Last week I had a chance to listen to an audio blog post that made some great points but I disagreed with one main statement.
He said that we should try to eliminate cognitive dissonance wherever possible in order to reduce stress in the practice for the doctor and the patient.
The definition of cognitive dissonance
is "the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as related to behavioural decisions and attitude change."
His claim was that patients are not expecting a long term care plan from a chiropractor, so if we present one it will cause cognitive dissonance (or stress) to the patient.
The solution was to give the patient what they expect
and that will reduce the stress of the care plan presentation.
Give them what they want (not what they need) and then sell them on more care in three months and then sell them on more care in 12 months.
This reminds me of an event I was at about 15 years ago.
Ed and I were presenting to a large audience in Toronto and the speaker before us talked the whole time about finding out what the patient wants and giving them that. He said there is no stress in selling someone something that they already want. In other words, be a chameleon.
Change who you are and what you believe in in order to be accepted.
It was our turn to present next. By the way, we were seeing thousands of patients a week and were getting lots of referrals. We basically said the opposite.
As an expert
you need to tell the client what they need
and give them a proper solution, which may or may not be what they want.
If the patient needs 12 months or 24 months or lifetime care, then that is your best recommendation and what you must sell.
There was an example given that if you go to the orthodontist, you expect a 2 to 5 year plan that will cost thousands of dollars.
Going to an orthodontist and getting a 3 month plan would cause cognitive dissonance. OK, that makes sense. But how did the orthodontists get to the point where people expect to pay thousands of dollars over several years just to have straight teeth? They educated them on what was needed and then presented the entire plan that's how!
Once the public understood, it became normal. The public needs to understand that functional and structural chiropractic care takes time. The research is in, you cannot change a spine in 3 months so stop talking about 3 months.
The solution is not to avoid
stress but to train to take the stress out of the situation
The reason that Ed and I and hundreds of our clients can recommend long term care plans for patients that need them is because we have read and studied the research and we know that it works and it is what the patient desperately needs. If you go into a "sales" presentation and you genuinely know from your heart that what you are presenting is what the patient needs, then you will do whatever it takes to help that person reach their health goals. You eliminate the cognitive dissonance and the stress that goes along with that.People know if you are there to help them or if you are selling them something. If you are passionate about serving and helping there is no stress that you cannot handle.
The problem arises when you show up at a doctor's report and you want to get something out
of the patient instead of pouring into them. Wanting something from them (money, power etc.) comes from a position of weakness.
Typically at an examination or doctor's report, the patient is coming from a position of weakness. They are in pain or losing function and they are scared.
Wilder et all describe a weak person as either a predator or a possum.
If the doctor comes into the report in a position of weakness, he will inevitably become either a predator or a possum.
The predator will dictate what they want the patient to do from position not from compassion. If the patient pushes back at the recommendations the doctor will do one of two things; act as a predator and try to control the patient, or act like a possum and avoid being hurt themselves. They will relinquish control, take down preset boundaries, and let the patient do whatever they want.
If the doctor is coming into the situation in a position of strength and high joy she will act as a gentle protector. She will be able to relate to the patient, convey concern and compassion and offer a solution that will help. The problem is that it is easy to drop out of the gentle protector mode and become weak. It takes training to stay relational during the report and not get thrown off by what everyone else is doing.
With training, every interaction in the workplace can be done from a position of relational strength, love and joy.
If we focus on what the patient needs, not what they want, and train to be gentle protectors, then we can create an environment of joy and peace instead of angst and distress.
It's not unlike doing physical training. If you try to avoid physical stress you will never get faster, stronger, better. If you train hard and submit to the pain of transformational stress then you will be able to handle more effort and strain in the future. If you train consistently in the gym and can clean 185 pounds, then when you are asked to lift 135 pounds, it's easy!
Believe me there is more joy in lifting 135 lbs over your head or running a hard 10k if you are trained up.
The conclusion is obvious. If you don't want to train, then you need to minimize the cognitive dissonance and the resulting stress and be a chameleon.
Change to the flavour of the day depending on who is in front of you. Baskin and Robbins Chiropractic.
In the end this ends up being much more stressful and is impossible to do at a high volume.
If you are willing to train to be a gentle protector and serve out of love and joy then there is no end to what you can do.
Become an expert on dealing with stress by stepping into the GAP.
In Warrior Coaching we define the GAP as the distance between where you are and where you want to be. To get into the GAP and train there you have to step out of your comfort zone.
Many coaching programs suggest that because the GAP is so uncomfortable you should avoid it except for short periods of time. In Warrior we suggest that if you want to get somewhere you need to get in the GAP as often as possible and actually train in the GAP. That is the foundation of our Agape training philosophy.
Physically train in the pain, train the soul by stepping into fear, and train the spirit by working on a foundational relationship with God.
All training is followed up with adequate recovery. If you get this rhythm right, natural organic growth occurs spontaneously.
In their book, Joy Starts Here, James Wilder et all suggest that we can create and propagate joy when strong individuals with good relational skills relate to the weak in a gentle protector manner. Their focus is on creating joy in the family, schools and churches. I strongly suggest (and my experience bears this out) that the marketplace is perhaps the most important place where we can create joy.
One thing is for certain, doctors and business leaders need to train on being strong gentle protectors.
Too many doctors and business owners don't know how to put aside their fears and their masks and they enter into the doctor/ patient or business owner/ client relationship out of a position of weakness.
From this position they cannot become gentle protectors and they cannot propagate joy. Subsequently, they will be stressed and the patient/client will not get what they need, they will get what the seller thinks they will buy. This leads to high stress and failed practice and business.
How do you train on being free to enter into and train in the GAP? How do you take off the masks and false selves and be yourself? How do you transform into the person God created you to be?
You have to hang out with people that are already doing it. You cannot learn this from a book. You have to experience it. That's why we go to Camp.
Come to a Warrior Coaching Camp #1 and experience how to be free and be who God called you to be.
See you at Camp!
However I stand firm on my main point; in order to be able to make the right recommendations and have them accepted by the patient you need to train. Train to get out of your own way and worry about the patient and not about yourself. Surrender doesn't come naturally. The patient/client needs to know you care about them and that you have their best interest in mind. The problem is that most chiropractors are unwilling to train and therefore are weak in many areas, but especially week in their soul (mind, will and emotions). If they are weak then they will always have a hard time leading patients through corrective care because they are more concerned about what's in it for them or what the patient will think about them (fear of man) and patients can smell that a mile away.
This is not just my personal opinion. It is based on 30 years of practice and 15 years of coaching hundreds of chiropractors. Talk to any of our clients that are serving at a massive level and they will agree with me 100%. The reality is that if you do 3, 6, 9 month programs for someone who needs long term corrective care you will frustrate yourself and your patients. Our clients move to 12 month programs as soon as they are ready because it is the best thing for the patient and for the practice. With shorter recommendations you are constantly reselling and this causes stress and confusion. It is much better to create agreement around a 12 month program with the understanding of lifetime spinal stewardship up front.
Short term recommendations unfortunately lead to a feeling of bait and switch.