An appointment you shouldn’t miss

Thirty minutes that could initiate change within your department and facility.

Editor’s Note: JHC readers may not work for medical products companies, but they have plenty of customers – administrators, all the people who use the products for which they contract, and the vendors with whom they negotiate contracts. Their credibility is on the line every day. Sales coach Brian Sullivan spends most of his time working with salespeople and sales executives from medical products manufacturers and distributors. But he’s got something to say to contracting professionals as well.

We are about to see some of the biggest changes in healthcare in decades. While you don’t control what happens in the marketplace you serve, you do have control over one thing … you.

But you should know, the way you serve customers cannot stay the same. While the healthcare system is overhauled, you too need to consider an overhaul. This isn’t to say that you are flawed. It just says that in business, there is no stagnation. Individuals and companies are either improving or getting worse.

Which do you choose?
There are two ways people look at change. Top performers love it, because they know that their average or below-average competition can’t keep up. It is a barrier that separates them from the pack. So let’s look at the attitude that fuels each.

The below-average performer sees change in this way:

  • Change slows me down.
  • Change lengthens my workday.
  • Change creates useless work.
  • Change is something others try to MAKE me do.
  • Change creates stress.

Top performers view it this way:

  • Change makes me faster.
  • Change will save me time.
  • Change will make me more efficient and profitable.
  • Change is something I will initiate.
  • Change creates excitement.

Read that list again and ask yourself which list best describes you. If you chose the second list, congratulations! You are ready to make 2011 the year you look back on as the one that made you famous in your company and industry.

Making your lists
Now that you have the right attitude, what can you do to initiate change within your department and facility? Let’s start with the following exercise:

  • Grab your calendar, find a day in your office and mark your calendar with an appointment labeled CHANGE 2011.
  • Make the appointment 30 minutes long.
  • On appointment day, set an alarm for exactly 30 minutes.
  • Make two lists, one professional and one personal.
  • Start the timer and take 15 minutes to write down everything you want to see changed in your professional life. Keep your mind positive. “I want to change my freaking boss” is not a good one to put on the list, for instance. Better examples might be, “I want to change what time I wake up in the morning.” “I want to change how much time I spend learning that new materials management system administration invested in.”
  • Write down as many changes as you can for 15 minutes.
  • Next, make your personal list. Again, spend 15 minutes writing down as much as you can. Dream big. Nothing should be left off the list.

Your two lists should contain at least 25 changes each. While writing, don’t stop to think about what you just wrote. Get out of your brain’s way and go as fast as you can. You will notice that the more you write, the wilder and more creative your ideas become.

Your next task is to walk away from your computer or notepad for 30 minutes. When you come back, take a look at your two lists and pick five “changes” from each list that, if you make happen, will have a substantial impact on your life for the remainder of the year. Next, take your 10 “changes” and put them on one sheet of paper. Print that sheet out and post it somewhere in your office so you must view it every day. Another idea is to save it as your screen saver so every time you fire up that computer, you will be reminded yet again.

Once you become open to change, and others see it, they will begin following you. Don’t believe it? Think of history’s greatest leaders. They became famous because they decided to change something. In addition, almost all of them became famous when times were tough.

Well here’s the good news … times are tough. So all you need to do is decide to be a leader who finds something that needs to be changed … and go change it. But remember, change should start with 30 minutes, a closed door, and a commitment to take the time to first change perhaps the only thing in life that you control. And that’s you!

About the Author

Brian Sullivan
Brian Sullivan, CSP teaches salespeople and leaders how to influence more people in his PRECISE Business Development Programs. Sign up for a FREE Online Training Module on How to Become a Master Questioner by going to Or visit him at