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Beware of Breathing Your Own Exhaust

Beware of Breathing Your Own Exhaust

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to meet the turbulence with yesterday’s logic.”
-Peter Drucker

What’s new?

By far, the most popular question I’m asked. My translation of that question is: What’s the last innovative thing you’ve seen or done?

Like many, I love when people ask that question because it implies it’s common for something to be new, which provides a way for us to separate ourselves from the pack. I call that our DF or differentiation factor.

The truth is differentiation really only counts when it brings value. In the skies-the-limit, always connected the world we live in today, being innovative is neither easy nor for the faint of heart; especially when at the same time we’re also required to stay on the top of our game with the multitude of every day responsibilities. And, that is exactly why we must remain in a constant ‘eyes-ears-heart open’ state of mind!
This mindset is effectively the vaccination for “Breathing-Your-Own-Exhaust-itis” and where gold medal ideas find their way smack-dab in your pathway.

Going All Out

Recently with iPod in, moving at a perfect pace thanks in large part to the great music of Jay Lo (Jennifer Lopez) and Flo Rider, I had the good fortune of grasping a few really great lyrics. I ran (no pun intended) right into Flo-Rider singing “watching you watching me, I go all out!” What? REWIND! Yes, he said, “Watching you, watching me, I go ALL OUT.BINGO!

Whether we’re on the dance floor, board room floor, or pounding the pavement to get in one more physician call, more often than not we perform better when we’re watched. Watched and appreciated …even better! Hearing this melody provided a surprisingly fresh perspective to this idea. I certainly see superstar liaisons “go all out” everyday in the field because they understand the value, albeit sometimes painful, of being “watched”.

On The Top

Atul Gawande M.D., physician, writer, and bestselling author of “The Checklist Manifesto“, wrote a great article for The New Yorker titled “Personal Best“. He provided multiple real-life examples of the value associated with being watched at the executive and professional levels.
As a practicing surgeon, Dr. Gawande shared his personal story of how after eight years in practice he was on the top of his game; however, he feared the reality that “on the top” there was only one-way to go. Yikes!

As with my experience, his revelation happened in an environment outside his normal playground. A former college tennis player, Gawande confessed he had long-ago reached his pinnacle, but continued to play for sport. One day, he stumbled upon a country club in hopes of getting in a match. Since he wasn’t a club member, he discovered his only option to play was to hire the twenty-something tennis pro, which he did. The kid quickly gave him a few pointers that immediately improved his serve.

Later, he was watching professional tennis and recognized that even the elite professionals had coaches that they relied upon to help them continue to improve. How could it be that this concept was the norm at the pinnacles of such careers as professional athletes, singers, entertainers, etc. But, the thought of a surgeon having a coach in the operating room, a professor having a coach in the classroom, or a CEO having a coach in the boardroom was so inconceivable.

Gawande went on to share his story of hiring a retired, renowned surgeon to observe him in the operating room. He admitted this decision required him to put his pride aside, because just as that twenty-something tennis pro provided seemingly basic feedback that immediately improved his serve, his surgeon coach provided the same kind of basic feedback for the operating room.

Suggestions were as basic as lowering his elbows because he couldn’t get the surgical precision with his elbows in the air. He provided a whole list of similar recommendations to Gawande. It is a great story loaded with examples of the benefits of coaching.

Breathing Our Own Exhaust

The reality is when we get caught in the trap of breathing our own exhaust, remaining on the top of our game long-term is unlikely to perhaps impossible. As Gawande pointed out, pride can get in the way of recognizing the need and value of a coach.

For me, his testimony reinforces how we have become blinded to this concept for successful athletes and performers. Ultimately, coaching may be what provides that competitive edge that separates the winners from all others.

So, Flo Rider may have cracked the code. As you continue to strive for your personal best remember the lyrics “watching you watch me, I go all out.” Reach out to someone who can give you the feedback you need, who will watch you and remember, always go all out!

Tiller-Hewitt HealthCare Strategies specializes in working with physician and healthcare organizations to implement, re-launch, and manage successful Liaison and Sales Programs in all phases of integration.
Tiller-Hewitt’s Liaison Program is a comprehensive program that is proven to move market share, increase top line revenue, and enhance referral relations. The program provides a systematic and structured approach through direct sales to physicians and other referral sources in your market.

For more information, contact Tiller-Hewitt at 866-851-8701 or email

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