The $100,000 Day: Applying New Principles
Brian and Joe talked every day the following week, their moods alternating between doubt and unprecedented optimism. Brian often found himself staring into space and smiling, which prompted one patient to ask, “Dr Lerner, did you win big in the stock market or something?”
There was no way to explain his visible reactions to Rich’s lecture—he hadn’t taken any actions yet. Rich had instructed him to just think about his practice and determine the biggest leverage point for improvement. Rich promised that on the following Saturday, he would share the beginning of his approach. He said that in less than an hour, they would make some momentous decisions about each of their practices. Rich sure knew how to play up the suspense of improving a practice.
On Wednesday night, just after Brian put the girls to bed, his cell phone buzzed. “Hey, Brian,” Joe’s voice boomed through the cell phone speaker, “can you and Jen come over for an hour? Barb and I have something we want to share with you.”
Once a sitter arrived, Brian and Jen were on their way, speculating in the car on what news Barb and Joe might want to share. They pulled into Joe and Barb’s driveway just as Rich and Liz called to say that they would be sitting in by telephone.
They all settled in front of the blazing fireplace with Rich and Liz on speaker phone. Brian was thrilled to see that Joe and Barb were holding hands. He couldn’t resist commenting, “You know, Joe, you might save a little on the air conditioning if you didn’t run the fireplace in August.”
Joe looked at the group, beaming, and said, “We’re celebrating.”
“What are we celebrating?” Jen demanded.
“We had a $100,000 day today!” Joe answered.
There was an extended pause as everyone waited to hear more, then Jen finally said with exasperation, “Joe, your $100,000 day is costing us sitters, and if you don’t speak up in 30 seconds, I’m going to strangle you. Come on, out with it!”
Joe looked like a 10-year-old in the middle of a practical joke. He was sitting with an impish grin on his face, smugly keeping his lips sealed. Barb answered on Joe’s behalf. “You all know I work for the school board. And everyone at work knows that when it comes to working with kids, my husband is the best dentist in Grand Forks. Well, I got a call from Tom Pinkerton, the head of the school board today, asking me if I thought Joe might be interested in helping under-privileged students regain their self-image and give them a better shot at life through subsidized dental care. Two weeks ago, if I had raised the subject of ‘low-value, subsidized care’ with Joe, we would have gotten into a huge fight. Joe was not into doing this low-value work, especially with all the financial pressures. Instead, because of you guys, we sat down and worke/>