Engage Your Competitors
By C. Jason Richardson, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT
Early in my career, I often viewed our competition as the “enemy” and believed that engaging them in collegial talks would conflict with our respective strategic plans or that the discussions would lead to revealing our “secret sauce.” Many of you may hold a similar view. Seeing the competition as the “enemy” means leaders with similar day-to-day challenges have little to no contact or collaboration with each other. Ultimately, this view will significantly limit your ability to evolve your business.
While certain strategic components of your business should remain under wraps, non competitive communication can lead to operational improvements, best practices, and personal growth.
Recently, I met a large competitor when I traveled through their town. My initial conversation with this executive was over the phone, and I followed up our conversation with a calendar invitation. I told him I wanted to discuss global changes related to regulatory and payment trends, general operational structure, and how they were leveraging technology to enhance patient experiences within their physical therapy practice—as well as put a face with the name.
While this practice executive was a bit guarded early in our meeting, these walls quickly came down once I demonstrated a willingness to discuss my perspective. During the meeting, we established a rapport and by its conclusion, we had generated new ideas on operational tasks that we each could implement to enhance our practices. To date, we both periodically speak with one another and have committed to catching up in person a few times a year.
In conclusion, we need to be open to engage with our competitors and meet with them periodically. Not to exchange business secrets, but to learn from one another and collaborate on issues that mutually align. Taking this initiative will enhance your knowledge, expand your point of view, and inspire new ideas. You may even make a new friend.
C. Jason Richardson, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, is a PPS member and the vice president of clinical operations for Results Physiotherapy in Franklin, Tennessee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.