Is Success in Dentistry Like a Poker Game?
“You’ve got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” Kenny Rogers
In order to take your practice to a higher level of success, you must first be definite in your vision of success, not what you think it should be, but what you want it to be. The question I ask of all that attend, The Practice Start-up Program at McKenzie Management is, “Why are you here?” The number one answer is: “I want to build a successful practice where I enjoy coming to work every day and I want to retire and be able to survive on my investments.” Like building a good poker hand, it takes the necessary components to put the play in action. We all have some kind of idea of what it means to be successful. You need to write it down and then get a plan of action.
My inspiration for this article comes from the book Poker for Dummies, by Harroch and Krieger. “Bookstores are filled with self-help books. Seminars galore promise to teach you how to be a winner in business, in love, and in your personal life. Some of the same principles can make you a winner at the poker table.” And the same can make you a success in the dental office. Sometimes I have to get my clients to “think outside the box” to get the ideas flowing. The ten keys for a successful poker game can also be the keys for success of a dental practice. Here they are as follows:
- Be Aware of Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Find your passion in dentistry and build on it and create your own niche. Get out and let people know whom you are and what you want to create for the community. If you are introverted and have difficulty presenting treatment then take some courses in public speaking or join Toastmaster’s International. Just as in poker, you play your best game in your own comfort zone.
- Act Responsibly.
Be accountable for the results you achieve or don’t achieve. It is not the responsibility of anyone but you the dentist, the CEO. Luck is a factor in the game at first, but in the long run it is skill and determination.
You need to think about the business of dentistry. Keep up on the latest technology and how you may improve your “game.”
- Have a Plan.
Do you have a written business plan? Have you set short term and long-term goals? Have you thought about retirement and creating it now? What kind of practice do you want? Multiple treatment rooms, associates, or a smaller set-up in a solo practice.
- Set Deadlines.
You need to set timelines on what you wish to achieve. If you are having difficulty getting the goals met, it may be time to get help from other dental professionals such as McKenzie Management. Many doctors plod along for years just breaking even and never fully realize the success that could have been theirs.
- Be Realistic.
Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting a goal that is not tangible. Don’t indulge in idle fantasy or spend a lot of time comparing yourself to your peers or the practice down the street. Get the information based on the reality of your location and the kind of dentistry that you want to do and start-practicing goal centered dentistry.
- Expect Difficulties.
“I never promised you a rose garden.” You will experience ups and downs and how you cope with them or your “attitude” in the matter will determine whether you have a positive or negative outcome. I know a dentist that has more stress on a good productive day than a day full of exams. Why? Because he has a mind set that a busy day “has to be hard”. Coaching would be good at this point in his career.
- Build on Small Accomplishments.
Celebrate your accomplishments as they happen. Give yourself and your staff the rewards that they deserve. Keeping people motivated and feeling good about their work is important to creating the dream practice.
Don’t get derailed from your purpose and goals that you have in your plan. You must sustain. Each time you reach one of your goals, savor the moment and then reach for the next. Try visualizing yourself in the practice of your dreams. What does it look like? Start picturing yourself there.
- Have Fun.
Of course you have to be serious about delivering dentistry in a controlled environment but nobody said you couldn’t enjoy it. Get to know the fun side of your staff and your patients. Small talk is good for morale and the patients will get to know you as a real person.
“Look inward, look outward, set goals and deal with inevitable setbacks, show up, have fun and succeed.
Join us at McKenzie Management for the Practice Start-up Program. If you are just starting a new practice or are moving to an existing one, at the beginning is the time to get it right.
For more information on McKenzie's Practice Start Up Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org,
call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our web-site at http://www.mckenziemgmt.com/.
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