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The bridge – A little analogy about growing a business

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 15/04/19 18:00


My business is very different to the business that I walked into (and ultimately bought) in 2008.

For reasons that I have made quite clear in these pages, I have had to think long and hard about where we’re going, what we’re doing and what we’re going to do to get there over the last little while, and for me it needs to be simplified in to images that I can understand.

I understand the bridge represents the journey that I am taking from here to there as an individual in the development of the business.

I ended up on this journey quite unwittingly as a self-protection mechanism to stop someone from pulling the rub out from under my feet again and changing my whole professional circumstances.

I went in to the place where I am now, with the view to just stabilise and survive (hilariously I was planning on developing this huge life outside of dentistry that I would have, because I would only be able to work part time) and now I walk across the bridge, but the thing about the bridge is that there is not really another side to the bridge, but you keep on walking. Behind me I can see where I was and who I was and in front of me I can just about see who I need to be, to support this beast that I have created and the people that rely on it.

First of all, I need to be a clinician and I need to always be a clinician and the reason for that is, that is why I’m here and doing what I am doing. The only thing that will change that is my health. The role of the clinician takes up time, not only in the face to face interactions with patients and the cutting them open but also all the planning and administration that goes around that for my own clinical practice.

Next up I am a  Clinical Director (whatever that means, that term everybody wanted in the 2000’s to show that they were great) to me though it is taking the responsibility of the clinical output that happens in my business, where there are 13 clinicians, multiple different disciplines and spiderwebs upon spiderwebs of complexity.

The practice is called The Campbell Clinic because Campbell takes responsibility for what happens in The Campbell Clinic, not as some sort of trophy to myself.

Next up I am the Managing Director (for now at least) I have an organisation which has increased in size by more than 10x since I stepped foot through the door.

This is an entirely different job to the Clinical Director job or the clinician job, there is no “actual work” in being a Managing Director, only the “work” of making sure that everybody else does their work in the right direction heading towards the North Star so we all get to the place we decided we wanted to get to.

For a job without any “work”, it is exhausting.

As a side line and a hobby I am a Director of The Campbell Academy, (not the Managing Director) but I am also a speaker there too and someone who develops educational content, courses and direction. I have convinced myself that ties in with my jobs within my clinic, but you can see where this is going, because there are only so many hours in the day and so many days in the week.

Outside of things there are other activities, other roles, other jobs, other names, but they’re not on this bridge. The bottom line is to get to the other side of the bridge or at least to keep moving towards it, is to change and to have to change and to have to want to change.

To be more organised, to be more structured, to be more focused, and to be able to leave things behind, even if that means they will collapse.

This ultimately is the dilemma of growth in business. I didn’t mean for us to get like this, I meant for us to “positively influence the lives of as many people as possible” it just so happened that by positioning us towards that North Star, it worked at least until now and therefore I and many of the rest of us have to change to get across the bridge.


Blog Post Number: 1977



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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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