Practice Distractions Waste Time and Money
We are still months out from the presidential elections, but I have to ask the question: when exactly are the campaigns going to start focusing on the issues? A multitude of extraneous topics continue to fill the news hours and Internet sites. How many Cadillacs does this candidate have, birth control pills or not, at this writing the so-called political strategists are debating the “Mommy Wars.” Really? Weren’t those already fought years ago? And just how exactly does any of this address the problems and move the country forward? Most are silly distractions rather than the real issues - in my opinion. Not to push any political buttons here, but it is interesting how all of this election year nonsense reminds me of the dentist office.
Rather than focusing on the real issues, the real problems, and the things that can really make a difference for the practice, there's the drama. There's the lack of attention to priorities. There's the inability to focus on the goals and establish a plan to reach those goals.
Perhaps you too should view 2012 as your own election year. In your campaign, you elect the leader/coach your practice needs. You elect to establish/adopt systems that derail the drama and contain the conflict that spawns it. You elect to establish the goals and you embrace and set forth a plan in which you and your employees focus your efforts on achieving those goals. You and your team elect a coach to examine the systems and establish a plan and a strategy to ensure that each is a winner for the prosperity of the practice. Now let's consider your election platform, starting with leadership, because no one gets elected to anything without this skill.
What is your vision for your practice? If you don't have one, it's time to give careful thought to the direction you want your business to go in the next 2-5 years. Then share this with your team. Together with your coach you will develop the strategies and strengthen the systems that will enable you to realize your vision. For example, let's say your vision is to grow the practice by 20% during the next 12 months. You need a staff that is ready, willing, and able to embrace that vision. But embracing the idea doesn't make it reality. You and your team need to have a plan of action to achieve it. Your coach will look at each system in your practice that affects new patient numbers from training the business team, to marketing, scheduling, and treatment financing.
Next, how’s your communication? You don’t have to be “the great communicator” Ronald Reagan, but you cannot bury your head in the dentistry and hope that everyone else just does what they are supposed to do. You must express clearly what it is you expect of your team. Do not assume that they know what you want. If you do, I guarantee you will be disappointed. It is said that some two-thirds of employees do not know their employers’ goals or business philosophy. Open the lines of communication with your team. Encourage ongoing discussion, feedback, and problem solving from everyone.
Deal with the elephants - and the donkeys - in the middle of the room. In other words, allow the coach to help you discuss the uncomfortable topics. Why are new patient numbers down? How can the practice improve treatment acceptance? Who are the real players on your team and whom are you merely tolerating? What systems are not delivering the results they should and why? What/who needs to be changed, adjusted, and improved? Remember that being the leader doesn't require you to have all the answers - but it does require that you take action and get help. Ask me - I can deliver the BEST in coaches!
Next week: and you thought the political campaigns were nasty.
For more information on this topic and for additional Dental Practice Management info, visit my blog: The Lighter Side.
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