Dave Brown, president and CEO, IDOC.
NORWALK, Conn.—IDOC's Connection 2021 meeting got under way last Wednesday via a virtual platform that accommodated general sessions, breakouts, exhibitor booths and networking opportunities for the registered attendees. The three-day virtual event concluded Friday. The virtual platform also featured live chat rooms, continuing education, and engaging industry presentations. Wednesday’s general session included a keynote address by leadership expert and best-selling author Kim Becking, who spoke on the topic, “Punch in the Gut Moments: How to Get up, Grit up, and Conquer Change.”

The interactive meeting is designed to inform, guide and inspire IDOC members. It is open to all independent OD practices nationwide. More than 1,500 industry executives registered for the Connection meeting.

Dave Brown, IDOC's president and CEO, also addressed the general session attendees Wednesday afternoon, noting that he was thrilled to have so many participants. One of the goals of the organization this year, he said, is to provide the insights and information that will help independent doctors thrive as business owners and also as individuals.

Picking up on keynoter Becking’s talk, Brown noted that he found many important take-aways from her presentation, including her comments on the importance of “change” and being able to learn from this. He said the popular quote from the management consultants James Belasco and Ralph Stayer stands out as quite appropriate during these times. The quote is: “Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”

As Becking noted, Brown said, it’s important to distinguish between change that is forced upon us, and change that we choose.

He added, “Change was forced upon us [during the pandemic] like perhaps it has never been before in our lives. That has been something that hopefully we have learned from. And we’ve learned to adapt and learned new habits. Those of you in practices have had to learn new ways to deliver the great care that you deliver.”

He then asked the ODs to think about the things they have had to change during the COVID-19 situation and to ask themselves what they might have gained via these changes. “I think one of the stories I have heard [often] from practices is … that they are providing more and better service and consumers /patients are buying more even though doctors haven’t had as many patients coming through the practice.”

The “learning” here, he said, is perhaps that the more time spent with the patient, with more care given to them and with more emphasis on the one-on-one experience, is actually resulting in a second pair of glasses being bought or a pair of sunglasses being purchased.

This is an example, Brown said, of proving the fallacy of the more people the doctor sees, the better for the practice. “It would have been hard for anyone to say, ‘I am going to see less patients’ before. But that’s an example, I think, of this statement about change being hard because we hold on so much to what we know. We don’t think about what we can gain if we change.”

Brown added, “Kim did such a better job talking about change and how to go about it, but I did want to share [my thoughts] because I really do find this to be very powerful as we go through life.”