The Galileo spacecraft travelled 14 years from Earth to Jupiter. And for a good part of its journey, it was off course.
But instead of making hundreds of small course corrections, to save fuel it made a handful of significant ones.
Your group has an exclusive contract that provides for stipend support from the hospital. Two years into its five year term, you realize that the stipend is insufficient. It's not that you've mismanaged, underestimated or even under-budgeted; the cause of the financial problem is that the hospital has purposefully attracted a new stream of patients that, for your specialty services, means a significant increase in low and no-pay business.
What's the timing of an appeal to the hospital for a renegotiated stipend package?
Take a lesson from the Galileo: instead of frequently going to the hospital to revisit contract terms, conserve your fuel -- the goodwill that your group has built up -- and make, at most, no more than a few very meaningful revisits of contract terms.
I realize that many readers have never considered the notion of ever renegotiating a hospital contract. But in practice, mid-course renegotiation is a common occurrence.
However, the strategies and tactics required to achieve a successful result are not.
Unfortunately, many groups lack the discipline to properly time mid-course renegotiation and when they do renegotiate, they often throw strategy to the wind - resorting to a "flying by the seat-of-your-pants" type style.
But, as is the case with a complete contract negotiation itself, mid-term contract renegotiations should be properly staged and crafted. Issues must be defined, support must be garnered, and the context must be framed . . . all before making the initial move.
And, the manner of the initial move, whether by way of a simple overture, an exploration of a potential notice of termination, or an actual notice of termination, must be carefully weighed.
Despite what you may believe, contracts aren't cut from stone. If you are willing to pay the price, they may be broken. They may even be bent. And, certainly, they may be modified. But, like the Galileo's course corrections, just don't do it too often.
On the bright side, you're not seven years and 200 million miles out on your voyage. On the other hand, it still might be time to consider your options.
Let us know if we can help you get back on course.