Dilemma of Retiring from my Practice: by use of Option Solving!

A long time friend, who is also a professional practitioner, started talking to me about retiring from the practice he had built up over many years. He had hoped that over those years he would have recruited a junior partner who would now be ready to buy the practice, but things didn’t turn out that way for one reason or another.

Now he wanted to retire and was faced with a tough dilemma because the poor economy had affected the value of his practice and there were fewer potential buyers around. He had taken advice from a business lawyer, who was encouraging him to wait 5 years in the hope that the practice would regain its former value.

Faced with this quandary, we invited him to join us in an Option Solving On-line session, where he would have both a facilitator and a scribe to record the discussion. As a threesome, we initially focused on the right question and considerations, and eventually came up with: “What is my best immediate option for retiring from my practice, considering I want to get out in 3 years, my practice is hampered by the economy, and I’m willing to practice but don’t want the management headaches? – see Latest Example. There were more considerations than these three, although these seemed the most important ones.

As we worked the points through over a conference line, with same option solving picture on our laptops, we moved onto defining the “bookends”, those yin and yang items that would further frame the dilemma and give his intuition a provocative frame of reference. After some discussion, these turned out to be: “Willing to sell at any price” and at the other end, “Not sell, keep practicing.” Obviously neither was a starter, even though they are, in fact, options.

Now it remained for him, with facilitation guidance, to come up with a number of realistic options. You can see from the Latest Example that he came up with six options (although we deliberately have not shown all of them). While my scribe colleague reconfigured the order of these options, I kept my friend occupied with some other distracting small-talk, to allow for emotional distancing. This allowed his intuition to work through the variables, trade-offs and similar decisions (that had been recorded in his subconscious over the years).

Eventually, we came back to the Latest Example picture and, with a quick read of the question, “bookends,” and six options, from which he chose one. We then immediately started discussing his next steps, while it was still fresh in his mind. He then left the conference meeting to go and implement his decision, while renewed confidence and momentum was there.

Please refer to the Latest Example to view the overall picture of this dilemma and its potential solution. If you have any example of your own, please share it with the blogger through the COMMENTS icon.
Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Using Option Solving to decide on ‘Promoting a more Positive/Conducive Relationship to Facilitate Progress?’” We will appreciate your COMMENTS or go to peter @ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

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