My grandfather, Robert Collier, died in 1950, two years before I was born. He was a tremendous businessman, a pioneer in the mail order sales business, and wrote “The Robert Collier Letter Book” on business correspondence.Robert Collier also had a strong spiritual side and in the late 1920s wrote some of the first self-help books, including one called “Secret of the Ages.” The family still keeps the books in print and occasionally our website gets questions that my cousin Collie forwards to the family for a response. Here is one such question and my response:
The principle is that at some levels, business is simple: Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.
The principle may be simple, but its application can be challenging. Many managers tend to be into command and control, as they are required to deliver certain results on a regular basis (the bottom line can be very unforgiving), and there is a natural human tendency to want to have direct control over that for which you are responsible. Managers become managers because they are good at controlling things, and one way you control things is by creating policies and procedures. The challenge is when these policies and procedures get in the way of the basic mission of the organization: Taking care of your customers.
Recently, I read an excellent book by Shannon Brownlee, “Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.” Its thesis is that America spends more on health care as a percentage of our GNP (16%) than any nation on Earth, yet we get less for it in terms of life expectancy and generally healthiness (Canada and France spend 10% and live longer).
More health care does NOT automatically equate to being healthier. “Overtreated” states that between “one fifth and one third” of health care dollars are spent on “care that does nothing to improve our health.”
Sooo…. how to spend less on health care while still staying healthy?