By engaging with the reality of the emerging Connection economy the signature tune is that of connection: in other words ‘relationships’. Here is just one more story of that power at work – a story that if you are in the medical profession might just save you from litigation!

Currently I am reading ‘Blink’ (by Malcolm Gladwell – the author of ‘The Tipping Point’). (Ed: This book was reviewed in The New Scientist on 12 Feb 2005 – click here for some of the review – or all of it if you’re an NS subscriber). Blink explores that space where we make split-second decisions and reveals how much more attentive we ought to be to that which we call ‘gut feel’ or intuition. Gladwell writes of studies that show just how much information is obtainable in what is referred to as ‘thin slices’. For examples research done by John Gottman show how, by watching a 15 min video interaction between a couple, he is able to predict whether or not they will remain a couple 15 years from the time of observation. Chance? well not when the research shows a 90% accuracy rate! Blink shows how our intuitive ability to have good first impressions is a method we can use to cut through the data clutter in our world. If he’s right, it has interesting implications in the emerging connection economy.
But let me get to the short story I wish to share with you about the importance of relationship. Gladwell provides research of how doctors that ‘are liked’ by their patients are less likely to be sued even should they ‘make a mistake’ in their treatment of that patient. How the doctor treats them personally makes all the difference. Where the doctor has rushed, not listened nor developed a relationship with the patient they are far more likely to be sued should something go wrong. Gladwell quotes Alice Burkin, a leading medical malpractice lawyer who says, “In all the years I have been in this business, I have never had a potential client walk in and say, ‘I really like this doctor, and I feel terrible about doing it, but I want to sue him’ ” It turned out in the research done that the doctors who had never been sued spent on average 3mins more with each of their patients than did those doctors who were sued (18.3 mins vs 15mins). It all came down to how they talked to their patients. Respect for the patient and how that respect is communicated made all the difference.
So, next time you are in the doctors’ rooms, listen to how he talks to you. If he talks down to you or doesn’t ask questions or give you the opportunity to talk – listen to that feeling: you have ‘thin-sliced’ him and found him wanting!

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