In a recent post, “Are You Prepared for Success?”, I talked about the importance of preparing for success by taking "before" pictures in a methodical and timely way. That elicited an interesting comment from a reader, Dr. John Sweeney, who described how he came to realize how important those initial photos are and how he now insists on doing them even if patients may find it "a bit much" at first.
His comment ends with these words:
I read a quote by Henry Ford that said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." Instead, he invented a car. This really helped me develop our new patient experience because patients will tend to only want what they have had before. That is, until they experience something better.
That reminded me of another quote from another legendary American innovator, Steve Jobs. Just as Apple was breaking new ground in the world of personal electronics, he was getting advice from marketing experts who were pushing the wisdom of collecting information from consumer focus groups, and using that data to guide the design process. Jobs resisted.
"It's really hard to design products by focus group," he said. "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
That probably applies to a lot of your patients, too. As Dr. Sweeney points out, patients will tend to only want what they have had before. But it's not enough to respond to their expectations. You have to take them to another level – a level they couldn't have wanted because they didn't know it existed. That's what it means to be a leader.