LEADING OFF: CEO Challenge: Fail at Something

The title of this article is admittedly tongue in cheek, but the message is not. If practice growth is stagnant and fear of failure is preventing you from implementing changes, ask yourself if the short-term cost of failing at one given strategy outweighs the cost of stagnant growth over the long term.


In my observation, most successful people have a longer list of failures than unsuccessful people. They are successful because, through the process of trying and failing, they learn and apply these lessons. They are successful because, ultimately, their wins outnumber their losses. They didn’t sacrifice long-term success for short-term safety.


  • Set a stretch goal that only has a 50% chance of success. There’s a 50% chance of failure.
  • Implement a new marketing strategy and track the results. They could be disappointing.
  • Let staff implement a change that they feel is important, but you don’t.
  • Change your patient schedule to accommodate more patients. It could cause you to get behind and overwhelm the staff.


I’m not suggesting a haphazard approach to strategic planning, but I feel practice ownership calls for risk taking. Many practice owners play it safe to avoid risk, and yet the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe if that prevents growth.

Don’t be afraid of failure. Learn from it and grow! Over the long term, I call that a win! OM