Casting Off Negativity To Bolster Your Practice’s Success

Lynn Homisak, PRT, CHC

Principle #5: Negative Impressions Spread Like Germs

Have you ever sat in your treatment room and had a look around? Are there nail clippings on the floor from the previous patient? Boxes of supplies in the corner? How about in your reception room? Dying plants? Scattered magazines? Do you have a staff person who others find hard to work with? Did your receptionist neglect to immediately acknowledge the new patient and make him or her feel welcome?

   Every day, actions or situations that appear perfectly normal to you (because they happen routinely) can wind up packing a pretty negative impression on your patients. Negativity is a virus that spreads quickly.

   Let us assume you had a dissatisfied patient and instead of complaining to you, she left the practice, dragging her unhappiness with her. It is said that one dissatisfied customer will tell nine to 12 others and in the same way that one germ can spread, so too can one unaddressed bad impression. Get inside their heads. Connect with them. Listen for clues of displeasure. Conduct patient satisfaction surveys and inoculate the disappointed patient with kindness and compassion to prevent a potential epidemic from happening.

Principle #6: Patients May Never Know About Your Negativity But You Will

Do you believe in karma? Do you think that everything you do (good or bad) ends up coming back to you one way or another? Let’s face it. No one else has to know that you upcoded your service or did not give a small donation to a friend to help fight her crippling disease or overcharged a patient for a product. They may never know but you will. How many unkind or wrong choices can you live with before they start chipping away at your conscience or come back to haunt you? How will you ever be able to convince others to believe in you when deep down, your choices make it difficult for you to believe in yourself?

Strategies For Being More Positive

The book suggests trying to “exercise our niceness muscles” by offering the following three activities.

   Get into the habit of being nice. Every day for the next week, do five nice things that have no immediate payoff for you. Say thank you to others. Take an interest in lives other than your own. Donate money to charity. Compliment a stranger. Give a larger tip than usual. Simply get into the habit of being nice and rediscover how good that makes you feel.

   Be a “best supporting actor.” See yourself as others do and instead of being the lead, do an inventory of all the people in your life and be the supporting actor in their movie for a change. What kind of character would you play in their movie? Are you the loving, present daughter or the distracted, absent one? Are you the sweet, supportive boyfriend or the needy, selfish one? Are you the office troubleshooter or the drama queen? Then stop and think about each relationship and write down five ways in which you can make your “character” more sympathetic.

   Model yourself after the kind of person you admire. Do you admire people who do volunteer work? What about those who reach out to family members and make plans to do things together? What about people who admire, help and mentor others at work? Chances are, you know folks who ask about and remember the details of the lives of patients, employees and colleagues. Finish this statement: To be a better person, I would …

   In Principle #6, Thaler and Koval want readers to understand that niceness is a two-way street. “The power of nice,” they say, “is not about running around manically smiling and doing everyone’s bidding, all the while calculating what you’ll get in return. It’s not about being phony or manipulative. It’s about valuing niceness — in yourself and in others — the same way you respect intelligence, beauty, or talent. Niceness is a powerful force …”

   Finally, contrary to what you may have heard about nice guys finishing last, in a race between nice and nasty, nice always finishes first.

   Ms. Homisak, the President of SOS Healthcare Management Solutions, has a Certificate in Human Resource Studies from the Cornell University School of Industry and Labor Relations, and a Certificate in Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. She is recognized nationwide as a speaker, writer and expert in staff and human resource management.

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