The Medical Approach – The 3 “Abilitys” (and Cheese)

Friday night last week was not a bad night – a bit cold and wet, but with a roaring fire and some lovely wine and cheese, the evening progressed very comfortably ( I can highly recommend the Tarago River “Shadows of Blue“).  One of my best mates came around to watch his football team get flogged – it was such an enjoyable spectacle that we ended up watching soccer and the Tour de France.

Over the course of the evening, we discussed many things and one of the topics we covered was the “ideal” approach that Doctors should have with their patients.  To provide some context, my mate is a specialist Surgeon and has built a wonderful reputation in his field.  He also teaches trainee surgeons and is on the examination panel for the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.  All this is very surprising considering he supports Carlton Football Club.

As our conversation opened up, he shared with me the three factors that make for better doctor/patient relationships.  His view was that where these three factors are in place and in order, the patient is happier, the health outcomes are generally better and there are fewer claims for adverse outcomes against the specialist.

The factors and the order?  They are:

  1. Availability;
  2. Affability; and
  3. Ability.

In precisely that order.

patient satisfaction

Expanding this approach through to other professions, it appears to me as though this might just be the most simple and easily understood “guide” for all of us.

Think about the customers whom you love dealing with.  They will be the ones you make yourself readily available to.  They are also the ones where you have a great personal relationship.  And, generally, they won’t be overly focused on your technical ability as the relationship is the thing that resonates most with and for them.  They respect your technical ability, but they value the relationship.

Over the weekend, I have reflected deeply on this approach and I believe it is something that we all should be aware of in our dealings with customers (in fact, everyone).

If you have a customer who is a pain and who you avoid contacting, nothing good is going to happen from the relationship.  This situation is one where you need to consider the real value that you are bringing to the relationship and determine whether it really is one that you should maintain.  Where you recognise that you don’t currently have the desire to be as available for a customer as you should be, is the relationship able to be recovered or should it be terminated?  I know that over my career, I have had numerous situations of this type.  They are really hard work and, even though you might get great results for them, there is very little satisfaction derived from the outcome.

Secondly, if you have a customer around whom you cannot be yourself and where you find your communication stifled and difficult, does this allow you to bring your “full game” to the relationship?  If you aren’t being yourself (or worse, if they aren’t being themselves), can this be rectified or should it be discontinued?  Again, there have been numerous occasions where I have had customers around whom I had to adapt my style and deliver with a very “serious” (so-called “professional”) demeanor.  This is hard work – for them and me and my experience tells me that the absence of this factor in a relationship makes the whole process less satisfying for all concerned.

The ability thing I am leaving out here as, if the first two factors aren’t present, it doesn’t matter how good your ability is, the relationship will be difficult to nurture and develop.

This is only a short post to introduce the approach to this forum.  I would love to get your feedback on this – it appears to be so simple, concise and to-the-point that you may wish to consider using it in your customer selection and retention process.  I will be.

Now, where has that cheese gone?



My New Question for CPE Polls

Lately, I have been doing a number of webcasts which offer CPE to those in attendance.

One of the requirements is that the participants answer poll questions during the session in order to prove they paid attention. The questions do not have to relate to the material in any way and are not quizzes with right and wrong answers, just survey questions.

As a presenter I find being interrupted four times for about a minute each time to be iksome to say the least. The webcast I am doing are 60 to 90 minute sessions and quite frankly the polls just interrupt my flow. I know #firstworldproblem.

Still I was wondering how the participants felt about this practice. After all, most of them are highly educated individuals who are trying to further their knowledge on the subjects about which I speak. Furthermore, as professionals they have some fairly high ethical standards to which I imagine they hold themselves. To me, it seems quite insulting to break from the material in order for the learners to “prove” they were paying attention.

Well, my twisted mind led me to create a poll questions which serves as a mini protest for both me as a presenter and for the participants. Feel free to use this in your own polls if you do educational programs requiring CPE. Here is the question with the results from my latest webcast.

I find it interesting that only 42 percent find this to be disagreeable to them in some way.

What do you think?

Lets Just Call This a Rant about our Narcissistic Behaviors

Is it just me or is our country actually becoming more handicapped? Or has our egotistical/narcissistic personality merely found new ways to feel special?

Case in Point:

I observe the use, and unfortunately abuse, of the handicapped placard as one example. Here people use their relatives’ placards when they aren’t present because, heck those spaces are being wasted by non-use anyway. Or they sometimes exaggerate and request placards when truly a little more walking would do them some good. (Note I could qualify for a placard because of my current heart condition but I am in the camp of “a little more walking does more help then harm” so I have elected to not request or apply.)

Besides prime parking spots, many cities allow handicapped parkers to avoid paying parking meters and tolls. And who wouldn’t like that?  It is understandable, and frankly no program is foolproof and subject to some reasonable policing, we will have to live with a certain level of fraud and use more ridicule to help the Abusers kick their habit.

What has certainly been on the up rise, much like the spread of a virus, is the Service Animal. I am not speaking of seeing eye dogs or hearing dogs or the ambulatory type service dogs that are certainly helpful; and, we as a society should support such use. I am talking about the 30 year old that just “can’t be without his or her pet” and insists it flies for free (or goes to the grocery store, or sits inside the restaurant).

We know many of the service dogs are just that. Solely for people who are so self centered that they just feel it is their right to have their family pooch with them 24/7 (probably why I like Cat people).  I place our dog in a doggy hotel when we all leave town. I would never support its claim as a service dog even though I can guarantee that my wife would certainly feel better with her family pet licking her face.  But feeling better isn’t a handicap. If it were, then I am handicapped too; as I would feel better with lower taxes.

I have seen hunting grade retrievers, with rope for a leash, connected to someone who has been bird hunting in Canada claim the dog is a service dog and is allowed to fly for free.  And the agents and security people are unable to question the right of these passengers.  Hogwash. There is no right to fly the pooch for free. Yes, I know about the ADA. The intent of the ADA was to help free barriers to the disabled – not the lazy, simple, or egomaniacs I too frequently encounter. Well intentioned legislation that is extended through regulatory or legal expansion beyond any rational measure.

Accommodating real needs should be expressly desired. Trumped up ones should be told to take a hike (without the aid of their pet).

Also, I have been on delayed flights where a passenger who is allergic to dogs was unfortunately in both a middle seat and next to one of 3 dogs on that flight. She had to move. Did anyone volunteer to help?  No. So we waited for the stewardess to negotiate a change.  At some point to get the flight going I would have exchanged my 1st class seat for a middle coach to get the plane down the runway.

The challenging thing is I know there are real non-visual handicaps like Epilepsy where a trained dog can help. I am sure there are others. But the numbers in reality are way fewer then the percentages I witness of flying public. That is where I just know the system is too easy to abuse.

Who is at fault?  Well we all are. We start by giving all the kids trophies for showing up. We teach them they are so special.  We treat them as all smarter than average and then we reward every student a Student of the Month award for merely showing up.  We reward them for seeking special treatment. We demand their teachers and schools accommodate every nuance.  We demand higher grades for Johnny and Bessie as God forbid any one is Average.

We look at others and feel short changed. We want that better mortgage rate, nicer car, and then we see the Service Dog. Or our friends have one and we don’t, so we become envious. So we plead with our doctor for a note and voila, we have the required note. And pooch doesn’t have to suffer the kennel and we all pay the price of these insecurities.

Let’s face it. We all want to feel special. And sometimes we are. Oftentimes we aren’t. And having others subsidize one’s behavior and choices is unfair to those that pay and foot the financial and psychological price. The real cost is the implications to those that really and truly need to privilege because We, the Public, simply see the picture in front of us and deem the person guilty.

Think about it.

Episode #7 Preview – Everyday Ethics: Doing well by doing good

All businesses have a vested interest in virtue. Business is dependent on the moral and cultural institutions of a free society. The economic and ethical point of a business entity is to serve others. Business is a morally serious enterprise, in which it is possible to act either immorally or morally. It requires moral conduct to thrive in the long run. Yet business ethics means a great deal more than obeying the civil law and the various accountancy acts and regulations. It means imagining and creating a new sort of world based upon the principles of individual creativity, community, realism, and the other virtues that make up the spirit of enterprise.

Ethical behavior of businesspeople is expected each and every day. Failure to follow ethical behavior jeopardizes your personal and professional future. What ethical obligations do you have to your customers, employer, team members, and outside stakeholders? Trolleyology, would you kill the fat man?

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