PRECISE Contracting: Flies vs. Bees

The following PRECISE Contracting column appeared in the latest print issue of JHC. To read more from the issue, visit

I like to compare my brain to that of a fly. As science goes, if you put a fly and a bee in a glass jar, they behave differently in trying to escape. If you lay the jar on its side with the bottom pointed toward a light, then take off the lid, the bee will never escape from the jar. He will keep flying toward the light, believing that it is the only way out. He never adapts and never readjusts. He is programmed to go toward that light, and he will die trying. God bless ‘em.

The fly, however, handles things in a much different manner. While the bee believes the only way it can reach its goal (the light) is to fly directly toward it, the fly, on the other hand, will smack its head on the jar until it finds a way to get out. Sure, it’s a bit painful for the fly, but at least he keeps trying to find the solution.

If you are reading this issue of the Journal of Healthcare Contracting, chances are you have a little fly in you as well. Chances are you are somebody who seeks out better ways of doing things. I would bet that you are somebody who doesn’t give up after failing a few times.

A dose of reality

The only way to assure that you perform at a higher level is by doing things that will get you a few bumps on the head. But when you remove the ice pack, you will be staring at greater cost-savings, better clinical care and more loyal customers. If you manage others, then you will have happier employees and less turnover, and your balance sheet will also see the “light.”

So how to do you get there?

  • Purchase one or more new business books each quarter, read, and DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU.
  • Attend two seminars (non-mandatory) that will hone your skills, and then DO WHAT THEY TELL YOU.


Then follow these easy steps:

1. Fail

2. Fail

3. Fail

4. Improve

5. Sharpen

6. Perform

7. See the light!

If you are the leader of your department (vice president, director, etc.), don’t skimp on the development of your people. Encourage them to seek knowledge and skill by creating a learning organization from top to bottom. Invest in seminars and books, and dedicate meeting time strictly to new skill building.

If you commit to the instructions above, there will be days that you will wish you were a fly. There will be days when you say, “Flies suck! Bees have it easy! I’m going back to my hive.” Resist this temptation. The corporate world has enough worker bees buzzing around. But they will never reach their true potential.

Now here is the good news. The “light” isn’t for everyone. In fact, only 3 percent of the people or organizations reading this article will follow this formula. But that’s OK, because if it were easy to become famous in your profession, the glass jar would get too crowded. There is nothing more annoying than being caught in a jar with a bunch of average supply chain executives and managers. Their comfort in mediocrity begins to bug after a while.

Brian Sullivan, CSP, is author of the book, “20 Days to the Top — How the PRECISE Selling Formula Will Make You Your Company’s Top Sales Performer in 20 Days or Less” and president of PRECISE Selling, a sales and leadership training company. To learn more, check out his website at

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