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Are You a Mouse or a Rat?

By: Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS
Posted: March 4, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of
Group of surgeons, with two shaking hands

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Author’s note: Excerpts and material from this column are from the book Thrive: Pearls to Prosper in Any Economy by Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS,and Tracy L. Drumm (College of Cosmetic Medicine Press, 2009).

Abstract: As a physician, you are the center of your practice. Your behavior and management style can either help or hurt the success of your practice in the long run. If you are a RAT, you may exhibit rigid, absent and tyrannical behaviors that eventually will run down a thriving career. If you are among the ranks of MICE and focus on messaging, information, customer service and efficiency, you most likely will be at the center of a practice that is continuously successful.

Mice always get the cheese; put them in a maze and they will find their way to the prize and won’t give up until they get there. On the other hand, rats get fat and lazy, stop along the way to eat whatever garbage there is, and contract and spread diseases. Following are formulas that relate these terms to ways a doctor can run a practice.

MICE—Messaging, Information, Customer service, Efficiency
RAT—Rigid, Absent, Tyrannical

The RATs

Let’s start with the RATs because it is important to first make sure that you are not a RAT. During the down economy, the RAT detriments are amplified. When the economy was good, and there was an abundance of cheese, it was easy to get fed; everyone did well. Now, times are different and you have to be leaner, faster and smarter. It’s like going from high school sports to the pros; it is a much faster game, and you need to react faster. The hits are harder, and they hurt more. You need to be more determined and more tolerant.