1: Dr. Carol Clinton was an ER doctor and a stage 3 ovarian cancer survivor.
She decided to change her own life and that of her patients by founding Timeless Skin Solutions, a nonsurgical medical company. As an entrepreneur, she adopted the “Make Big Happen” system to build and grow her business.
A system is “a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized framework or method.” The Make Big Happen system aims to create a “flywheel effect by stacking daily execution on top of weekly performance improvement, on top of bimonthly accountability, on top of monthly progress review, on top of quarterly alignment, on top of annual planning, and on top of biennial recalibration,” write Mark Moses and his co-authors in Making Big Happen.
2: “Make Big Happen” begins by asking four questions. As stated above, Carol was clear on her answer to Question #1: “What do I want?” She wanted to create a business that would transform her life and those of her patients,
Question #2 is: “What do I have to do?” Working with her business coach, David Sobel, she established quarterly and annual planning rhythms which are at the heart of the “Make Big Happen framework.” She “built an action plan to get what she wanted,” the authors write, and “before long, Carol had adopted the Make Big Happen system to a tee.”
As Timeless Skin Solutions grew, Carol and David continuously discussed Make Big Happen Question #3: “What could get in the way?”
“Carol had left the ER in the first place because she yearned to move on from the high-pressure nature of the job,” Mark and his co-authors write. “However, she still had a strong passion to bring personal care to her patients, so she was still spending most of her time in front of her patients.”
The problem with this approach? As CEO and primary rainmaker for the company, Carol needed to spend less time with patients and more time growing the business for the long term.
“David and Carol spoke candidly, and together they made some tough decisions,” the authors note. “Carol resolved to shift her time to fulfilling the responsibilities she should be focusing on as CEO, knowing that it was necessary to achieve what she wanted.”
As her coach, David held Carol responsible for making the necessary changes, answering Make Big Happen Question #4: “How will we hold ourselves accountable?”
3: Then, Carol’s cancer returned. During her chemotherapy, she was forced to withdraw from her company’s leadership. “It became clear that the proactive move for her to step out of her patients’ rooms and allow others to take care of them on her behalf may have saved the company,” the authors write. “Otherwise, Carol’s absence would have crippled Timeless Skin Solution without her there to hold it up.”
In late 2020, Carol sold her company to a regional dermatology company. She “was rewarded for her time, effort, and rigorous adherence to the Make Big Happen questions. Today, she opens up about “the many faces of ovarian cancer” on her popular podcast.
Her story is a powerful example of the three-part Make Big Happen system to build a business:
1. Apply the Make Big Happen questions to take action
2. Establish and maintain the Make Big Happen business rhythms to implement structure
3. Leverage the proven Make Big Happen tools to accelerate our success
Reflection: What do I want? What do I have to do? What could get in the way? How do I hold myself accountable?
Action: Set aside a block of time to journal about my answers to the questions above.