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Matter or Mind?

Matter or Mind?

Headspace is the key, right? It’s mind over matter, isn’t it? Not this time. Golf coach to top pros and celebs, Hank Haney, has a reality program called the Haney Project. Hank has coached the best in the game, Tiger Woods for instance.  But in his TV show he takes a celebrity with a terrible game and tries to fix it. Hank looks for interesting personalities, like Charles Barkley and Rush Limbaugh, as his “projects.” It’s a smart formula that produces entertaining TV, even if you don’t like golf.

I like this show because of the similarities in my work. Here’s what I mean: I’m a chiropractor who built a 2,000 patient visit a week clinic system with eight associates. I’m also a coach who has mentored some of the top chiropractors around the world. Like Haney, I’ve also had some very challenging “project” clients that took every ounce of skill I had. But when a project goes well it’s beautiful.

A growing list these “project” clients have transformed right before my eyes and increased their practices by a true 100 to 300 patient visits a week. Many go on to sustain that growth and an increasing number become my dream clients – staying for many years and focusing on new challenges and exciting solutions.

When I speak of my “project” clients’ breakthroughs the smarter people in the room ask me, “What was the single most important change that allowed their extraordinary growth?” That’s a great question, the subject of this article, and where I drag Haney back into the article.

In one of the Haney Project episodes Rush Limbaugh asked Hank about the mental part of the game of golf. Haney said, “Get the mechanics right and the mental takes care of itself.” In other words, if you pound the ball out 280 yards off the tee and drop it in the middle of the fairway, then hit it tight to the pin from 174 yards out – your mental game will follow. I love that clarity.

Here’s why this is so important to you and me and how I’ve helped my “project” clients: Get the mechanics of a great practice right and you’ll be successful. And guess what follows? That’s right – the mental part of the game – what many call headspace.

This is a pet peeve of mine: I’ve heard so many practice coaches frustrate clients by blaming their “head space” for lack of success. The headspace answer is a “catch-all BS dodge” when the weak coach doesn’t know how to help the client.

Example: The client says “My new patients are down and my practice is crashing.” The weak coach says “It’s your head space.” What does that even mean? If you think a certain way, do new patients float into your office on the vapors created by your headspace?

I understand why a weak coach blames headspace: it puts the ball in the client’s court, but the answer is perfectly useless. It can also make the client feel like they have an inferior chiropractic philosophy.

But doesn’t the doctor in the busy successful practice have a good headspace? Usually, but where did the healthy stream of new and returning patients come from? In the literally thousands of practices I’ve coached, successful doctors have good mechanics. I think Haney’s answer is the real truth. Get the mechanics right and the mental (confidence) will follow.

Illustration: I produced 601 new patients in one 31-day period for my own clinics. Additionally, I opened a new clinic with 161 new patients in the first month. My headspace was great, but my mechanics created the new patients and my good headspace.

Here’s how I did it:

I learned several external marketing systems. Over a short period of time I worked them into templates with a series of steps that I could teach others.

I hired assistants and trained them to replicate my marketing templates. I quickly found out who was productive and reliable. The super-reliable became my managers and were given training and responsibility to hire their own assistants. We trained on my templates relentlessly – usually on the job. We kept the good ones and quickly said good-bye to the bad ones.

To stay in control of the mechanics I developed a reporting system where all my marketing managers and assistants reported to me every day. I required instant reports on good and bad news. I was never out of touch. My biggest clinic launch was handled by a 24-year-old woman named Jodi whom I had trained. She hired and trained her team to produce 161 new patients the first month open. Another manager oversaw a group of assistants, including my associates, when we produced 601 new patients in one month. I did so little of the front line work it’s laughable.

The mechanics of a great golf swing haven’t changed since Bobby Jones almost 100 years ago. A grandmother with reasonable athletic ability who masters the mechanics of that swing will beat 95 percent of today’s golfers.

Take away? When you know that you know what you’re supposed to know you feel good about walking up to the tee and can hardly wait to get into the office on Monday.

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