The Most Powerful Question in Organizational Dietetics

Scott Littlefield MS, CN, CISSN

One question I ask nutrition professionals when they aren’t paid directly by their athletes: if you divided your salary up among your athletes, how many would use that money to pay you for your services?



Let’s take a program with five hundred athletes and two dietitians charged with optimizing athlete performance and health through nutrition. Each athlete gets $250 to $350 of your salary this year and can choose to pay you for the services you currently provide or use the money for something or someone else. Do at least 8 out of 10 athletes pay you? If not, you are either not providing sufficient value to them or are not effectively communicating your value.

I don’t ask this question to be an a$$hole. While uncomfortable, it starts a value-centric conversation that reminds us of our mission and spurs introspection, value-based (vs. task-based) thinking, adjustment of priorities, better results, more appreciation from athletes and program staff, and greater income for the dietitian. It’s a question that I ask myself constantly when contracted by organizations to support their athletic programs.

This is also a great question to ask before going into private/cash practice where you will no longer have a client-base that is effectively both given to you and required to pay you. If individuals don’t see strong results, they will not continue to pay you nor refer others to you… a powerful indicator of success that is missed outside of private practice.

How can you increase the number of athletes that would pay you? What do you need to do more of or less of or improve upon or get better at? How can you achieve more impactful results and improve awareness of those results?

Fuelogics is here to help!

Scott Littlefield MS, CN, CISSN

Scott co-owns a private practice - ViTL Nutrition - where he works one-on-one with athletes as well as with programs from high school to professional levels across the country. He is a founding member of Fuelogics. These days you'll likely find him testing the boundaries of strength, size, and the mile-run or the limits of human taco consumption.

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