CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
It’s a familiar cycle that businesses grow to the level of their systems and strategies, and then growth inevitably slows. This can be frustrating because, during the growing phase, you know you’re doing the right things. But when the things you’ve always done to stimulate growth are no longer producing better results, you’ve hit the hump!
The hump is that foggy grey zone of business where efforts to grow produce underwhelming results. It’s the law of diminishing returns. No matter how hard you try, and no matter how many attempts you make, nothing seems to truly catch hold to spark a return to the growth levels you experienced in the past. Even when you do get some results, a few months later the practice often backslides to past performance levels.
The danger of giving in
After enough time struggling to achieve growth that is not forthcoming, some doctors are tempted to lower their expectations. Maybe they decide their team isn’t right, or their vision isn’t right, or their local economy isn’t right, or their referral base isn’t right. Maybe they reach the conclusion that they’ve gone as far as they can reasonably go, and the only choice they have now is to settle in and coast for the rest of their career.
Giving in like that often seems easier than continuing to struggle against resistance and diminishing returns. And once the doctor gives up on the possibility of meaningful future growth, that’s when the comfort zone fully takes over. The practice goes into autopilot forever … entrenched in its current systems and habits.
At that point, you can pretty much predict how that practice will be functioning 5, 10 or 20 years from now. It will be exactly what it is today, or maybe slowly going downhill, unless the doctor changes their approach to finding a solution.
Getting past the hump
So, what do you do if you are in the hump, and you need to restart growth? If you go hunting around for new ideas, you’ll find hundreds or thousands of possibilities in articles, CE courses and the advice from colleagues. How do you know what will work for you, what you should prioritize, if you’re making the right choices and whether you can integrate those changes with your systems and team without risking your current success?
“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities.
In the expert’s mind, there are few.”
Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
I love this quote because it works for so many life situations. For example, it explains why in creative endeavors like art, music, acting or performance, we are always celebrating new talent emerging from the obscurity. Their creativity freely explores the exciting possibilities they see, and through them we discover a new viewpoint or insight or expression of ideas.
But it also explains why the hump is so difficult for many doctors. Let’s face it, even with 20 years of experience in practice, most doctors are beginners when it comes to business management and leadership. The only practice they’ve ever known is their own, which is why the hundreds or thousands of possibilities they find outside the practice can stop them in their tracks.
By contrast, an expert sees few possibilities. An expert has broad knowledge and experience, and they can filter out all the distractions and weak ideas. They can prioritize and implement with precision, and they generate predictable significant improvements and success. Predictability might be a disadvantage in creative fields, but in business systems it is the goose that lays the golden egg.
Dr. Goerig often speaks about how, when he started his practice, he reached a point where he realized he was a beginner. He brought in outside experts to train his team, rework his practice systems and set him on an incredible path of growth and success. That choice so transformed his life that, through personal efforts and through Endo Mastery, he has dedicated himself to helping every endodontist achieve the same success.