Chaos Theory Redux

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This is the time of year when the Nobel prizes are handed out and that started me thinking about chaos theory and how the concept translates into our own profession’s mind-boggling array of alternative outcomes based on various approaches to the problems being presented, especially in today’s outpatient world. Competitive pressures, reimbursement uncertainties, self referral accelerations, all add to the noise level.

Make no mistake, we are navigating through uncharted territory in medical imaging today and the latest information coming out of Washington indicates more rough waters ahead. We are all grappling with the uncertainty that accompanies such chaos, but the path to success remains outlined by some fairly consistent markers. Chief among these is the requirement that future success will depend increasingly upon one’s ability to articulate a message of market differentiation. What, specifically, is your value proposition? How does this benefit your potential customers? In what way is this different than the other outpatient practices in your market area? How can you leverage this difference into a success strategy?

Simply put, an outpatient practice’s ability to create, build on, and persuasively present its brand value to its various customers in ways that draw distinctions between itself and others in the marketplace will have the biggest impact on its future viability. What one cannot do and expect to succeed is to be confused, disoriented, anxious, or angry about the current predicament. Market leadership will be dependent upon one’s ability to rationally and clearly deal with the chaos and uncertainty, and in this way demonstrate strength and confidence. Focus, clarity, and certainty of purpose are essential components of today’s OIC leadership profile.

As I have discussed in this column before, leadership is both an art and a science. The art piece comes into play when one uses the powers of persuasion, enthusiasm, and confidence to inspire others to action. This is true with the customers as well as the employees and staff. All of the stakeholders of a busy practice will look to the leader for such inspiration. What they see when they look could very well start the process of business failure if they do not sense that their leader “gets” this concept. If the leader is obsessed with the uncertainties that we see today, appears to be constantly anxious and wringing his or her hands on the sidelines as events unfold around them, or is otherwise bereft of innovation and winning strategies, the organization is doomed.

On the other hand, even a modicum of confidence will go a long way in coalescing a group of stakeholders around a strategy for survival and success.

So what is one to do in the face of such chaos?

Take control of your destiny by charting a new course of action based on your situation. Re-build your brand, re-connect with your customers in ways that will solidify loyalty, inspire your staff to find solutions, remain passionate about your business in ways that will become infectious to those whom you encounter, and by all means assume the persona of the confident leader who knows what it will take to succeed in a dynamic and changing marketplace.

Embrace the chaos.