In a large study of over 5,000 workers in Spain, the University of Madeira discovered that employer-provided training has the same effect on job satisfaction as a 17.7% net wage increase.

I’ve been teaching for years that your employees don’t always want more money in order to increase their engagement and overall job satisfaction with your company. The ability to learn something new or achieve mastery of a skill they have already learned but have not yet perfected are both critical components to job satisfaction. Our surveys with top clients after in-office trainings and live seminar boot camps that we provide also support this recommendation.


Your best people are just as excited as you are to learn new things and push their boundaries of knowledge into new and unchartered territory. Don’t assume they are happy doing the same thing day after day if the paycheck is good enough. It simply won’t keep your best people engaged. Ask me how I know. I’ve learned this the hard way time after time.


If you examine the employee training programs for the Walt Disney Company, the Ritz Carlton and Virgin American airlines, you’ll discover this principle of learning new things is consistently in action. When you have lunch with a Disney Imagineer, a lunch date I highly suggest you take if ever presented with the opportunity, you’ll discover a huge secret to Disney’s success with this highly-competitive and highly-sought- after position within the company (this particular Imagineer had spent over 20 years building her career, interspersed with three separate interview opportunities before she finally landed the job). She explained how they frequently move the Imagineers from project to project, between parks, overseas and through continuous motion Disney basically is forcing their top people to learn new things.


The same is true with Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO. When faced with two potential candidates to succeed him in the lead role when he steps down, he had the top executive in finance and the top executive in running the parks switch jobs for two years. Could you imagine? What does a finance executive know about the day-to- day operations of running a theme park and vice versa? It forced them to learn something new.

Think about your own practice. When are you most excited about its future – when you’ve been doing the same thing over and over or when you finally learn something new? Isn’t it time you provided the same exciting opportunities for your employees?


In his book Free Market Madness, Peter Ubel illustrates the risk many parents took in the 1970s by choosing not to vaccinate their children for polio. The main reason in deciding not to vaccinate was that 1 in 2.4 million could actually contract the disease from the vaccine. Parents overlooked the fact that the risk of contracting the disease, without the vaccination, was exponentially higher than 1 in 2.4 million. Yet, statistics don’t mean anything if you are convinced that your child could be the one in 2.4 million.


We all have a tendency to think more carefully about the potential harms of our actions than we do to the consequences of our inaction.


In the U.S. this week, we celebrated our 242nd birthday as a country. Certainly the founding fathers had much to consider in their action of signing the Declaration of Independence. At the same time, they had also considered the dire consequences of doing nothing. Luckily, they overcame their fears of action and dismissed the option of inaction.


How often do we make decisions in our own lives and in our practices that only consider the risks and benefits of doing something? Buying a new location, extending our hours, hiring an associate, investing in employee training and incentive programs, promoting the practice with more marketing, etc. All of these tend to strike fear in the hearts of most audiologists and hearing specialists.


But, it’s only half the story.


Instead of maintaining the status quo or staying the course, how often do you ask yourself what your practice (and our profession) will look like in 20 years as a result of our inaction?

One need not search far and wide to see profound examples. Hearing aid insurance, corporate care, at-home delivery of audiology treatment via tele-audiology, O.T.C. options, etc, etc.


How often do you have your “RADAR up” and how broadly do you have it tuned so that you accept a wide variety of input that can help you consider not only the risk and reward of action but also the pitfalls of inaction? (e.g., How many practice owners actually read the manufacturer quarterly SEC filings and earnings reports?) * Financial disclosure: I’m a shareholder


Here, in this place, my job isn’t to tell you what to do, but to help you thoughtfully consider how human nature and psychology shape your decisions. Your ability to solve the problems in our profession that have not yet surfaced and to answer the questions that have not yet been asked, lies in your ability to understand how choices are made – which must precede making them correctly.


Quincy Jones has been nominated for more Grammy Awards than any other person and has won a total of twenty-seven times in ten different fields. From Children’s to Pop, Rap, Jazz, R&B, and more. He has worked with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Miles Davis and the list goes on. He produced the best-selling album of all time: Michael Jackson’s Thriller.


Q, as his friends call him, has so many talents in so many diverse fields, including television (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) and movie producing (The Color Purple), even as the founder and chairman of Vibe magazine, that it’s hard for him not to find unique ways to work with new people and bring out the best in them, as he pulls experiences from other fields and other genres into each new project he completes.

Jones once said, “A person’s age can be determined by the degree of pain he experiences when he comes into contact with a new idea.”


I’ve been teaching clients for years to go looking for new ideas. At a recent mastermind meeting, I shared a personal secret to how I come up with new ideas every day, how I go looking for them and how I teach them to others.


The top doctors and specialists in my coaching groups – the clients experiencing the most growth and highest net incomes – are comfortable with new ideas. They adapt quickly with little pain.


Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest generals in history, addressed an opponent he had defeated by saying, “I will tell you the mistake you are always making. You draw up your plans the day before battle, when you do not yet know your adversary’s movements.”


From something as simple as your daily schedule, to something as complex as opening your next office location, hiring associates or expanding to offer auditory brain training or O.T.C. devices in your hearing health care practices, rigidity of mind carries the seeds of its own destruction.


Open your mind to the possibility that any of your current or future problems can be solved, go looking for new ideas each day and be willing to adapt to what is required of you in the process.


Do you get excited by the prospect of growing the practice 3X or even 10X, or do you avoid BIG thoughts like this because of the anticipated pain involved? How comfortable are you with adapting in a rapidly-changing world? Your answers to these questions say everything about where you will be in 10 or 20 years.