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Dr. Noel Lloyd - 5 Star Management

The Most Important Question You’ll Ever Ask Your Associate

Before you hire a chiropractor to join your practice, it’s critical to find out if your potential associate’s goals are compatible with yours.

  Needing a paycheck and being attracted to an energetic and well-run practice are understandable reasons that might drive someone to apply for the position. And your prospective associate may forget or even cover other strong desires in order to land the job and work for you.  

However, after a few short days or weeks, when they discover that building a great practice is hard work, they may be asking themselves, “Why in the world am I doing this?” Why indeed. Their immediate answer needs to be “because my long-term professional and personal goals are furthered greatly in my associateship.”

 If not, and your associate holds different long-term professional and personal goals, you just might get a letter on your desk some Monday morning explaining how the two of you weren’t a “good fit,” and a promise to mail the office keys back by the end of the week.

How can you know ahead of time if this will happen?

The most important “fit” between a clinic director and an associate is in the area of long-term goals. I can’t count the times I’ve taught that shared goals build unity, and the examples are too numerous to even mention. If you know and are pursuing your goals, and those goals do not support your associate’s goals, a split is inevitable.

How do we steer clear of this mistake?  

Become an expert at discerning your employee’s long-term goals:

In your interview, ask the candidate, “What do you want to be doing in five years?” Listen carefully to what they tell you. If they are strongly committed to goals that are consistent with yours and you’re willing to help them reach those goals, you have a good chance of arriving there together.  

Show real interest in their answers by asking follow-up questions like, “Why is that important? How long have you thought that? Then look for their eyes to light up when they answer.  

Beware of the person who’s passionate about a totally different practice model than you have. I get nervous when someone tells me they just want to focus on a specific patient group (like only kids or athletes). Or if they want to “spend a lot of time with their patients to really get to know them.” Both of these answers signal to me a weak self-image and poor understanding of chiropractic.

  I’m even more leery of the person without any goals or, my least favorite, the candidate who tells you they want to be “cutting back” in five years. Don’t even get me started on that guy.  

In short, become an expert on reading what a potential associate really wants and why they are in chiropractic in the first place before you make them an offer.

After all, isn’t it your desire to work shoulder to shoulder to an associate who loves the things you love? Of course, it is. It takes a young doctor some time to really understand the process you’re committed to taking them through, but don’t make the potentially fatal error of failing to find out their long-term professional goals.


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