What Guideposts Do You Use?

I had several experiences in the past weeks: requests to write and speak as a consultant. And, a fascinating doctor problem. I’ll start with requests for my expertise.

When I receive requests for my expertise (writing, speaking, reviewing, consulting), I evaluate those requests with certain guideposts: what fits my values and interests. What do I want to do? Can I provide value? What can I do? Do I want to spend my time on this effort?

Sometimes I say yes. Other times, no. I realize now that my values guide me to my decisions. My guideposts reflect my values.

I tend to ask these questions:

  • Who benefits from this request? I should receive some benefit. The other person/organization should, also.
  • What value does each of us receive?
  • Are there good results in the future from this request? Will I learn something new? Will I be able to find more clients? Will I be able to provide more value for my readers and clients in the future?

I tend to focus on value, short-term and long-term. I don’t have to receive all the value now, and I should see some direct way to the value at some point. My value might be:

  • Learning
  • Revenue
  • People on my mailing list
  • People who are exposed to my books
  • And, there are more possibilities…

You might choose other ways to think about value for you, especially if you are not a consultant.

My values and principles guide me to decisions that work for me. When I ignore those values or principles, I regret my decisions.

My doctor experience was about me looking for value from a specific doc. I was still coughing earlier this week. (Okay, I’ll be even more honest. I’m still coughing a little today.) My coughing had improved, but it’s been six weeks. I went to see my ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) doc.

I have had a rocky relationship with the office. They refuse to use the secure email for questions. Well, if I’m coughing enough, I can’t talk. I prefer to use email. They don’t like that. One receptionist/admin said to me, “I want to build relationships with the patients.”

I looked at her. I then whispered (because that was as loud as I could talk) and said, “How can I build a relationship with you if I can’t talk to you? I mean the literal talking part.”

She looked at me and said, “I need to build relationships with the patients.”

Of course, I could not leave it alone and said, “Yes, on your terms.”

This is an example of how my impatience can destroy a relationship. We didn’t have much of a relationship to start, and we have none now. Oh well.

This particular doc office treats the docs as if they are gods. Us patients (who actually are how they pay their bills) are fungible, as far as I can tell. When the admin tells me she wants to build a relationship, she means one that benefits her. Not one that also benefits me.

I no longer trust the doc or the office. His solution to my cough was inadequate and wrong. (I checked with my primary care physician.) I do hope I can find another ENT. This guy has expertise with my special needs. (Go ahead and laugh. I am!) But, I don’t trust him. I don’t trust his staff. I don’t like his staff. I’m not so sure I like him, either.

My values help me decide what business to take, and on what terms. My values also serve as guideposts for other relationships, including the doctor/patient relationship.

That, dear adaptable readers, is the question this week: What guideposts do you use?

4 thoughts on “What Guideposts Do You Use?

  1. Dawn

    “This is an example of how my impatience can destroy a relationship. We didn’t have much of a relationship to start, and we have none now. Oh well.”

    —- No Johanna.. your impatience did not destroy this relationship. You cannot have a relationship with another person who REFUSES TO COMPROMISE.

    THEIR failure to meet you halfway, or heck even understand your issue (not being able to talk) is absolutely at the core of the problem. You can’t fix and you are not responsible to.

    Don’t own things other people paid the bill for ;)

  2. Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

    One value that guides my work is loyalty. I am one loyal person. If you decide I am your collaborator, I’m yours until we mutually decide to move on. But I’ll have your back.

    In your case, you didn’t have a collaborative relationship with your doc or staff (but you might’ve wanted to have a more mutually equal relationship–sure your doc knows more about some things, but he respects your intelligence, too). These days, I now have that with my doctor who has moved into the “concierge” model of medicine. We pay an annual fee and get in that fee access, medical checkups, and a certain number of medical visits. We work jointly together on our health. He sends me things to read. Checks in on me. Makes sure I get what I need. (Bugs me when I need to do something…in a kind way). It is a much different relationship than when he was part of a group practice. I’m fortunate my doc moved to this model.

    1. johanna Post author

      Rebecca, I can attest that you are a loyal person! Yes, I wish I had a more equal/collaborative relationship with that doc. I like the idea of the concierge approach. I bet it makes a big difference in overall health.

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