Are You A Patriots Fan?
A few months ago, my son broke his finger. Not only did he need to get it splinted, but we were told he’d need to see a hand specialist as well. We were recommended to visit Doctor John Rich, who’s office is near Scranton, Pennsylvania. I felt very fortunate that I was able to take Matthew down, and stay with him during his appointment. We were both a little concerned and nervous about this consult and were hoping for the best outcome. As soon as we met Dr. Rich we felt at ease. Matthew had worn his favorite Patriots pullover that day, and Dr. Rich, being in Northeast Pennsylvania, was an avid Eagles fan.
What ensued was comical. Dr. Rich had some great one-liners about the Patriots deflate-gate saga, Matthew made some Eagles jokes as well, we continued talking about football and all was calm. We laughed the hardest when Dr. Rich said as long as we weren’t Cowboys fans would be absolutely fine.
He then began to ask Matthew about the sixth grade. What was his favorite subject? What was he learning in algebra? Etc. After a brief pause he said, Matthew, it’s mid-march you need to know more about sixth grade than that. Matthew laughed again and began to elaborate a little more about the sixth grade.
Dr. Rich had made a connection with us, built our trust, and made us feel at ease in those five or six minutes. Matthew felt comfortable, and then we got into a discussion about the technical parts of the finger and exactly what the procedure needed would be. He spoke about the options, described exactly what was going to happen, exactly how Matthew would feel, etc. It went great as did the actual procedure the following week.
I tell this story because I admired how Dr. Rich built relationships and gained trust in just a short five minutes. It reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book I loved called Tipping Point. There were so many leadership points in there told through great stories and one of them was about why doctors get sued and which doctors get sued. It’s not necessarily about the mistake made, but about the time and quality of time spent with the clients. What’s the conversation like and what did the doctor do to make the patients and family feel comfortable? I’m not in the business of lawsuits, and that is certainly a tricky topic, but Dr. Rich with absolute certainty made us feel comfortable in those minutes. He built a relationship and gained our trust. I was grateful for his treatment of my son.
How do we build that kind of relationships and trust with our parents and students at school, or wherever it is you work? What are some techniques you use to develop those relationships? Do you ask people about their families and situations outside work? Do you know their likes and interests? Do a good job learning and listening to them. You don’t need an advanced degree to do these things, and they are so powerful and warm. They’re authentic and they work! Matthew certainly wanted to go to a good doctor, as did my wife and I, but we were extremely impressed by the personal side of Dr. Rich and how he treated our son. Be mindful of this when you are working with other people and their children. They are looking for the same or even better from you!
If I can help you in any way don’t hesitate to reach out @andrewmarotta21. Keep rolling!
Quote: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch