THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Depression proofing

A fantastic day yesterday:

  1. visiting an IDH Private acquisition candidate (anon) and hitting it off straight away with the two principals – a potentially successful practice which, by their own admission, has been allowed to slide. Sir Richard Branson would have loved it – a tired business waiting to perform. Gordon Ramsey would have sworn at them;

  2. a surprise visit to Marcus and Louise Spry to see their lovely new practice, Fresh Dental, in Maidstone – quite beautiful and, with 120 new patient sign-ups in the first 10 weeks, proof that it can be done;

  3. an exciting meeting with Brian Weatherly (Managing Director), Nigel Griffin (National Sales Manager) and Kelly Stephenson (Marketing Manager) at Software of Excellence. As well as discussing some exiting business initiatives for 2009 (watch the press) I was delighted to have a sneak preview of the new features in Exact Version 10 – and they are awesomely good – and focused on patient relationship management. I was immensely impressed by Brian, his team and their Head Office facility;

  4. an evening “in car” and on the phone to lots of people, both professional and personal.

As a result of some rather bad planning on my part (nobody else to blame) I drove 600 miles yesterday and fell through the door of my Manchester apartment at 11:00 pm last night but with a rosy glow.

This morning I wake to 65 incoming emails – who said “downturn”?

On which point – I did read with interest a spreadsheet this morning from a principal in the Midlands who is contingency planning – “what would the business look like if sales dropped by 45%?”

Clearly, there were disaster provisions involved – redundancies amongst the cllinical and support team.

What impresses me is that the principal took the time to do the analysis – I have enough trouble getting dentists to measure where they ARE, let alone where they MIGHT BE.

The principal them asked me whether he should discuss these figures with his team – and I replied as follows:


Leadership is about offering hope.

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Charles Revlon famously said — “In the factories we make perfume but in the stores we sell hope”.

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Obama says — “Yes we can!” and America makes him President.

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Bush says “we are all screwed” and loses — which is where Gordon Brown is going.

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If “Dave” Cameron offered hope he would become Prime Minister.

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When Shackleton decided that to get all the men back he would have to kill the horses and the cat — he didn’t make an announcement — he just waited until it was necessary and then did it.

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DO NOT make this information public — and don’t start wandering around the practice chatting to staff, dentists and patients about how bloody awful the economy is and how clever you are that you have a disaster plan — you will sounds like the school swat and everyone will call you an asshole behind your back.

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Depression-proof your practice and yourself.

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To read a superb article on “Downturn Leadership” click here.

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