One of the biggest shifts I had to learn was to carry myself as the CEO of my own business, even when I was working full-time for someone else. For many doctors we get stuck in the employment mentality, trading time for dollars, and live our days as being more reactive, than proactive. On this episode, I give the 4 most successful traits CEOs have that you should incorporate, whether you are a full-time entrepreneur, or just at the beginning stages, as well as 3 action steps that will move you forward.
I want to talk about the one aspect of my life that changed this way a different way of thinking that really changed the trajectory me trajectory that’s easy to say of my life and career. Now I am family medicine trained, I don’t do Family Medicine anymore. But when I was in residency, I was at the Mayo Clinic, that’s where I got my training at. And a tradition that we have at Mayo Clinic was we didn’t wear white coats like 99% of the other residences were doctors for that matter out there. We wore suits. And the only time that we actually got to wear like scrubs is if we were in the hospital ourselves taking call, you know tso after hours taking calls, or if we were at an outside facility that was outside of the the Mayo System, and if we were doing rounds, we’d actually have to, you know, be on all night on call in scrubs.
And then we would have to change back into for men into suit and tie early in the morning. And, you know, it was something that I didn’t really, you know, I didn’t really resent, but it got kind of old after a while. And in understanding how the Mayo Clinic was created was created by these two brothers, Mayo, and they wanted to have a connection between patients and doctors. And they felt that the best way to do it was to dress up how a patient would be dressed up. And in those days, you know, hundred plus years ago, wherever it was, was that man at the time or suit and ties his everyday clothing and so would wear the same type of clothing? No, obviously, as the decades have rolled on, you know, most men aren’t wearing suit. Nice. You know, in everyday garb, I’m here in San Diego where it’s mostly shorts and flip flops. But over time, the the the suit and tie represented a feeling of your competence and professionalism that kind of went along with being a proud alumnus of Mayo Clinic.
And so it got me thinking about the way that many doctors are feeling these days where we don’t feel we have that same professionalism in the same appearance. And so the one aspect that really got me really thinking was something I was taught by my mentor so years ago, it’s just, it’s just stop thinking of yourself as an employee, but think of yourself as an As a CEO, and not only for you only have a business, but over a career, it’s of your entire life. Now, if you’ve been a longtime listener of the BootstrapMD podcast, I talked about this in all the way I believe in episode one, which is the four financial levels of becoming a physician, where we started off as an employee, we then graduate to business owner, CEO, and then investor.
And as my goal for you to start thinking of your life as the CEO of you Incorporated, of everything that you do. And here’s the reason why I think this is important. There was a study done, I believe, was a couple years ago, and they read about the study in Strategy and Business website. And the study was they studied 2500 CEOs and decided, decided to investigate what were the most common qualities that the seeds had in common. And I’ll link to the article in the description so you can read for yourself. So when you think of a CEO, there are lots of different qualities that you may come into your head, you think of things like ambition, they need to have intelligence, they need to have some curiosity, they need to be able to take risks. But they were able to take all these different qualities removes like 100 plus different qualities he had, and they kind of narrowed it down to four that seemed to have the strongest correlation of what they considered successful CEOs. And I want you to read that. I want to read that to you right here.
It was an article called “The Four X Factors of Exceptional Leaders.” So the first trait they listed was Simplify Complexity and Operationalize It. So let’s dig into those words. Simplify complexity. Well as doctors, we’re used to doing this right. We’re used to taking and interpreting difficult to understand medical processes explaining it to our patients in a way that they can easily understand, understand and comprehend it. And as a CEO of your own business as the leader of your own business, do you always feel like you’re always having to put out fires? You’re always having to answer the same questions again and again and again.
Well, if you are, then that shows that there is a breakdown in the operations. I always want to see how I can do to systematize it better. If you feel that you’re answering the same questions again and again and again, then you need them that’s on you that you’re not able to giving them the right answers that in a way that they can understand it. Are you putting are you doing the same thing when you’re talking with patients? If for example, you’re seeing a patient and for each patient that you see it’s taking like An hour to half, but you’re feeling that the first half hour to an hour is explaining your treatment or the complexity of your procedure. If that time is being spent on that, when it’d be easier if you had them watch like a training video, or not a training video, a patient education video before actually went into the room, either on your website or on a television in the patient room that could save you so much more time and, and money. And you could devote to things that are much more pressing that you need to be taking care of.
Same thing when I’m talking with employees, if I feel like let’s say, you know, the most expensive time to have employees at the beginning when you’re training them you spending all that time could be a one week, two weeks a month to actually train them. One of the things that we’ve started was and we have very low turnover, but if someone was to leave I would have them create videos to make the process easier. You know, go through your video, create a screen capture video about everything that you do. So you can train the person, the next person in line. And that’ll save you much more time because they know their job more than you, you probably know their job. And it’s better for them better for you is to let them train it whether you then train them yourself. So I’m always thinking about how can I systematize it? How can I make complex systems? This is a complex situation, how can we simplify it? If it’s a problem that comes in again, and again and again?
Number two is Drive Ambition for the Whole Enterprise. You know, are they seeing you as a motivation as providing motivation for the staff? You know, when I have my business, it’s not just about the success of me it’s a success about the entire business. If the business is well, everybody’s does well. There’s more times for bonuses. There’s more time for race. There’s more times you’re going to be given the stability of having a job, you know, moving forward. Here’s why we want to grow this business and explain to them, what is it? Do they see the same vision you have, or other people who don’t see your vision? And maybe you need to cut those folks loose? Those are the things that you want to look at, and how do you serve as a leader that can inspire these folks on moving forward? Same thing with your patients? Are you inspiring them to become a better version of themselves? How are you doing that? Or do you feel like you’re just, you know, prolonging the inevitable again, it depends on what you do. But those are things that you want the entire business to grow, and that’s acting like a CEO, even in your own life. You know, I think many times that I see where not just with doctors it’s you know, a lot of why did this happen to me? What was me Why Why did this occur to me if you?
Start thinking of it and looking at from a 30,000 feet view. Yes, this is not a good situation, but what are the possible solutions that can get me out of this situation to not only help myself help my, you Incorporated, including, you know, your family, your friends, your ecosystems, so to speak.
Number three is Play Well on Teams, But Don’t Lead. And this almost seems like a contradiction, right? I just talked about leadership. Well, the idea is that, understanding that in these when they did their data, then many of these businesses were successful when they lead teams on a particular problem that they had to initiate. And it’s not just like one person trying to do it, but instead having a few others Incorporated, where it’s based upon the success of the team. So for example, one thing that we’ve been looking on at the time of this recording, we were in a pandemic. In our clinic was pretty much you know, we’ve cut a lot of hours, we’re still open, but we had a lot of hours I formulating a team to what do we need to do to reopen? And then if there’s certain aspects of the team, having, you know, a subset of that team focus on, let’s say, you know, engaging our prior patients who have had we haven’t seen in a while look at offering different new products that we’ve been offering during this unprecedented time.
So we’d have a certain amount of teams that focused on these areas. So one of the questions that the teams ask themselves, even before they actually start the team are, what do we need to work on together to accelerate the strategy? What are the three priorities that we must tackle as a team? And then those answers can drive meeting agendas, guides how decisions are made and focuses communications to the bigger organization.
And then number four is They Build Leaders. And this makes a lot of sense You know, I’m always big on empowering my individuals so they can make their own decisions make the correct decisions, and not you have to be asked every single question about your business. And because you’re gonna go nuts, you’ll be go crazy. I really good. I think one of the reasons why I’ve loyalty is I empower them, to help them make their own decisions. And give them you know, obviously, you want to give them boundaries at first, but then when you’re ready to, you want them to grow, just as you want your business to grow, you know, there, if you don’t teach them how to swim, they’re going to end up drowning and you’re going to end up drowning as well.
You know, some students are surprised as I, you know, what, what are the different vendors that use or what’s the different pricing? You know, I may or may not know all of the vendors. And the reason being is I empower certain people in my organization to go out and find the best prices and what’s the best price for my particular business. So the same thing, you know, for you in your Life think about who are the people that you can empower. And so that you’re not always having to make all of the decisions or do all of the activities. That’s why the importance of outsourcing things that is beyond what you should be doing based upon your being a CEO.
So let’s get back to thinking like a CEO. And one of my mentors taught me is to start thinking about making, you know, think about what a CEO salary is, let’s say the CEO salary is $500 $1,000 an hour is when he mentioned to me How many times have you given away things for free, like you’ll give a free phone call? You know, you’ll give a free advice. You know, I see a lot of people now like, you know, I treat teach consultants, and they’re willing to, you know, give free advice, free consult hours of our time to whoever you don’t know who those people are. You know, where I’ll get email like, Hey Mike, I’m in San Diego, I live in San Diego, I make them in San Diego, love to meet you. Maybe they’ll buy me coffee or even offer me lunch. And I’m thinking again, I don’t know who you are, you know, certain make the time for my friends and people that I, I, I know some are perhaps students of mine or, or believe could be a good fit, but I’m not just going to take it to anybody because I’m thinking about this thousand dollars an hour. And it also gets back to how do you are you presenting yourself I mentioned about male how we wore suits that professionalism. That’s the way most people portray, you know, CEOs with, they’ve got confidence.
And, again, I’m going to reiterate things like Why are you giving away like free mentoring? What is that because one is that’s what they’re going to think you’re mentoring is worth nothing. And the second thing is people do respect people who have a strong belief in themselves. A strong self belief people respect that. And if you don’t give yourself your self belief, how is anybody else gonna give you that self belief on there. So I make it a point to keep myself not always active in things, I don’t respond to people, you know, immediately. And that is often sometimes that can be seen as being shallow, or, you know, having a big ego is just I don’t have the time. It’s not it’s if the people who want to get a hold of me know how to get hold of me, right. And this is the same thing with a CEO. You if you want to do business with a particular, you know, Fortune 500 company, you don’t just show up at their door, you have a series of gatekeepers, and that’s the way you need to think of yourselves as the CEO of you Incorporated. That’s the way you need to start thinking about yourself, position yourself as a CEO, to be a CEO, you need to think as a CEO, you need to have the same qualities of a CEO.
To conclude, I want to give you some tips Some action steps that you can take to start thinking and treating yourself like a CEO.
#1 Facilitate a Plan. What does that mean? What is your future outlook as the CEO of you incorporated? You know, when asked my son, I go, you know, what are your plans for the future? He’ll say, Well, next weekend, I’ve got a party. Those are the plants we’re talking about. That’s not what a CEO does. If it’s q1, they’re looking at what’s going on in q3 and q4. They’re looking at six months, a year, five years from now, what’s gonna happen to you, one, five years from now, in your, in your business, you’re the CEO of you Incorporated, is your going to be stagnant? Is it going to decline? Or do you want to grow? If so, what are the steps you need to take that to grow? Are you going to have more joint ventures? Are you going to be able to sell more products or services? Are there things that are taking you away from your business that are who you need to let go? that follows up
Second step, a CEO is comfortable hiring and firing. What are you doing to monitor your daily growth?
#2 Monitor Your Daily Growth of Your Business. How are you taking care of you incorporated? Are you improving the health of your business? How is remember, as a CEO, you have stairs, you have shareholders to be conservative, let’s say it’s your kids and your family. If they don’t like the direction of your business, that’s gonna affect all of theirs. And they might, you know, be they may want to sell that stock, right? So, look at being as a CEO, we think of them as hiring and firing are there. Let’s say if you’re an employee, okay? Are there extent extrinsic circumstances that are negatively affecting you Incorporated, ie your job, maybe it’s time that you need to separate yourself In a professional fashion and move on to something else, those are the kinds of things that you should be able to do as a CEO. And it kind of it takes you away from that right now. It’s just not about yourself.
I see so many doctors are being more reactive than proactive though. So Oh, why is me? You know, what is this going on? Okay, I’ll give you an example. So I was recently, you know, you know, reading in the forum of some type of, you know, medical spa that was run by physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, and people get really upset and they want to form committees, and what do we need to do, but the people who want to do something are like formulating like legislation that people who just want to, you know, complain about it, noble at a light but what are you personally doing to make any type of change And that’s not what a CEO does. They either Institute change on themselves, or for things that they can’t control. They leave it alone. And that’s the way that I envisioned myself as CEO. There’s only so many things that I can control.
#3 Be Aware of the Catalysts that Could Affect Your Life and Career. So I’m involved in stock investing, and catalyst in the investing world means I’ll read the definition of catalyst in is an event or other use that propels the price of a stock dramatically up or down. So catalysts can be like an earnings call an earnings report, a new product, these are all things that you need to be open. Are there catalysts that you can occur that hopefully will move your business you incorporate it into positive direction, such as speaking at an event forming your own event, creating own products being open to joint ventures. These are the type of catalysts that can affect your business. Are you open to them? Are you open to these opportunities be always Were they’re always around you, but you can only get them if you keep your eyes open and your ears open for you to recognize them, and then more importantly, implement and take action on them. So that’s what I want you to do today, start thinking of yourself as a CEO. Think of yourself as making $1,000 an hour, you’re going to be much more respectful of your time and of yourself and of your business. That’s why I have here to share with you today. As always, keep moving forward.