Your Unauthorized Guide to Becoming a Healthcare Thought Leader

Silhouette of a man looking out an office window in conference room More than a few doctors have become marketing warriors among our circle of friends and professional peers. It seems like they recognize that medicine is their profession, but healthcare is a business. They had resolved to become recognized thought leaders in their profession.

Hence, swimming against the current of provider competition, they have a business-ninja mindset. As a result, these physicians took on a new attitude about the competition. And we offer this guide to becoming a thought leader in business.

Most doctors want marketing—even when they really don’t. Universally, doctors would prefer to be doctors and not have to drive the marketing side of their business. Then, reality intrudes. New patients do not magically appear in your office. Passive individuals sink or are swept away by the business current.

Practitioners who decide to aggressively move forward—assertively giving leadership to their practice—evolve as successful. And it’s a fundamental ingredient to being a thought leader.

Being a thought leader is reputation management…

Fortunately, physicians and surgeons are experts. They have the advantage of an authoritative pole position. But, paradoxically, you have to behave like a thought leader before people afford you the actual recognition. Here are some guidepost concepts to becoming—and being—a recognized thought leader.

Embrace personal branding. As with any marketing endeavor, personal branding creates and promotes a distinctive image or impression in the mind of others. First of all, an individual or personal brand becomes a source point for thought leadership ideas.

Two ears. One mouth. One of the defining characteristics in the world of thought leadership is the ability to listen carefully. Regardless of the topic, idea or subject matter, the ability to speak depends first on clarity and understanding. What’s more, thought leaders go out of their way to find differing perspectives, even opposing viewpoints.

Think disruptively. By definition, a disruptive approach disregards existing market conditions in favor of an innovative solution. Disruptive ideas may or may not work, but those that “shatter the mold” can revolutionize an industry, product or process. Furthermore, a thought leader has something new to say, providing a completely different perspective and insight.

Publish (often), or perish. Ideas that are unique and/or different need to circulate. A blog is a natural digital platform to share your thinking. Present ideas on your website, social media pages and as a guest author for other outlets. Write a book. In addition, be a speaker at events or at organization meetings. Expect pushback on new ideas. Be prepared to discuss and defend your thinking.

Earning recognition over time…

Becoming a thought leader—as one aspect of your reputation management—requires time to gain recognition. Consequently, frequent and consistent publication earns visibility.

Most of all, working with others—network connections, influencers and established thought leaders—builds your reputation. And, in the process, you can guide, and perhaps improve, an industry with your new ideas. If you’d like to discuss our experience in becoming a thought leader, please give me a call today [800-656-0907] for more guideposts.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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