Sometimes a confluence of events or issues come together in a strange way. This was one of those weeks.
First– Richard Thaler wins the Nobel Prize in economics. Richard Thaler has long been a hero of mine. If you don’t know his work, he basically showed that humans are not rational economic agents, like first proposed by Adam Smith. It’s his work that lead to the change in retirement funding where people are automatically signed up into their 401ks and have opt out.
Second- I hear about a disappointing interaction with the powers that be at their institution. My friend tells me they are implementing a new Antibiotic program for community acquired pneumonia. There is needed educational classes. An email goes out that reads along the affect, “Everyone must sign up for a class. You must register in 2 weeks. So far, only 15% have signed up. If you don’t sign up, you’ll be suspended, etc.” Knowing the findings of Thaler, my friend send an email recommending that everyone be assigned a date for training with the option to reschedule. That will get everyone past the first step and have 100% assigned. After an exchange pointing out Thaler’s work in education, finance, and medicine he got a disheartening response: “I’ve launched five antibiotic policy program. how many have you launched? We’ll ask you for advice when we want it”. Can you believe it?
Third- This article on candor in the workplace is published in the WSJ. Being able to be honest without being penalized for it, is one of the being problems in medicine. Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE was one of the leading proponents. In medicine, it’s often the case that the we are silent over the big glaring problems and verbose about the meaningless ones. The honest are usually “whacked”, while the meek get promoted. Leaders are especially guilty of this- the people below you are discussing problems they have with current policies. Since the leaders set the policies, they are in the firing line. If their egos are bruised easily, they respond with oppression rather than discussion.
Which gets me to my final point. How you deal with your thought leaders and change agents defines your success. Maybe, you weren’t interested in an idea sent your way. The smart reply would be along the lines of “thanks for your input. You raise some great ideas. It’s too late to use them now, but I could really use somebody with your interests on the Antibiotics Stewardship committee.” Now the ball is in my court. If I was talented and motivated, this would be a big break for me and could add an interested and vested team player. If not, I’d screen myself out. Instead, I have now gone silent. I will not offer any new innovations to this part of the administration, even if directly asked. When your best people go silent, you’re in trouble. My friend called me looking for a reference- she knows that she is smarter, works harder, and can get treated better somewhere else, all with a bigger paycheck. The administrator who sent the email reply described above probably thought himself witty, but it was a very costly response.
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Office Politics for Physicians: An Introduction to the “Dark Side” “Office politics” -the words bring up images of movie villains with slicked black hair who thwart the hero every step of the way with backstabbing and unfair business practices. Read More… https://negotiationmd.com/office-politics-for-physicians-an-introduction-to-the-dark-side/
Physician Conflict Management- How You Deal with Conflict Matters: Take a guess how many google entries there are for the search term “disruptive doctor”? Did you guess 21.2 MILLION in 0.7 seconds? Sounds crazy, right? We’ve all seen the rude doctor who responds like an immature child or abuses the staff, but did you realize that the issue is this widespread? Read More… https://negotiationmd.com/physician-conflict-management-how-you-deal-with-conflict-matters/
Is it Time to Bring in a Consultant? When the Physician Needs a Specialist. Look around you… If you are the lowest-informed individual at the meeting, you are not at the table- you are on the menu! Don’t make the mistake of being underprepared or under-informed. Read More… https://negotiationmd.com/is-it-time-to-bring-in-a-consultant-when-the-physician-needs-a-specialist/
Marketing for Physicians: Get Your Product Recognized Without the “Cheesiness Factor” Some of the commercials for medical practices and hospitals are so awful and poorly made! The announcer sounds like they are selling a used car, the doctor looks as nervous as a turkey in November, and the message is delivered like a poorly wrapped gift. They could hire the guy who makes the late-night commercials for the local storage facility and do a better job. You want to get your brand recognized, reach potential patients, and grow your market share, but is marketing really the best way to do it? Read More… https://negotiationmd.com/marketing-for-physicians-get-your-product-recognized-without-the-cheesiness-factor/
Physician Contract Review: Do you Need a Formal Legal Consultation? It is unbelievable to consider the dearth of training the average physician receives regarding contracts. Read More… https://negotiationmd.com/physician-contract-review-do-you-need-a-formal-legal-consultation/
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Robert A. Felberg MD
Founder, Physician Advocates LLC