Fresh Eyes (Issue 899)

In which we are encouraged to engage someone’s fresh eyes to review our major clients with us, lest we’ve missed something important.

I’ve been very fortunate through the last few years to have been managed from a health perspective by a single physician. Years ago, because of my extensive travel, I decided to join his concierge practice.  The concierge practice assured me fast access, a relaxed pace during office visits, and a physician who knew me and my physical health well; he could treat me versus treating a set of laboratory results and “going by the book.”

He retired late last year, and I needed to find another physician. A close friend recommended her doctor to me, so I set up an appointment and went to see the physician last week. A first visit, a chance for each of us to size up the other and decide whether the partnership made sense.

Despite the fact that she was running late in the day, due to a previous patient’s needs, she spent nearly an hour with me. “What would you like to discuss?”, she asked as we started, and we went through my family history, my physical history, concerns, lifestyle, work style, travel, diet, exercise… the works.

About 45 minutes into the interview she asked me to stand up and remove my shirt so that she could listen to my heart and lungs. “This will feel cold for a moment,“ she said. Yes, stethoscopes always seem to feel cold.

She listened for a bit, murmured, “everything sounds fine,“ and removed the stethoscope from my back.

And then, we just stood there in silence. I faced out the window, she stood behind me (I presume) facing me.

After a about a minute of silence, she said “I notice that your right shoulder sags a bit, your hips are a little uneven, and your right leg is a little longer than your left leg. Has anybody ever talked to you about that? And, by the way, when was the last time you went to see a dermatologist?“

I’m reminded of Yogi Berra‘s phrase, “You can observe a lot just by looking.“

I replied, with some surprise, “No, nobody has talked to me about that.“ I recall discussing rotator cuff injuries, bursitis, some arthritis, and other odds and ends of musculoskeletal issues with my now-retired doctor and nobody has ever told me that my shoulder sags and that my hips are uneven.   

Good to know!  And, I wondered whether my now retired physician of 30 years had noticed those things and not spoken to me about them or had just not noticed.  

We spent the last 10 minutes of our conversation talking about what sorts of stretches, exercises, physical therapy, and other  interventions  might be useful to address the imbalances.

Sometimes, I guess, we can get too comfortable with our patients or our clients and there’s value to engaging a neutral third party to look with fresh eyes, to see what we may have missed or assumed in our relationship comfort.

Nick Miller is President of Clarity Advantage based in Concord, MA. He assists banks and credit unions to generate more and more profitable relationships, faster, with business clients, their owners, and their employees through better sales strategies and execution. Additional articles on Clarity’s web site.

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