Two-Part Strategy for Physician Practice Satisfaction [ HTW + WTP ]

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

Today and every day in the USA, over 50% of American Physicians are suffering from at least one symptom of burnout.

What word would you use to describe this situation to someone who doesn't work in healthcare?

Sad <> Tragic <> Criminal <> Crazy <> Unfortunate??

How about this ... ABSURD.

How can you take an entire generation of the best and brightest and grind half of them down to the point where their performance is impaired and their lives at risk - every single day - and carry on as if this is normal.

There's only one conclusion we can make ...


There must be something toxic - in some cases, deadly - about the current practice of medicine for physicians. 

It's as if each of us is a coal miner and your employer refuses to give you a respirator, then blames you for your black lung disease - or a construction worker without a hard hat - or a policeman without a bulletproof vest.

This blog post let me teach you a two-part strategy to TAKE YOUR PRACTICE BACK.

A proven path back to a practice you enjoy, one that will keep you happy and smiling about your decision to become a physician in the first place.

Take Back Your Practice with the 

Training, Weekly Coaching and Tribe of Support inside
The BurnoutProofMD 3-Layer Physician Support ECOSYTEM
Get Started for FREE Now


Practice satisfaction doesn't just happen these days. You must work a weekly strategy to build meaning and fulfillment within the boundaries of your current employment contract. It's the career equivalent of putting your own mask on first.

Without this strategy, the thousand paper cuts of your current job will eventually grind you down and burn you out.

With this strategy you can rise from your status as just another worker bee - another cog in the machine - to being a true Free Agent Physician. Happy in your practice, a productive and valued member of the team, and if things don't work out here, always capable of finding a better job. We've been teaching these skills and supporting doctors on this path since 2010.


I learned this strategy from Roger Martin and have hard wired it into our physician coaching process since we started back in 2010.

It has two main parts, most easily expressed with this formula.

[ HTW + WTP ]

We start with HTW = HOW TO WIN

Every physician needs to understand HOW TO WIN.

What does it mean for you to win in your current practice? That winning formula can be described as your Ideal Job Description.

Every physician needs a clear Ideal Job Description, or you are at the mercy of your employer's job description - which was not created to make you happy. Your employer's job description is focused on one thing - generating maximum profits from your efforts - thus maximizing the return to the organization's investors.

Arrow-bullseyeYour Ideal Job Description is a target you aim yourself and your practice at, constantly working to get closer and closer to the bullseye.

It is your personal definition of HOW TO WIN.

This is how we take back our autonomy. As you move in the direction of your ideal practice description, burnout becomes impossible - even absurd (in a good way). 


How do you measure your progress?

The Physician's Venn of HappinessVenn_of_Happiness

You can score your current level of success in creating your Ideal Job quickly and easily with this Venn diagram.

You don't need a crystal clear Ideal Job Description to measure your success, because this is a Venn of FEELINGS.

How it works:

  • You know what your current job feels like.

  • You can imagine what your ideal job would feel like.

  • How much overlap does it feel like there is between the two right now - in percent?

  • 20 - 40 - 60 - 80% ?? 

It's vitally important that you take a moment to recognize your overlap percentage now.


And go one step further.

Take a look at your percent overlap - how does that feel? Are you okay with that number? Is this the way you always hoped your career as a physician would pan out? Or would you like a bit more overlap with your Ideal Job?

Here are some normal values for you:

Most doctors feel burned out with this number at 40% or less.

Most are quite happy at 70% or more. When we coach a burned out doctor the 70% VENN overlap is our goal. Most Physicians feel it's time to graduate from coaching when they hit that threshold.


If you know HOW TO WIN -- how do you get to 70% overlap in the Venn of Happiness?

You deploy a weekly strategy to build a more ideal job - right here if possible.

We show you how to take back your current practice by deploying the seven missing skill sets from your medical education. These are the tools to build practice satisfaction within the boundaries of your current job.

Through our work with over 40,000 Physicians we've discovered specific skills to

  • Build a more ideal practice
  • Get home sooner
  • Build more work-life balance
  • Become the eye of the Storm at work
  • Practice simple leadership skills to share the load more effectively
  • Manage your relationship with your boss


None of these skills are taught in your medical education and each is critical to your practice satisfaction after you graduate. Without these skills, the background rate of burnout in physicians today is over 50% - and you do not want to be in that majority.

If your current Venn overlap is less than 70% - it takes several months of consistent effort, using these new skills, to bring you up above that 70% threshold. What you will notice is that you've only made three or four small changes. Each one has produced a significant improvement in your satisfaction.

Once you reach the 70% threshold you cannot relax

In today's rapidly changing healthcare industry, you must continue your ideal job generator strategy to maintain that 70% or more.

Note that any merger acquisition or change in your leadership team means you have to start your HTW strategy all over again.


Which brings us to part two of the strategy ... WTP


Once you know HOW TO WIN, the remaining question WHERE TO PLAY.

Your career task is to find a game you can win.

Do not take your ideal job description and try to build a 70% Venn overlap in a work site where that goal is impossible.

Notice that you must understand your definition of HOW TO WIN, in order to know WHERE TO PLAY.

Your ideal job description is the key to a successful job search. We never let our coaching clients accept a job offer unless they are certain the job is at least a 70% match for their ideal job.

Careful selection of WHERE TO PLAY is the only valid pathway to true practice satisfaction.

If you are not ready to leave your current job, but your Venn overlap is less than 70%, we recommend you work your ideal practice strategy for at least 3 months before making a decision to stay or leave.

We also recommend that you start interviewing immediately. That way you understand the options available and can compare them to your ideal practice description and your current practice for a nice reality check.


NOTE: HTW and WTP are moving targets

In today's healthcare industry the pace of mergers and acquisitions ensures that no one will have an old-school, 40-year career in one job. Anytime your employer is bought or sold or there's a significant leadership change you will have to start your HTW action plan all over again.

Understanding HTW + WTP is the essence of becoming a Physician Free Agent.

You know how to work your ideal practice generator process here. 

And if you can't position your Venn at 70% or above, you're absolutely confident in your ability to find that job with a single job search.

You are in charge of your career and have the skills to be Burnout Proof


This practice satisfaction strategy is the oxygen mask, the respirator, the hard hat, the bulletproof vest to protect you from physician burnout.

Work this action plan consistently and you will build the practice satisfaction you seek and render yourself actually Burnout Proof. You will have the skills, awareness and roadmap to be a true Physician Free Agent - always building your ideal practice in a place where you can win.

This whole process is also faster and much more fun within a tribe of support. We can cheer you on, point you're in the right direction, help you celebrate your victories and have your back.

Check out our Burnout Proof MD 3-Layer Physician Support ECOSYSTEM and it's 30-day freeBURNOUT PROOF 1 trial. 

We would love to see you on the inside and support you on your journey to practice satisfaction.





What's your Venn of Happiness overlap with your current job?
Are you OK with that number?



Tags: stop physician burnout