Don, a friend of mine, recently hit one of those mile marker ages. You know, one of those that require a trip to the doctor for a checkup.
Actually, he wasn’t all that concerned about it. After all, he takes decent care of himself, has always considered himself healthy, and other than some fatigue, felt really good. So in he goes to see his family doctor, Phil. Phil had been the family doctor long enough that they really were on a first name basis.
So Phil tells Don, “Overall, you’re in good shape. Sure you could lose a few pounds and a little more activity wouldn’t hurt. However, the results of your tests are just a little off. I really don’t think its anything, but I have a colleague who is a cardiac specialist I would like you to see. Really, I don’t think its anything at all. It would just make me feel better.”
Not overly concerned, off Don goes to see the specialist, Dr. Ting. Dr. Ting asks a whole bunch of questions (some that Don wasn’t able to answer in the way he would have liked; maybe he does have some warning signs), runs a whole bunch of tests, and is much more concerned about Don’s health than was Phil.
Dr. Ting, “Well, I’m sure this will come as a shock, but you came to see me just in the nick of time. We’re going to have to install a pacemaker. It wasn’t easy to detect, but you have an arrhythmia that we need to control.”
After getting over the initial shock and feeling a little anxious about the surgery and thought of a pacemaker, Don was still very relieved to have found out sooner than later.
Dr. Ting explained that, although there are several pacemaker manufacturers, there are only 2 or 3 that are likely to be the right device for him. Dr. Ting assured Don that he would meet with the manufacturer reps, explain Don’s circumstances, and pick the right one. After meeting with Joe, one of the manufacturer’s reps, Dr. Ting knew he had the right device.
Just a week later, Dr. Ting performed the surgery and it was a complete success. Just a few days later, Don realized that he felt better than he had in 20 years. Obviously, he hadn’t been as healthy as he had thought. Good thing he went in for that physical.
Who are you in the diagnosis process?
Okay, so you might be thinking that I’m writing this to encourage you to go get a physical. Even though that’s a great idea, that’s not my point. What I want you to consider is which of the three individuals who played a part in Don’s medical situation are most similar to your business model?
Are you Phil, a generalist who can provide a decent amount of help in many different areas, but no depth in any one?
Are you Joe, a vendor whose contribution was to provide the right product?
Or, are you Dr. Ting, a specialist who truly diagnosed the problem and then installed the right solution?
Of course, each of the three played a significant role, but their contributions definitely were not equal. While you’re thinking about your model, also think about:
- Who was paid the most for their services?
- Who provided the most value for what they were paid?
- To whom do you think Don was the least concerned about paying a large sum of money?
Obviously, the answer to each question is the specialist. You can identify the problem and even the right solution, but if you don’t ensure that the solution is installed/implemented properly, nothing positive happens.
Photo by Erich Ferdinand.