But at one recent meeting, I began to notice something else.
I was with some of the most powerful people in chiropractic. They were the "movers and shakers" who have been involved in many of the events that have shaped our present situation, and will continue to shape our future. As I looked at them and listened to their conversations, I realized that they have been around for a while. I also realized that many of them probably won't be around in 10 years.
And then it hit me ...
Where are all the new leaders?
Where are the people being groomed to replace the current leadership?
Certainly, the new leaders are not expected to learn on their own, or worse yet, to step into these positions without any practical experience.
The chiropractic profession has a long history of losing leaders without leaving anyone waiting in the wings. Someone you expect to be there forever suddenly isn't. Very seldom do our leaders ever find the time to train and properly prepare their replacements.
If you are one of the thousands of leaders who help move our profession forward, and you are over the age of 50 or plan to retire in the next 10 years, you need to think carefully about finding at least one replacement for yourself (preferably two or three).
You need to do this - first, for the sake of the chiropractic profession, which requires continuity in leadership in order to grow effectively. Second, if you think about it, you want someone to continue your work (or the work you are continuing) with the same values and dedication that you possess.
If you fall into the "over 50" or "thinking about retirement" category, here are some thoughts about the types of people you should be looking for as potential replacements. (These same points apply if you are looking to turn your practice over to an associate.)
- Seek people who hold the same values you do - If they don't share your values, it is unlikely that they will continue your work.
- Seek people of truth - If they can't be trusted to tell the truth in all situations, you can never trust them, and neither can anyone who might wish to work with them in the future.
- Seek character, not charisma - Character is what trust and respect are based on. Even if you disagree with someone, you respect them for their character, not the false promises they make at the podium.
- Seek people who aren't greedy - Success is the reward for hard work. A person who is greedy doesn't understand that concept. They will cut corners, and even break the law, to get what they want.
- Don't pass on your prejudices - Allow your replacement to learn about the other members of the profession and make their own decisions based upon what they find. None of us has 20/20 vision. It may be that the person we refuse to work with has changed (or we misjudged them, based upon a single incident).
- Choose a servant - The people who really make things happen in this profession are ultimately servants. They serve chiropractic with their hearts; without expecting thanks and unconcerned about who gets the credit. Because they are servants, they inspire others to join and imitate them.
If you care about what you have contributed to chiropractic (and to your patients), you will want to see your work continue. The only way to do this is to prepare people to replace you and continue the good things you are doing. You need to start now and make this a priority.
There are thousands of very capable DCs anxious to make their contributions. This is their chance, and yours, to keep our profession growing strong.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.