Dear Healthcare Deal, You Are So Attractive! I Need You!


Dear Mark:

I know you’re America’s foremost personal advice columnist, so please don’t laugh at me. I really need your help.

I’m a healthcare CEO in (city withheld), Ohio.

I’m in love with deals that everyone else wants. I just can’t help myself.


Over Payer In Ohio


Ok, I made that letter up.

But the story is an old one. Old, that is, in terms of when it began for Over Payer in Ohio.

And, when it began for you and me.

Remember yearning for the affection, for even a glance, from that cheerleader or football star, the one that “everyone” adored?

Remember attending that auction in which people overbid for that obvious-to-most mass produced ceramic vase?

The attractiveness of a deal multiplies by the number of “buyers.”

It’s the same psychological magnetism that pulls healthcare CEOs, from hospital executives who must have a DaVinci surgical robot because the hospital across town has one, to hospital-based group leaders who wildly undercut their competitors, thereby destroying their own profit, to “win” an RFP — the winner’s curse.

We want what we cannot easily have.

We want not to be left out.

After all, there’s tremendous social proof: “Everyone” else wants it, too.

We tell ourselves that paying a little bit more, whether positively (a $10 upbid at the auction for the vase) or negatively (reducing the stipend request in your RFP proposal), is just a teensy-weensy incremental “price” that pales in comparison to the total. So it’s easy to throw in — and, if we don’t, we’ll “lose!

I know it’s hard to avoid this pressure, you’re only human and we humans are hardwired these ways.

Yet at the same time we also realize that we are in the strongest position when we don’t “need” a deal.

Not every deal is a good deal. Participating in an RFP can be a rush to the bottom if you must “win.”

You may not be able to turn off the social and psychological pressure, but you can enact a logic-based process to filter your decisions, to trick yourself into taking the time to see your emotional response for what it is.

And, you can construct your business operation to create choices. Having only one contractual deal that you must protect at the cost of your entire business’s existence sets you up from the start.

You’re in the strongest position when you know that you don’t need the deal.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

Leave a Reply