Who do you trust? Who can you trust? from GDPUK

My latest post for GDPUK:

One of the main tenets of Professor Onora O’Neill’s arguments around the theme of trust is that we must aim to have more trust in the trustworthy but not in the untrustworthy. She says, “I aim positively to try not to trust the untrustworthy.”

Which brings around the questions. Who can you trust? Who do you trust? And then by extension, Who can trust you? Who does trust you?

All of us exist in different circles. At the centre is the Circle of Control. Sometimes when I talk to dentists and their teams they say that they feel they have little control over their lives, I can understand those feelings but they are not correct. We have control on where our focus is from moment to moment. We choose and can control our reactions to events and to others. We control where and how we spend our time and energy. We control how we turn up every day. We also control how trustworthy we are.

The next circle is The Circle of Influence. In here are the things that concern you and that you are able to Influence. When we look at this closely many of the things that cause us concern are beyond our control and influence.

 

Finally the outer circle is the Circle of Concern. In here lie all the things that concern you in your work and life, including health, family, finances, the general economy and so on. Everything inside the circle matters to you, everything outside the circle is of no concern to you.

The lesson around the circles is to “Focus on what you can control and don’t waste energy on the things that you cannot.” To take a topical theme, it is very unlikely that any of us can control the outcome of the UK’s proposed Brexit deal – yet many are losing sleep, getting anxious, losing friends and letting it dominate their thinking.

Continues HERE.

 

 

If you’re in Dublin on March 2nd

My maternal grandparents would be proud of me being selected for Croke Park. I’ll not be gracing the hallowed turf with my prowess with sliotar and hurley. Instead I’ll be up on level 5 in the Hogan suite on the 5th Floor with a Taster session of “The 101 Things They Didn’t Teach You At Dental School”.

What to do when…..a Corporate Opens Nearby – Part 2

What to do when a corporate opens nearby. First Published in Private Dentistry…2 of 2

6 Expand your offering.

What is the corporate doing that you could be doing – and be doing better? Now is the time to take those course that you have been postponing. Invest in yourself, your skills and those of everyone in the practice. Where are your “blind spots”? What skills are you, your associates and support team lacking? Get out there and get refreshed, it will do everybody good.

 

7 Up your business game.

Get out of any business comfort zone you may have been enjoying. Set personal and business goals. Make sure your financial controls and monitoring are as good as they can be. Brush up your sales process by ensuring everybody understands the importance of every stage of the patient journey. Refresh your internal marketing.

8 Ride with, and learn to avoid, the punches.

People will leave, the unexpected ones, the ones that you have moved heaven and earth to help. That will hurt; you’re a human being, of course it will hurt. There is a possibility that there will be a fall in new patients calling. Accept it, use it as a chance to look backwards at patients who you haven’t seen for a couple of years and reactivate them.

Beware of getting dragged into a price war with the new business who will be using loss leaders and offers to attract new patients. There’s no such thing as a “free” examination, just a consultation with someone who isn’t qualified to give a full opinion. A price war is a race to the bottom, keep your eyes upwards, make quality your mantra in everything that you do.

9 Wave goodbye / Welcome back

Let patients “leave” with your blessing, they’ll be back. Be understanding, be helpful, offer to share notes and radiographs. Keep them on your database (with permission) so that they get the regular newsletter, the news of the people, the offers, the inside track.

In my experience the best way to drive business to a private practice is an NHS corporate opening across the road. When they come back, and if they don’t return you really do need to take a long hard look at yourself, welcome them, listen to what their experiences have been and what they have learned. Then learn from them. Delight in their return, welcome them home.

 

10 Celebrate your independent success on your terms.

The patients who attend are coming to see you and your colleagues. The help you give is what you think is appropriate not set down and governed by a spreadsheet. The targets you set are your targets, flexible enough to be realistic for your patients.

The history of post-war Britain is for successful small firms to be swallowed up by large ones and for the intrepid owners to move on and start again. You cannot take on the “big boys” on their terms so don’t try to do it. Discover your niche, work at it, celebrate it.

Look at the big picture, you aren’t competing with the corporate you’re competing for the discretionary spend with holidays, cars, gym membership and consumer goods. Put health and individuals at the heart of your business, be honest with yourself, your team and your patients and you will resist this and other challenges.

It’s never my fault…

“It is a remarkable fact, but few businesses ever seem to fail because of excessive leverage, misconceived strategies, or inability to meet the needs of their customers. They struggle because banks unreasonably refuse further credit, or because of unseasonable weather, or some unexpected adverse effect such as a terrorist attack. Most often, however, their difficulties are the result of some insufficiently supportive government policy. The corporate executive who says “we got it wrong” is as rare as the politician who makes a similar admission.”

John Kay writing in the FT 7th/8th July 2018

Rees’s Reads #1 – Setting The Table by Danny Meyer

Setting The Table – The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

This book should be compulsory reading for everyone who works in any business that serves customers face to face. I believe it is essential for any dentist looking to differentiate themselves – especially from corporate practices.

Danny Meyer is a restauranteur. The CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group this books describes how his passion for food and service led to his founding, over a 21 year period, five “white-table” restaurants, an urban barbecue joint, a feel-good jazz club, a neo-roadside hotdog & burger stand, three modern museum cafes and on off-premises, restaurant quality catering company. At the time of writing he had not had to close any of them.

The basis of his an any successful restaurants is the quality of the food allied with a dedication to the best possible service. Danny describes the non-food elements as “hospitality”. His aim when opening a new venue is to, “draw the best elements of the classic, make it authentic for its present context, and then try to execute it with excellence.” 

Throughout the book he presents case studies, words of wisdom, stories of what has worked and what hasn’t, the lessons he has learned and above all how to be successful by serving the public but on your own terms.

Here are a few quotes:

Self: I have always viewed excellence as a journey rather than a destination. Taking that journey demands a form of athleticism. It is the athlete’s nature to call on all resources to compete and win. I believe it’s possible to apply to business the same skills I would apply on a tennis court or baseball diamond. I see this as a combination of innate ability, focused training, and a persistent zeal to win.

Marketing: Know Thyself: Before you go to market, know what you are selling and to whom. It’s a very rare business that can (or should) be all things to all people. Be the best you can be within a reasonably tight product focus. That will help you improve yourself and help your customers to know how and when to buy your product.

Service: Best described through what he has written of how he discovered “enlightened hospitality” after his wife miscarried twins and his life took a different perspective. He describes outlining what he considered non-negotiable about how he does business. “Nothing would ever matter more to me than how we expressed hospitality to each one another. And then in descending order, our next core values would be to extend gracious hospitality to our guests, our community, our suppliers, and finally our investors.”

People: He talks about the 51% that he looks for in employees whether they be chefs or the front of house team. He says he wants people who have 51% emotional hospitality and 49% technical ability. He seeks the “excellence reflex” in people which is a natural reaction to fix something that isn’t right, or to improve something that could be better. “This “excellence reflex” is rooted in instinct and upbringing, and then constantly honed through awareness, caring and practice.”

In the chapter, “Whoever wrote the rule…?” he questions acceptance of the status quo and the conventional ways of doing things saying, “The commitment to add something fresh to an existing dialogue informs every decision my colleagues and I make.”

I could go on but I have exceeded the 500 words I allow myself here. Just get the book, read it and be inspired.

Buy it from The Book Depository HERE.

 

The snowflake economy

If your business depends upon discretionary spending take note:
Buy now, pay later. The retail sector has had a tough start to the year with some big names heading into administration. Last week’s snow will have made things even worse as shoppers stayed away from the high street. So it is unfortunate timing that January’s lending data showed even more spending is occurring on credit. Credit card balances rose at almost 10%, suggesting consumers are still keen to buy now and pay later. Whether this is from renewed confidence in their future finances or because the cash ran out over Christmas remains to be seen but will have big consequences for future growth.
Turning tide. Consumer credit might be threatening double digit growth, but companies are being much more cautious with their finances. Borrowing in January by UK businesses was only 1% higher than a year ago. That’s quite a slowdown given that growth of 2-3% was typical through most of last year. Even more striking is the behaviour of different sized firms. Broadly speaking, large companies are still borrowing, but SMEs now owe no more than they did in January 2017. Is this Brexit uncertainty finally beginning to bite, or a gradual response to the Bank of England’s message that we should expect rates to rise? Either way, the contrast to the behaviour of households is stark.
and if you’re in your 40s and feeling chipper you’re bucking the trend.
Happiness. Like Churchill on democracy, GDP is the worst way to measure an economy, apart from all the others. One criticism is GDP fails to measure the things that matter, like happiness or anxiety. So the ONS produces a ‘personal wellbeing index’. The good news is that we were slightly chirpier in 2017 than in 2016 – and we’ve getting steadily more perky since the index began in 2012. Women tend to feel happier, more worthwhile and yet also more anxious than men. Oh, and we’re most happy in our 60s and 70s, least happy in our 40s. Sounds about right.

We are NOT Goldfish

The Year End clear out – this from 2014! Has anything changed?

I don’t know why I’m still surprised by people who use ad blockers but still spend money on advertising…

Advertising is a huge source of the “data pollution” Fred Wilson talked about at LeWeb a few weeks ago. (See here, starting at about 23 minutes in.)

What’s wrong with this view, and this approach, is the architectural assumption that:

  1. We are consumers and nothing more. Fish in a bowl.
  2. The Net — and the Web especially — is a container.
  3. Advertisers have a right to target us in that container. And to track us so we can be targeted.
  4. Negative externalities, such as data pollution, don’t matter.
  5. This can all be rationalized as an economic necessity.

Yet here is what remains true, regardless of the prevailing assumptions of the marketing world:

  1. We are not fish. Rather, as Cluetrain put it (in 1999!), we are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. we are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp. deal with it.
  2. The Net was designed as a wide open space where all the intelligence that matters is at its ends, and each of us sits (stands, walks, drives) at one.
  3. Even if advertisers have a legal right to target us, their manners are terrible and doomed for correction.
  4. Negative externalities matter. A lot. As Fred said in his talk, we eventually dealt with the pollution caused by industry, and we’ll deal with it in the virtual world as well.
  5. The larger economic necessity is for a well-functioning marketplace. We’ll get that online once free customers prove more valuable than captive ones.

The key is to replicate online the experience of operating as a free and independent customer in the physical world.

For example, when you go into a store, your default state is anonymity. Unless you are already known by name to the people at the store,  you are nameless by default. This is a civic grace. There is no need to know everybody by name, and to do so might actually slow things down and make the world strange and creepy. (Ask anybody who has lived in a surveillance state, such as East Germany before it fell, what it is like to be followed, or to know you might be followed, all the time.) We haven’t yet invented ways to be anonymous online, or to control one’s anonymity. But that’s a challenge, isn’t it? Meaning it is also a market opportunity.

We’ve lived in a fishbowl long enough. Time to get human. I guarantee there’s a lot more money coming from human beings than from fish whose only utterances are clicks.

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