7.22.11 Issue #489 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

10 Point Plan for Practice Success
by Sally McKenzie CEO

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For every millionaire business owner, for every superstar employee, for every blockbuster boss, success usually comes down to a couple of fundamental strategies that are best summed up with three words - commitment, focus, and action. The concepts seem simple enough on their face; it’s consistently putting them into practice that presents the greatest challenge. For those who struggle with turning the dream into reality, I share my 10 Point Plan for Practice Success.

Point #1: Define Your Idea of Success
Establish goals, implement your strategy, evaluate the outcomes, and adjust as necessary. This is how successful people become successful. From the most routine task to the most complex objective there is a defined goal, a plan for achieving it, and a means to assess what worked and what didn’t. Ask the hard questions and don’t look for easy answers. Be honest with yourself and seriously consider how well the strategy is working. Just because you have a goal and a well-defined plan of action doesn’t mean that it will yield the results you want and expect. Be open, willing, and ready to adjust as needed.

Point #2: Play to Win - New Patients and Those That Are On the Fence
Your practice is competing with any number of dental offices in your community. What sets yours apart? Why should patients choose your practice over the one around the corner? Why should existing patients come back? What are you doing to make them feel special? You are replaceable… unless you and your team create an environment in which patients don’t even consider going somewhere else. It’s profoundly simple, but too often teams are too lazy or don’t care enough to do so. What does it take? A few fundamentals: A cohesive team and a welcoming environment where patients feel appreciated, a staff that is genuinely friendly and helpful, excellent dentistry, and superior service. Each can be achieved with clearly defined practice management systems.

Point #3: Yes People Are a “No-No”
If your staff do not question you, disagree with you, or offer differing opinions at least on occasion, you are surrounded by “yes” men and women who are afraid to comment on the emperor’s new clothes, which will eventually leave you standing naked and alone. If there is nary a thread of dissent in your ranks today, the seeds of trouble are likely being sewn. You have possibly created a culture of fear, where those who question you or bring up new or different ideas are summarily shot down and probably publicly humiliated. Or you have a crew of employees who show up and don’t really care - another major problem - or you have a team of people who are too much alike and cannot see different perspectives. This makes the workday go smoothly, but it’s not necessarily good for advancing the practice in new areas.

Point #4:  Embrace the Thorny Challenges
The most difficult and painful experiences are the pathway to the greatest opportunities. Case in point: The unhappy patient, who gives you an earful of everything you never wanted to hear and would have preferred not to know, has done you a huge favor. The moment is painful. The reflection on what they tell you is difficult to bear. But if you embrace the experience and are willing to look at how the practice can be bettered because of it, you will make huge strides. The hurdles, challenges, and difficulties - be they with staff, patients, or finances - are most likely an indication that your practice systems are not functioning properly. When they are, you will experience a level of success and professional satisfaction that you never thought “work” could offer.

Point #5: Don’t Accept Status Quo
The words “We’ve always done it this way” should be used rarely and to refer to such things as “We’ve always taken steps to ensure the highest level of patient safety and satisfaction.” But if those words are used as a shield to avoid necessary growth and change among the team and within the practice, they create a huge cultural barrier to practice improvement.

Next week, the remaining Top 5 Points to Practice Success.

Want more of me? Click here to visit my blog, The Lighter Side, for more Dental Practice Management info.

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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