This post was contributed by
Karen Mercereau, RN Patient Advocates
A mentor for those who are building an advocacy practice.
Do you have a Vision? Does this Vision underlay the structure of your evolving practice? Are you a Leader in your field?
We Advocates who have a vision of what we see as necessary to improve healthcare today, who are inspired to follow that, act upon it and develop that vision into a practice, have a unique opportunity to become Leaders in our fields. Let’s dig a little deeper….
The very fact that you are a patient advocate, no matter what form that practice takes, is proof that you have envisioned a positive change that is possible. Your critical thinking skills and compassion are your guides. Your ever-expanding knowledge base of your field is the working material of your practice. How might you also become a Leader in your field based upon these realizations and skills? How are vision and leadership connected?
I. Presentation – how you approach your market – is one key aspect.
It is by an understanding of how to present your vision, your idea for change. Oftentimes, people with great ideas are so excited about what they are doing that they concentrate on presenting the “What” of their service and occasionally the “How”. These ideas rarely catch on. Why? People in your market who are new to your idea may not understand what you are telling them or, perhaps more importantly, how it applies to them. You need to help them engage with your message.
What really reaches your market is the “Why”! Here is the intersection of Vision, Practice and Leadership.
How do you word your marketing material? Is it a description of what you do? That can be very effective if it is first prefaced by the “Why” of what you do. This is something that your potential clients can identify with. It can then lead them successfully into then exploring both the What and How.
Let’s take a look at how this actually works. A good opening for speaking with a potential client in your niche market is: “Have you or your loved ones ever experienced (insert one of the main problems your practice is addressing)”. Their eyes will light up and they will tell you their story about how this problem has impacted their lives. They are engaged with you and ready to listen to your “Why”. Then, most often, they will want to know the How of what you do. You are on your way to developing a working relationship with that potential client. Your vision led you here. By putting that inspiration into practice, you can become a Leader in your field.
Do you remember the story about Plato’s Cave? Those people who saw that there was a world outside the Cave (commonly accepted reality) – the Visioners – became Leaders when they actually led people out of the Cave. Where are you?
II. The next major consideration is Practice Development
As you are initiating your practice, you will note certain repeating elements. This is the beginning of your practice process. Watch carefully what is working and what is not, what to develop and what new areas need to be explored. Ask your clients what benefited them most in working with you. Once you have a carefully developed process, you will work both smarter and enjoy an expanding practice. Your clients, so pleased with your organized approach, will refer others. And you are on your way…….a Leader in your field.
Image Attribution: Plato’s Allegory of the Cave engaving by: Cornelis van Haarlem from WikimediaShare