The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority
This quote by Ken Blanchard, one of the renowned American authors, subtly sums up what it takes to be a successful leader in today’s competitive market. The ability of a leader to motivate his employees, colleagues, as well as consumers, stakeholders, etc., and positively influence them sets him/her apart from the rest. An example of such persuasive leadership is portrayed by Katie Lau (Founder of Dr. Katie Clinic). Katie is an aesthetic doctor based in Hong Kong who—with her clinic—is providing top-notch aesthetic medical services to patients.
An Enthralling Journey
Starting her educational journey as a medical student, Katie had never imagined she would start her own business; neither did she aim to specialize in the fields of cosmetic and aesthetic medicine. Her ultimate goal was to help people in need. After three years of basic surgical training following graduation in Queen Mary Hospital—the teaching hospital of the University of Hong Kong—several unexpected opportunities led her into private practice in 2011. She started working both as a general practitioner and aesthetic doctor. However, since aesthetic medicine involves more procedures and allows healing with bare hands like surgery, she decided to fully focus on it after a couple of years.
Throughout her journey, different experiences—including technical and personal aspects gained from working for several centers—helped Katie build a solid foundation and tactful approach to deal with people from different backgrounds while developing and shaping her missionary principles and direction with time. Moreover, the sportsmanship she built when she was a competitive swimmer during her teenage years also trained up her tough character to face challenges, which persevered and persisted all along. Talking about her fascinating journey, Katie shares, “Sustaining this momentum to achieve more breakthroughs and to start a new chapter in my career, a clinic of my own is the way to mark this milestone.”
Sources of Inspiration
Katie regards her parents who shaped her leadership to be her role models. Since her childhood, Katie was taught to be herself and not follow or imitate others deliberately. Moreover, her parents arranged different extracurricular activities in broad-spectrum areas of sports, music, current affairs, etc. to keep her occupied even during the weekends.
Thus, with gradual development and military-like training of stringent time management and coherent problem-solving skills, Katie grew up in self-control. Being law professionals, her parents’ professionalism, work performance, attitude, and communication with colleagues, clients, motivated Katie to be a dedicated executive, and a leader in her pursuit to remunerate society as much as possible.
Alongside this, Katie’s drive towards patient satisfaction also keeps her motivated. “The most satisfying moment is good business performance. With patients complimenting on their treatment results, and overall improved wellbeing, their happy face is the greatest encouragement to me,” she affirms.
The Distinguishing Factors
Several factors differentiate Dr. Katie Clinic from the rest. These factors include,
Leading from the Front
Maintaining a balance between being an entrepreneur and a medical professional has always been challenging for Katie. However, she does not take too much pressure as she believes in her primary role as a doctor with the only aim to treat patients with a holistic approach. She tries her best to listen and understand patients’ concerns through first-visit consultations, and then tailor-makes treatment plans to fulfill their needs physically and psychologically.
Furthermore, although leaders are known to be responsible and dedicated to keeping every single promise, they must have the courage to bear all the subsequent consequences of failure as well. Being a diligent leader, Katie always hopes for the best as well as prepares for the worst. According to her, to become a powerful and influential leader, one must perform their routine duties carefully, well above the ideal standards. “Together with patient guidance, this feeling of sincerity and diligence in you will naturally inflict your team to fight in the same direction,” she asserts.
Sustaining during the Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a plethora of challenges and opportunities for Katie and her clinic. The clinic service primarily focuses on skin and appearance fine-tuning. The demand for these services surged during the pandemic—as many people started facing common acne and related dermatological problems due to the surgical face masks. Furthermore, traveling was banned before the advent of the COVID-19 vaccine, and work from home became a worldwide trend.
As a result, patients became more adherent to Katie’s suggested treatment intervals, yielding high rates of outcome satisfaction. However, the indefinite uncertainties brought by the pandemic lead many families with children to consider emigration plans. Some people also moved for career development or retirement. This affected the total patient pool of the clinic. Katie believes that her clinic reputation is the way to uphold stable operations in these unprecedented times. “Excellent doctor-patient relationships built over past years win word-of-mouth referrals far above any costly advertising and marketing campaigns,” she mentions.
Additionally, the pandemic severely impacted Hong Kong as numerous organizations had to wind up. Heeding the crisis, her clinic team is conscious to cherish the present. Katie believes conscious blessings in turn contribute to extra efforts and unity. She operates an all-time consistent administrative system, and personalized sincere touch of care from the start to the long run. Contrary to being worried about the industry prospects, Katie strives to shine on her pursued position in the years ahead.
A Continuous Learner
Despite the consequences of the pandemic, medicine development has not stopped. Particularly, in the healthcare field in Hong Kong, professionals are reviewed yearly via learning and diploma programs named Continuous Medical Education (CME). Alongside receiving passive information, Katie enjoys sharing and mutual exchanges with counterparts both locally and overseas. Last December 2020, she was honored to be invited as a guest speaker for Korea Derma 2020 online meeting on the topic “Skin Saving Pearls: Combating What’s Under and Above the Mask.” Katie mentions that educational events are useful in enlightening the newest technologies and updates to the clinic.
Amid the pandemic plunge, new companies from all walks of life have emerged as people have discovered business opportunities even in the recession. Lacking sound evidence, cosmetic services are often publicized to be comparatively very profitable and easy money. Katie adds, “This is nothing wrong, but truth is, it is handy to learn, but difficult to 100% master, not to mention its keen competition everywhere.” On the other hand, medicine can be labeled as an all-time necessity, regardless of the economic climate. Katie mentions that aesthetic medicine comprehensively combines the above, improving patients’ inner body health, and restoring outer confidence and self-presentation.
Breaking the Norms
In recent years, the aesthetic medicine industry has witnessed revolutionary changes. A decade ago, Asians were extremely conservative as Chinese traditions preserve in-borne inheritance from inside out. Any drastic non-medical artificial changes were considered disrespectful to their family ancestors. Today, driven by international media and progressive centennial social values, good maintenance on one’s pre-existing merits, while adding refinement on less advantaged areas, has become a worldwide accepted trend for everyone—regardless of gender and ethnicity.
Talking about the radical changes in recent years, particularly in terms of women’s inclusion, Katie states, “Beauty is not only for women, but is the most impressive quality that any woman can possess. Society is transforming in all ways—it is prevalent that women are taking up classically obliged responsibilities of men and vice versa.” According to her, the birth of “superwoman” physically, also comes with psychological turning points both at work and home and must be promptly dealt with simultaneously.
Life beyond the Cabin
Katie believes that aesthetic medicine is both science and art. She loves translating abstract science into a visible art piece. “Working this specialty into my hobby, coffee brewing can do the job of testing my chemical taste buds with latte art handcrafting skills,” she asserts. Katie finds as much joy in drinking the cup of coffee she made as in the production process, just in line with her profession—the excitement of patient satisfaction feels the same as working out from individual planning to step-wise fine-tuning.
Katie usually spends 12 hours at work every day and can rest only in the remaining time. She believes ample sleep is vital to the proper secretion of hormones, thus the optimal function of the entire body. Past-time interests allow her to relax and find a work-life balance. She does exercise—a popular way to relieve stress and train up cardiopulmonary capabilities altogether. Moreover, as Katie concentrated on aquatics for up to 10 years during childhood, she opts for non-water sports during her spare time to explore something new. Furthermore, she prefers music over reading books in her free time. “Song beat goes well with my sports engagement, lyrics give comfort and inspiration to soothe my soul,” she mentions.
Pearls of Wisdom
“My daily motto is to bring happiness to anyone around me. That’s why I am nicknamed ‘smiley Sesame Street’. I will keep up this goodwill, and make influence to our nation.”
“When there is a will, there is a way. Many do revive adversities safe and sound.”
“Regardless of the industry, a reliable sense of professionalism is a pre-requisite to becoming an influential leader.”
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