Leadership: Use Competition to Bring Out Your Best

Mr. Ladner entered my office. As usual, he his passion entered several seconds in advance. “J. I have to tell you, I do not like what is going on around here.”
Gus Ladner was not one for small talk. When he had a problem, he let you know. “Please come in Gus, let me know what you are talking about.” I pulled a chair for him beside my desk.
“J. That Double-A Therapy Group is advertising like crazy all about town,” he said his face reddening with every word.
“I know Gus, I have seen them.”
“What are you going to do about it?” His voice cracked. “That’s what I want to know?”
I have been in the business of health care for over 20 years. I have often wondered why anyone would fear competition. I never thought that competition was a bad thing, or something that needed to be avoided. Honestly, I have always welcomed competition because I feel that it ensures that the customer has the option for the best product or service. This article illustrates my sentiment.
“Do about what, Gus?” I purposely pretended to forget his charge.
“The advertising from A-A Therapy, that’s what you have to do something about.” Gus cared about my business nearly as much as I did. He had been a patient, customer, and regular visitor for over five years.
“I don’t see that I have to do anything about it, Gus. They’re not my signs.” I tried not to make it seem too obvious.
“But those signs have to be taking business from you. Don’t you care about that?”
“How do you think that those signs are taking business from me, Gus?” I was curious as to his response.
“Well, they’re advertising same day evaluations, short wait times to treatment, and a friendly staff.”
My face contorted a bit. I had seen the signs, but I had not really read them.
“You see,” he continued, “that will has to hurt you.” Spittle flew from his lips.
“Gus, please take a breath and sit down.”
He heaved a breath and collapsed in the chair I had pulled up.
“Gus, when was the last time that you came to therapy?”
“About 6 weeks ago.”
“How many days did you have to wait to get your appointment?” I asked.
He scratched his temple. “If I remember correctly, I came right from the doctors and you worked me in almost immediately.”
I nodded. “So you got your appointment the same day, and you had very little wait time. Is that right?”
“Yes, yes, of course, it is always that way.”
“And would you consider me and my staff friendly?” I turned my hands to the sky in question.
“Ah, I see what you are saying,” he said. “He has to advertise those things, because he probably has not been doing them. He is trying to compete with you.” Gus held up his index finger as he said this.
“Maybe,” I said “but I know that in the past that they have done some things that I have paid attention to. Do you remember when I go that new unweighting equipment in last year?”
“Yes, I do,” Gus responded immediately. “It had to be pretty expensive.”
I wanted to agree enthusiastically, but instead said, “That was in response to a new technology that Double-A got. You see they keep me providing the best service that I can. I hope that I do the same for them.”
Gus nodded in mild agreement.
“If it weren’t Double-A, then it would be someone, or something, else,” I said. “If they didn’t exist, I would have to create my own competition just so I wouldn’t lose my edge.”
Gus nodded in full agreement this time.
“Competition is really a benefit to the customer, Gus. It keeps each of us striving for improvement. You, the patient, the customer are the beneficiary.” I put my hand on his shoulder. “But, thank you for worrying about me. I do appreciate it.”
He blushed a bit. “I just want to make sure that my therapy provider stays in business. I am more worried about me than I am you,” he said with a wink.
“Thanks,” I said. “Now, do you want to help me design a sign bigger and more colorful than the Double-A one?”
We both laughed, but I was serious.
Thanks for reading,
J. Pullman
If you like this article, please comment or share it with a friend. I would appreciate it!

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *