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Dr. Noel LLoyd

23. Focus

I love being focused, and it’s my guess that you do, too. That alert, clear-headed feeling, where you’re catching things on the fly and making good decisions quickly, is exciting. Even now, in my sixties, being focused makes me feel like a kid. Present Time Consciousness, passion, and confidence are all first cousins of focus, which turns work into a game. Focus is the optimal way to work and live.

When you’re out of focus you’re bored, confused, and distracted. We can blame a ton of chiropractic practice woes on a lack of focus. In fact, most of the stress that’s created by allowing important issues to slip through the cracks comes from a problem with focus.

Does sharp focus come to only a select few, like a random gift, leaving others wanting? Is the intense attention to important issues that is the hallmark of focus the accident of genetics, dumb luck, or the result of a series of conscious decisions and actions? No. We can all learn how to keep our focus through trials, and avoid boredom or distraction.

Twenty-five-plus years of coaching experience tells me that when we are in control of our thoughts, we can all learn how to enjoy more and be more successful.

Most doctors who have learned to focus their attention and energies have a couple tricks up their sleeves that keep them focused. Here are a few of mine:


1. Vision, goals, and action:

Focus springs naturally and effortlessly from a clear vision, specific goals, and effective action. I ask my consulting clients to visualize what they want and tell me what it looks like. Then we break that down into specific daily, weekly, and monthly goals. That will take them from wishing to reality. And effective action moves me from where I am to my vision and goal.

Assignment: Write out your vision of your practice, preferably in fewer than four hundred words. Then write out your specific goals for new patients, established patients, production,

collections, and patient visit average. Now check the vision and your goals against reality and find out where to apply your focus.

Example: One of my clinics had a so-so Kept Appointment Average (KAP) of eighty-four percent – not my vision, nor my goal of at least ninety-two percent. We focused on specific actions to fix our KAP and saw it increase to ninety-three percent. We saw what we wanted, set a goal and took the action.


2. Use checklists:

Everyone who knows me knows I love checklists. A checklist is written focus.

I learned about the value of checklists while learning to fly airplanes more than forty years ago. Each item on an aviation checklist represents a mistake someone previously made in an environment that requires no mistakes just to stay alive.

You can template the best procedures for the practice you envision and put them in a checklist so you hit your goals.

Example: It’s been brought to your attention that patients aren’t being greeted the way you want at the front desk. Create a checklist that outlines each step of the greeting, from standing, smiling, the welcome script, etc. Then practice the checklist with your staff until it’s done perfectly. This is the very process of being focused.


3. Surround yourself with focused people:

Spend your time with people who share your vision and your goals. One of the things I love about my consulting clients is that they’ve each agreed to push themselves and each other on our

practice visions and goals, and to take specific action to produce a best-ever year in their practices.

Do whatever necessary to be in that type of company.


4. Practice, practice, practice:

Focus is a skill and takes practice. For years I would start my practice day reviewing the “Daily Dozen,” a set of twelve attitudes and actions that I wanted to incorporate in my behavior – some as simple as deciding to be positive every time I entered a room. There were days that I would hit everything on my list for a couple hours straight. Other days, I’d stumble in the first twenty minutes. However – and here’s the key – instead of giving up when I slipped, I’d go back to my checklist and see if I could stay focused longer next time. The more I practiced focus, the more focused I became. It’s that simple.

Another discipline that’s been worth its weight in gold is the conscious decision to leave my problems outside, on the azalea by the back door, when I enter the clinic. It is my focused desire and disciplined choice to make my practice a refuge, not only for the patients and the staff, but also for me. It is so much easier to focus on the tasks at hand when my personal problems are left to wait outside at the shrub.


5. The Swiss watch perspective:

There are few things as beautiful as the workings of a Swiss watch. The precision, craftsmanship, and the product (keeping accurate time) is a work of art. That same beauty can be seen in your practice if you craft your vision, set your goals, and take action to make your practice a work of art. I have coached hundreds to the Swiss watch standard and they tell me this concept has helped their focus.


6. Focus on the Big Picture:

Why bother with any of this? We have one life, and each of us has the rest of that life to live by choice. We are not victims. We have an obligation to focus our dreams, ideas, and energies on our practices and build them the way we want them to be.

If you don’t teach patients how to be good, happy citizens of your practice, who will? And if you do, what a great practice you will have.



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