Associates – It’s not them that needs to change, IT’S US!

I was just finishing one of my high-level masterminds when I remembered something that I was taught by one of my greatest teachers. He said, “As a coach and mentor I remain open to learning from my students, and I will always outperform those of my industry.”

I’ve had the opportunity to be privy to hundreds of practice owners and the unique situations within their practices. I’ve also run multiple practices for over 10 years, with multiple associates. Here is my biggest lesson to date: Times have changed. It’s not the associates who need to change. It’s us! Having been there myself, and having worked with not only hundreds of staff but hundreds of associates, I can tell you first-hand that working with associates can certainly make you hard. It can sometimes feel like very little reward or gratitude in return for what you give to them.

Recently, I had the privilege of spending a day with a private equity group including the founders of the fund that are conservatively worth 300 million. During the visit I had the unique opportunity to be a fly on the wall and observe how they interacted with each other and listen to their conversations. 

What was so interesting was that the way they spoke about “staff” and or hiring their own qualified staff or “associates” was identical to what I hear from every single associate-based business owner at the moment. It’s not a chiropractic thing or something unique to just our industry. It’s a “sign of the times” thing, in most industries. Building teams, a workplace culture and hiring, HAS CHANGED.

I heard these financial folks saying things like, “They’re not like we were back in the day,” and, “They don’t work like they used to when we started out, not leaving the office till midnight!” These kinds of statements were bandied about just like we chiropractors talk about associates today.

And then like some magical scene from a movie (imagine the music dimming, the lights brightening, and everything poised for a perfectly timed phrase that you actually believe) was a gift from the founder of the fund. He looked across the table at seven high-powered execs and said, “Guys it’s not them that has to change. It’s us! Times have changed! 

So, my question to you is, why not think about changing to a millennial-oriented practice? Yes, I know that scares the shit out of you! The truth is that things have changed and not necessarily for the worse. They’ve just changed, and our opinions about millennials are irrelevant. Perhaps all management advice has become redundant, hard, and inflexible. Consider that many formerly traditional offices are now using a hybrid model, allowing people to work when they want to work, where they want to work, and how they want to work. 

The laptop lifestyle has become a thing. People’s values have changed and for example, they want to be home by a certain time, and they may want to exercise, or work on side projects or whatever “balance” is for them. Bottom line is, they have more choices now, and that’s not just chiropractic associates . It’s across the board and many are choosing to delve into those alternative choices, be it alternative ways of working (hybrid), alternative ways of making money (online and offline), multiple ways of making money, and prioritising lifestyle choices. 

If you aren’t willing to make a change in your expectations or perhaps be more adaptable within the millennial culture with your young associates, you will have a tough time recruiting and maintaining key staff members.

Now, you may not like what you’re reading right now. Many of my readers probably don’t. The reason you listen to me is that I’m damn good at what I do, and I’ll tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. I do that for hundreds of chiropractors across the world. So, my message to you today is that it’s us that needs to change. Treat your young associates with love and respect. Provide them with a work environment that will keep them working with you and for you for years to come. 

I want you to know one more thing before I sign out. 

Business is hard and running teams is even harder. This is backed up by the interesting statistic that the average number of employees across the board if one looks at all the businesses in America is JUST 3. WHY? Because most just do not have the skillset to build a team. Don’t underestimate how hard it is. 

If you’ve got a team right now and perhaps you have become a little jaded and a little bit “twisted”, welcome to the club. It’s called the school of hard knocks and “experience”, but don’t let that be the lens through which you run your business on an ongoing basis . Much like relationships are hard and often one needs to “talk to someone” about some of those hardships, to that same end, running a business is HARD and why SHOWING up to events and masterminds is so damn important . This is not a plug for “my stuff” this is a plug for “THIS STUFF”. 

If you think you can “do it alone” then you simply are flirting with the wrong side of the statistics. The truth is, sometimes we, as business owners, just need to have a safe space to rant or hear that others are also going through what we are!

If you need any help, please reach out. I’m always here to help.

Love and Light,


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