Surgical diva paradoxes from Seth Godin

Apr 17, 2012

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I think this is interesting. Not certain I agree, but the issue of the rarity and value of above average skill is really important for medicine. The NHS model is essentially one of interchangeable widgets. There are a few bad apples, and everybody else is competent, so they pretend. Little units to be placed within the NHS factory. But it seems to me that for many areas of practice who you see or where you go  is important. I just don’t know how general this argument is.

Great surgeons don’t need to be respectful or have a talented, kind or alert front desk staff. They’re great at the surgery part, and you’re not here for the service, you’re here to get well (if you believe that the surgery part is what matters). In fact, gruffness might be a clue to their skill for some.

Great opera singers don’t have to be reasonable or kind. They sing like no one else, that’s why you hired them, and why they get to (are expected to) act like divas. Get over it.

So the thinking goes.

The traditional scarcity model implied some sort of inverse relationship between service and quality. Not for service businesses like hotels, of course, but for the other stuff. If someone was truly gifted, of course they didn’t have the time or focus to also be kind or reasonable or good at understanding your needs. A diva was great partly because, we decided, she was a jerk.

I think that’s changing, possibly forever, for a bunch of reasons:

Read on

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

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