Psychology of Success

Why Sometimes the Only Way to Win is Not to Play at All


Just as in sports, many medical group leaders are motivated by “winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing” thinking. But there’s an important corollary to that rule that often goes disregarded to the group’s detriment: Sometimes it pays to lose or to not play at all.

How can that be?

Well, imagine that your group is about to respond to an RFP and that the first thoughts in your group leaders’ minds were what the other competitors would be offering. So, in its response, your group dropped all stipend demands and increased the depth and breadth of coverage.

You “won” the RFP, signed a conforming contract . . . and are now faced with the choice of losing $200,000 a month or cutting your group’s physicians’ compensation by 12% across the  board. Did you win or did you lose?

Not every offered agreement is worth considering and not every potential RFP is worth responding to.

Of course, having the luxury of not putting yourself out of business means that you must develop a business that is greater than dependence on one facility or one set of referral relationships to begin with.

Let’s return to the sports analogy to wrap things up: The hospitals, the politicians and the bureaucrats that keep telling you that the only way forward is “together” want to own and manage the team – they want to own and manage you.

If that’s what you have in mind, then don’t worry about it; play their game.

If you have your own future in mind, then consider each game carefully; you might want to sit it out.

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