5.10.13 Issue #583 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Gene St. Louis
VP Practice Solutions
McKenzie Management
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4 Steps to Focus
By Gene St. Louis

As a dentist, you simply have to do it all - the marketing, the managing, the hiring, the firing. Oh, and don’t forget to provide excellent dentistry too. Is it any wonder that you are overwhelmed and just might lose your focus? Like the effects of stress on the body, the effects of stress on the business affect the overall health and well-being of the practice - resulting in lower production, staff headaches, and high overhead.

What causes those distractions that lead to losing focus? Maybe it’s an inefficient schedule, an unproductive patient routine, or an inability to delegate. All of them contribute to side-effects such as lost cases, missed opportunities, and decreased productivity. When your barometer for success is simply “busy” then you merely see the dots on the page, but not the complete picture. Your objective becomes survival rather than success, and broader practice goals are a vague and distant dream.

So exactly how do you exit this hamster wheel of perpetual motion? It requires commitment. Too often it’s easier to simply do what you’ve always done, and continue to get the same lackluster results. Instead, take a step back and ask yourself: Am I actively setting and achieving goals that enable me to move my practice forward? When was the last time I felt focused? Next, take a few key steps to establish a clear focus and specific direction in your practice.

#1 Spell Out Your Priorities
For example, does “Jane” your front desk employee understand that her #1 priority is to fill those holes that have crept into the schedule? Or is she too “busy” with other tasks and not focused on the main objective: getting patients in the chair? Individuals need direction and a basic understanding of how their day-to-day job priorities fit into the practice’s overall goals, which leads me to #2.

#2 Establish Overall Practice Goals
It is said that some two-thirds of employees do not know their employers’ goals or business philosophy. Understanding and focusing on practice goals enable staff time and energies to be maximized each day. Staff members who are able to see the relationship between their roles and practice goals are much more effective and far more motivated to succeed than those who feel they are just another cog in the wheel. 

Goals create a tangible measure of progress within your practice and make opportunities to celebrate a job well done with your team. It’s important to be realistic with what you’d like to achieve, but challenge yourself and your staff to reach for something attainable. It can be something concrete such as instituting a well-defined system to all but eliminate cancellations and no-shows, or something more abstract, like improving overall customer service, measured by a quick patient survey.

#3 Create Well-Defined Roles
When your employees understand their roles as well as the roles of others, communication happens more smoothly. Less time is wasted as messages travel to and from the correct personnel. Think of your staff as a baseball team: each player has a certain specialty and is held accountable for that role. Find those excellent qualities in each person and use them to the team’s advantage. Encourage ongoing discussion, feedback, and problem solving from everyone. In the end, the whole team is working toward the same goal - getting patients in, out, and coming back. Those satisfied patients reap the benefits of well-defined roles and information that moves efficiently to make their visit pass seamlessly.

#4 The Big Picture
Remember the big picture, not merely the dots on the page. It’s easy to know what you do, but it’s sometimes hard to remember why you do it. Patients come to your practice because they trust and value the services you offer. They put their dental health in your hands. Efficient business systems ensure that you can focus on consistently delivering the very best care for your patients.

Finally, keep your goals in sight. Losing focus is one of the easiest ways to fall into the downward spiral of missed opportunities, lost patients, and an overall unhappy working environment. Never forget that your team looks to you for vision, goals, and a clear focus.

If you would like to evaluate your practice to see if you are on focus and view an industry comparison, call (877) 777-6151 and mention this article. It is a complementary gift.

Interested in speaking to Gene about your practice concerns? Email gene@mckenziemgmt.com

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