A Success Story in Medicine by Allan Elder

I was reading your blog on reversal and it reminds me of how I have used it. Once again, I put this in a story format in case anyone wants to use it.

When developing my wife's medical practice we listed the "rules" of running a practice. While some of those rules were demanded by the government many were simply historical and had no basis in success. Wanting to use her practice as an example Sun Tzu's strategy actually works we flipped all the rules we didn't like upside down.

For example, one rule is "everybody takes insurance and medicare." So, our new rule was "We take only cash." Another rule is "every physician rents an office in a medical building with multiple exam rooms." Our rule was "we do not rent any space but use the space of others." Of course this is also a strategic principle in itself to "feed off the enemy." There is the traditional rule "every doctor has a medical assistant." Our rule is "no assistant, at all." One last rule to mention is the physicians private number is just that - private." Our rule is every patient gets their physicians personal cell phone number.

There are additional rules that we reversed but this is a pretty good list. As you can see from this list we have basically taken every "proven" rule of medical business and reversed them. When we presented the plan to other physicians they had a good chuckle at how we could survive.

We are now six months into the business and are approaching our first growth pains. We are getting more patients than anticipated without one single advertising dollar spent. We are affiliated with multiple hospitals and have a couple of other physicians waiting to join in. The best part is as the physician, my wife has lots of free time. No more "15 minute visits" crammed in to the day. She is making more money now than ever before (that's 20 years of medicine financially beat in six months).

Of course we used some other elements of Sun Tzu as taught by the Science of Strategy Institute to keep us advancing and protecting our position but the overall success has been due to what I consider creating all new ground by the law of reversal.

After telling this story to a coaching client we are now on a new experiment. She is a singer and wants to create a CD. I am having her do the same process. She is currently listing the "rules" for a singer making a CD and then we are going to create new ground so that she is the only one competing on it. I will keep you posted.

Competitive Arenas: