Negotiation Philosophy

Who’s Your Competition?

May 22, 2014

Let’s say that you’re a gastroenterologist. Things are looking great, right? But don’t you see who’s breathing down your neck?

You think that it’s just some other gastroenterologist across town?

Well, you’re right, but not right enough.

Or, let’s say that you’re a radiologist. Who’s your competition?

You think it’s a large, national group?

Well, you’re right, but not right enough.

Or, let’s say that you’re the CEO of a hospital with fifty or five hundred employed physicians. Who’s your competition? The hospital five miles down the road?

Well, you’re right, but not right enough.

Your real competition is an amateur, at least in your perception, someone who realizes that the pieces can be arranged another way, a way that cuts you off, a way that cuts you to the bone.

It’s the primary care physician who realizes that if she and her colleagues link up, they can employ their own gastroenterologist. It’s the large employer who realizes that they can link up with an anesthesia group to direct their employees to the most efficacious surgeons and hospitals for a certain procedure. It’s some guy and some hospital in India or on Grand Cayman.

Mark Twain wrote of this almost 120 years ago:

“But, don’t you know, there are some things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn’t prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do; and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot. Well, how could I, with all my gifts, make any valuable preparation against a near-sighted, cross-eyed, pudding-headed clown who would aim himself at the wrong tree and hit the right one?”

Smart readers will begin to think who their pudding-headed clown might be.

But wise readers will begin to think how they can become a pudding-headed clown.

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