Is Your Medical Practice a Failure?

Tom Peters has an interesting story about Sam Walton that talks about how Sam dealt with failure. It is only 2:00 minutes. Take a look at it and I’ll meet you on the other side.

When you think of Wal-Mart, you don’t necessarily think of failure. But from what Tom Peters tells us, it wasn’t uncommon at all. I found this fascinating.

We run from failure like we would run from an angry bull. Because just like an angry bull, failure is never good. It implies things like malfunction, crashing, disappointment, fiasco, let down and collapse. Consequently, we’ve been paralyzed by the fear of failure.

Tom Peter’s video is an important reminder that failure is such an important part of business. Failure is good for business. If one studies successful business people, one will see that they all have failed and failed often. And many argue that their failure is what led them to greatness.

Here is a crazy thought… what if, failure was actually the goal?

By failing, we know what works and what doesn’t, which helps us win. In other words, one wins, because one fails. Does that make sense?

4 thoughts on “Is Your Medical Practice a Failure?”

  1. Thanks for posting this Brandon! I can honestly say I didn’t feel like a success until I allowed myself to fail. It is a freeing feeling to laugh it off and learn from it instead of beating yourself up. I have also needed to look at success in a different manner. Our goal is to provide quality services to our patients while still paying the bills. This has become more of a challenge in recent years. I appreciate your blog because it validates that we need to do both. Especially in the world of peds, there is a stigma to discussing payment. The reality is, if we aren’t paying the bills then we can’t provide quality care. When we are able to do them both…I am very happy.

  2. I think it makes perfect sense. I think you have to try things and see what happens. This is difficult in a pediatric practice, or anywhere, because inherently most people don’t like change. There seems to be a little better response if it is presented as a rapid PDSA cycle, but not much. My impression is that everyone wants to come to work and do exactly the same thing the same way. How boring! You can’t innovate if you don’t try and fail sometimes.

    1. Channing,

      It is definitely hard to get use to failure as a means to success. And this fear seems to be accentuated in health care. Doctors are inherently conservative people and their view of failure is a lot different, of course.

      It goes without saying that clinically aside, failure can actually make things better. But I will be the first to admit it is easier said than done.

      Thanks for the comment.


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