FOBO – Fear of Branching Out

September 14, 2020

You’re undoubtedly familiar with the term “FOMO” – Fear Of Missing Out – used to described the situation in which someone is terrified that unless they jump to do this or that, they will somehow miss out on some fantastic opportunity.

However, the opposite problem, what I would call “Fear of Branching Out,” or FOBO, impacts many medical group leaders.

Let’s pick an avatar; the leader of the Cautious Anesthesia Group at Community Memorial St. Mark’s Hospital in Someburg, USA, with a cohort of seventy anesthesiologists, and maybe some CRNAs, too. The group provides services pursuant to an exclusive contract that’s been running, with extensions, for fifteen years.

Now another opportunity comes at a hospital five miles away. Does Cautious’s leader pursue that opportunity?

No. But why? In the words of the group’s leader, “we have to show we’re dedicated to Community Memorial St. Mark’s. What if Community Memorial finds out we’re working someplace else? What it we can’t manage both facilities?”

But these days, having a contractual relationship with only one facility is a sign of tremendous weakness, and it’s being signaled loud and clear by Cautious to Community Memorial St. Mark’s.

As a result, Community Memorial St. Mark’s now knows that if Cautious doesn’t bend to its demands in connection with the next renewal of the contract, there’s no further reason for the group to continue to exist.

If you’re the hospital administrator, think how much pressure you could put on them!

The same dynamic exists in many other contexts. It could be an imaging facility with MRIs that cost a prohibitive amount to move; you’re the landlord demanding high rent upon lease renewal — just how high is high?

Sure, I’ve represented clients who’ve been put in a take it or leave it situation by the single facility they covered . . . and the group just pulled the plug. But most groups won’t walk; most groups cave.

Don’t put yourself in the position of having to cave simply to preserve whatever vestige of business remains. Build your negotiating strength and do it through building your options.

Think about it. The more options you have, well, the more options you have.

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

Mark F. Weiss

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