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Technician, Manager, Entrepreneur – Which Hat Are You Wearing Today?

Entrepreneurial Physician

In Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, he explains that every business owner must fulfill three primary roles: the Technician (the person who does the work), the Manager (the person who organizes and plans), and the Entrepreneur (the visionary and strategic thinker). Many physicians focus solely on the Technician role and neglect the other two, which hinders their practice’s growth.

Which hat do you wear?

In any successful small business, these three roles should be assumed by someone. Each role comes with its own responsibilities, toolkits, processes, and expected goals and outcomes. As physicians, we are taught to solve problems as technicians. But when we solely rely on this unique skill, we frequently experience disappointing results in our practice.

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

– Albert Einstein

You may be stuck in Technician mode, but a medical practice also requires an Entrepreneur and a Manager. So, who will assume these roles? What is their responsibility within your organization?

Let’s start by defining each role:

The Technician: This role prioritizes the present and focuses on completing tasks. Technicians excel at specific duties, often immersing themselves in the details of the work at hand.

The Manager: This role is concerned with order and planning. Managers bring a sense of stability and predictability to the business. They focus on the past in order to learn and strategize for the future.

The Entrepreneur: This is the visionary role. The entrepreneur is always looking toward the future. They are dreamers who think about possibilities, growth, and expansion. The entrepreneur is the creative force in the business, always seeking new opportunities and innovative ways to do things. They are risk-takers, less concerned with day-to-day operations, and more focused on long-term strategy and the overall direction of the business.

For a business to succeed, Gerber emphasizes the need to balance these roles. Often, business owners become trapped in the Technician’s role, focusing too much on day-to-day tasks and neglecting the strategic planning and visionary thinking of the Entrepreneur. The E-Myth Revisited encourages business owners to step back and adopt a more entrepreneurial approach, focusing on working on the business rather than just in it for long-term growth and success.

The Technician (Being a Physician) Role

Because most of our training focuses on attaining technical excellence, we are most familiar with the roles and responsibilities associated with being a technician. Nevertheless, when you are the business’s engine or unit of production, you quickly run into the problem of scaling your time. There is only so much of you, and ultimately, you will reach a limit in your ability to scale.

The way we approach our time is crucial for enhancing our practice. Therefore, the questions the technician must answer are as follows:

  • How is my time best spent?
  • How do I scale my time? With automation? Through physician extenders and ancillaries?
  • How do I complete the most important tasks related to my skills while delegating others to less-trained personnel or processes?
  • How do I make the things I do and need to do more efficient throughout the day?

If you can answer the above questions and work toward optimizing the answers, then you will have a well-defined system for providing care.

Here’s how Gerber defines the Technician’s role:

Clinical Care Provider: The most obvious aspect of the Technician’s role in a medical practice is the provision of clinical care. This includes diagnosing and treating patients, performing medical procedures, and offering medical advice and support.

Skilled Practitioner: As a Technician, the physician is a skilled professional who has undergone extensive training and education in the field of medicine. Their role is deeply rooted in their technical and clinical expertise.

Focus on the Present: The Technician is primarily concerned with the present moment. In a medical practice, this translates to focusing on the current patient needs, immediate treatments, and day-to-day clinical tasks.

Execution of Tasks: The Technician’s role involves the execution of specific tasks and procedures. In a medical context, this could be anything from conducting a physical examination to performing surgery.

Quality of Service: The Technician is responsible for ensuring the quality of the medical services provided. This includes adhering to medical standards, staying updated with medical advancements, and maintaining a high level of care.

Gerber’s argument in The E-Myth Physician is that many physicians naturally gravitate towards the Technician role, given their medical training and passion for patient care.

Balancing the Roles for a Thriving Practice

Incorporating the roles of Technician, Manager, and Entrepreneur is necessary for the sustained growth and success of any medical practice. As physicians, it’s natural to gravitate towards the Technician role due to our training and dedication to patient care.

Are you running your practice solely as a Technician? If so, it might be time to consider wearing other hats.

In the following posts, we’ll examine ways to effectively take on the additional roles of Manager and Entrepreneur. We’ll discuss how taking on these roles can lead to a more successful and thriving practice.

Dr. Lawrence Gordon

Dr. Lawrence Gordon, MD

He is a practicing Otolaryngologist and the founder of ENT Specialty Care located in Goshen, NY. He is also the CEO and Founder of WRS Health. The software is an all-in-one platform, designed by physicians, providing clinician-centered workflow solutions to continually improve and grow your practice.