7.9.10 Issue #435 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Help! Things Have Got to Change!
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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You want to change your practice. You know that you need to change the culture, the systems, perhaps even the staff. You have the desire, but desire alone doesn’t prepare you for the climb when you are standing at the base of what seems like Mt. Everest. Singlehandedly achieving real change in the dental practice can be a truly Herculean effort. Team dynamics, history, patients, practice culture and technology all play significant roles in the transformation efforts, and each can erect seemingly insurmountable barriers to achieving the goals unless outside help is brought in to effectively and constructively remove those barriers.

Some dentists can successfully direct true system and cultural change in the practice on their own. However, most don’t have the time, the energy, or the mental fortitude to push through when seemingly everyone else is pushing back. When the desire for change and the painful realities of achieving it are worlds apart, it’s time to call in the professionals. But how do you distinguish between those that can deliver results and those that can’t? 

Like dentists, there are excellent consultants, good consultants, and, unfortunately, bad consultants. Rather than lumping all practice management consultants in the same category, I suggest you conduct a simple evaluation.

Does the company or consultant you are considering come to you or must you and your team go to them? Certainly, it’s valuable for your team to go off-site for a team retreat and continuing education, but there is no substitute for what happens on-site, day-after-day in your practice. If you are trying to make major changes to critical systems, a consultant cannot make effective recommendations until s/he stands in your office, witnesses the challenges you face, understands your goals and vision, studies your practice data on-site, evaluates the demographics and psychographics of your community, and stands side-by-side with the team that makes or breaks your success.

Does the company have a track record of success? You want numbers, you want data, and you want references. The credible companies and consultants will not hesitate to share this information with you.

Can this company tailor its recommendations to address the specific needs and uniqueness of your practice? Perhaps yours is a specialty practice, or maybe you have certain economic challenges in your community. Possibly yours is an HMO office, or maybe your practice is in a rural setting. Certainly, there are management systems that every practice must implement - such as scheduling, collections, production, etc. But no two practices are exactly alike. You want a consulting company that has the experience and breadth of knowledge to address the uniqueness of your practice.

What type of follow-up will this company or consultant provide? Is this a once-and-done operation? They spend a day or a few hours with you, hand you a manual to follow, and send you off to implement the recommendations on your own? In most cases, that’s a strategy for failure. The doctor cannot make major changes in her/his practice singlehandedly.

Or, are the consultants on-site for as many days as the dentist would like. In some cases, we find it is as few as two, in many it is four, and oftentimes doctors request that the consultant be on site on a more continuous basis. But regardless of the number of onsite days, you have a partner walking through the change process with you and your team for a longer period of time. Ultimately, you want to work with a consulting firm that is prepared to provide individual attention and specific assistance to your practice over the long haul.

Give me a call today and learn how McKenzie Management can help you achieve real change before the end of the year.  877-777- 6151 Ext. 511.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com. Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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