The Entrepreneurial MD for Women

Finding the balance between medicine and business

Physicians considering a career change need to figure out their "disruptive" skills

As the recent SEAK Non-Clinical Careers Conference weekend fades away from my consciousness, I continue mulling over just what it takes to go from doc in full-time medical practice to a non-clinical physician role in which you are deploying skills that are either new or being tweaked to provide value in fresh new work places.

Or to go from stay-at-home physician mom to someone who is ready to get back into the work place.

I am so often told "I could never do anything else -- all I know is medicine." And then comes the inevitable comment "Maybe I should go to business school and get my MBA"!

A timely article from the Harvard Business weekly newsletter this week draws attention to a new way of thinking about one's transferable skills as a physician in career transition.

They call them "disruptive skills".
Translating this to our careers, when we proffer to the marketplace a disruptive skill set, focusing on our distinctive innate talents rather than 'me-too' skills, we are more likely to achieve success and increase what we earn. For example, consider the outcomes for two presidential candidates: on the one hand, Mitt Romney, who highlighted his political views rather than his business acumen; on the other, Bill Clinton, who understood that, as smart as the former Rhodes scholar is, his real skill was interpersonal intelligence.

What might a physician's disruptive skill set look like?

  • exquisite listening skills and diagnostic talents may equal phenomenal "connect the dot" problem-solving in a challenging team leadership role

  • remarkable surgical and tissue handling skills may translate to great artistic ability on the canvas or as a sculptor

  • an uncanny ability to remember the details of the Krebs Cycle and other physiologic marvels might become a whizz bang way to work financial numbers

  • fiercely negotiating the tenant improvements for your last office space might show up as real estate genius


The sentence that jumped out at me as most on-the-mark is this one:
Yet we often overlook our best skills — our innate talents — simply because we perform them without even thinking.

So very true!!

Take a hard, creative, right-brained look at what you're good at, and love to do -- you may be in for a delightful surprise at what the marketplace will value and pay you to do.

What are your disruptive skills?
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My Outlier
The road more travelled

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