Survival of the Fittest
We’ve all heard the phrase most often used in evolution theory, ‘survival of the fittest’. And indeed it’s most often true that only those who are ‘fit’ are able to survive in this world. Those who are considered strong, powerful, vigorous, forceful, outgoing or even overbearing are usually considered prime examples of any species that are truly able to survive. Examples of survivors in the world of pharmacy might include Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and other familiar big corporate pharmacy names. But are these the characteristics that will be needed to continue to be a pharmacy survivor in the future? Do you and I need to have these characteristics to become pharmacy survivors ourselves?
I recently ran across a quote, or more appropriately a misquote, often attributed to Charles Darwin which gave me a different perspective on the idea of survival of the fittest in the world of pharmacy:
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.”
It was found that this quote is actually attributed to Leon C. Megginson, former Professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, and can be found in his writings,
Lessons from Europe for American Business, Southwestern Social Science Quarterly (1963) 44(1): 3-13, at p. 4.
Those who are the most adaptable to change will become the survivors of the future in the world of pharmacy as well.
Learning to Adapt;
There is no question in my mind that Professor Megginson was right on target. Today’s pharmacists need to become adaptable to change. The ability to adapt or to acclimate to the changing climate in the world of pharmacy is probably the biggest factor in the success of any pharmacy business today or the future.
Today’s community pharmacists,whether practicing independently in a pharmacy setting or striving to build a medication therapy management MTM consulting business need to learn to adapt to the changes taking place. Today’s pharmacists need to out think, out maneuver and out perform the competition in order to be survivors. Flexibility and adaptability will be necessary to survive in today’s world of PBMs, ACOs, CCOs and PCMHs.
Although it will take both business fitness and strength, it will require a more cerebral type of business savvy. Planning and organizational activities are becoming more crucial for a business to succeed. New ideas and approaches to opportunities and problem solving are needed to survive. The ability to be always be ‘thinking on your feet’ and quick to maneuver through the ins and outs of business will be critical to your success.
Flexibility is now a key component of business marketing strategy. Finding new ways to market yourself are imperative. Social media marketing, email marketing, guerrilla marketing and other progressive marketing techniques are becoming more prevalent and common. Finding new ways to fit into the changing landscape of the profession is critical. And finding new resources to assist you in the process is becoming a necessity.
But most importantly is the need to believe in who and what you are. You need to be the pharmacist, a trusted member of the healthcare team. You need to be the healthcare provider that patients (not customers) expect you to be. Customers just want to buy something from you. Patients want the beneficial concern and care you offer them that gives value to the products or services you provide.
This is where the big players have dropped the ball… they have distanced the patient from the pharmacists they employ. The counseling, care and concern that used to be in the pharmacist/patient relationship is, for the most part, no longer there, turning patients into mere customers at best.
This is where you can take the advantage in the world of pharmacy. Be the pharmacist and healthcare provider your patients expect you to be. Be flexible in your thinking and maneuvering through your daily business activities. And most important… Be a Survivor.