faith, confidence and belief, these words are the backbone of our profession. Keep the faith; but faith without action will never work. Take the leap of faith in your life, in your practice.
Key # 5: Dare to succeed. Dare to go forward. Successful doctors, like successful companies, are invariably those that continue to research, develop, experiment and introduce new products and services—even during the deepest recessions. Successful people are those who are continually stretching themselves to move out of the comfort zone, to face the twin fears of failure and rejection, and to move forward in spite of them. We must constantly look to step out of our comfort zone and move into the success zone.
Key # 6, Just Do It. First, just do it! Step out in faith! If you think of some action you can take to improve your life, give it a try. You may be surprised.
When fears steps in, I expect you to step up. Remember, when in doubt, act with audacity. Audacity may get you into trouble but, even more, audacity will get you out. Go for it!
Dr. Eric S. Kaplan, is CEO of Multidisciplinary Business Applications, Inc. (MBA), a comprehensive coaching firm with a successful, documented history of creating profitable multidisciplinary practices nationwide. Co -developer and President of Discforce, the next Generation on Spinal decompression. For more information, call 1-561-626-3004.