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The Strangest Form of Analysis Paralysis (and How to Cure It)

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Animated drawing of a person confused with too many thoughtsI met a doctor recently who appeared to be an advocate of physician marketing. From outward appearances, he seemed to be the kind of marketing-smart champion of ethically and effectively attracting new business to his practice.

He said he appreciates, and avidly reads, our Healthcare Success Marketing Insight Newsletter, as well as our blog and periodic White Papers and special reports. On the surface at least, it sounded like the sort of audience feedback that we find helpful…and perhaps a little flattering.

But, as we talked further, this “student of marketing” didn’t apply the knowledge to his practice goals or marketing plan. In short, simply reading and learning about marketing “felt like” marketing…but without actually doing anything. He was a sideline spectator with appreciation without application. (And, as he eventually realized, without any tangible rewards, returns or results.)

It may have been the strangest form of “analysis paralysis” that we encounter from time to time. The symptoms are similar to another fellow we know who bought a house adjacent to the golf course. He belongs to the Country Club and can tell you the latest from the always-on Golf Channel. He has all the gear and clothing. He’ll practice on the driving range or putting green, but—strangely—he actually plays the game only occasionally.

Doctors are analytic…

As a rule, physicians tend to be analytic in their thinking and, before adopting a new course of treatment or medication, are inclined to study the results and, ultimately, find confidence in their decisions that affect patients. Analysis lowers risk and enhances the prospect of success.

Analysis and proven approaches to growing the business are also appropriate. But when over-thinking becomes a roadblock to decision-making, there is no benefit, no action and no reward. If an objective view says that “continued study” is hurting, not helping, here are some tips to a breakthrough and recovery:

Recognize the pattern. Self-diagnosis can be difficult, but delays, lack of progress and absence of rewards are symptoms.

Risk is probably the root fear. Marketing has no absolute guarantees, but doing nothing guarantees no results. Recognize that a well-considered plan, based on proven techniques, can minimize risk and maximize return.

Have a plan, even a modest one. Perpetually preparing, revising and refining a plan that never launches is actually a procrastination technique. It’s better to activate and mobilize around a small plan than to have an elaborate plan that’s all theory and no action.

Set a deadline. Make it realistic and near-term. And don’t put it off.

Do something. Taking action answers excessive over-thinking. Nobody likes to make mistakes or feel foolish for doing the wrong thing, but the act of doing (a well-considered something) is a step forward.

Don’t swim alone. Go ahead, ask for help. Making progress and moving forward in unfamiliar territory is more comfortable with an experienced guide and companion.

Begin by giving us a call; we’re here to help. You’ll feel more confident about a marketing direction and action steps when you don’t feel alone in the process.

Related reading: Are You Too Busy To Be Successful? and Indecision and Inaction: Dream-Killers of Healthcare Marketing. 

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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