10 Point Plan for Practice Success - Part 2
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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For some it seems that success comes naturally. I dare say those are the independently wealthy, the few who really don’t have to make the effort. For the rest of us, the overwhelming majority, success requires commitment, focus, and clear action - not just some of the time, but all of the time. Practice success is no different. This is part 2 of my 10 Point Plan for Practice Success. I shared Points 1-5 last week.
Point #6: Don’t Settle
It’s your vision and your leadership that will enable you to create your practice - not the hygienist’s, or the business assistant’s, or anyone else’s for that matter. What do you really want out of this career in dentistry? Knowing the answer to that is the cornerstone for every decision you make from here on out.
Point #7: Pay Attention
Pay attention to where you are going, not where you’ve been. No one is going to deny that the last few years have presented their share of challenges for virtually everyone. Rest assured that at any given point in anyone’s career, there will be difficult times. There are situations that knock you down, but it’s not just you, it’s your competitors as well. How you handle those challenges defines your success. Stop blaming the economy, the staff, the patients, this or that. Look in the mirror and take responsibility for your success. Then make the commitment to stay focused and develop a clear plan of action, which leads me to Point #8.
Point #8: Get Your Head Out Of the Sand
Solve the problems - stop ignoring the frustrations, the missed goals, the excuses. Lack of accountability in your ranks will sink your ship. I guarantee it. Take specific steps to ensure that everyone on your team is on the same page, namely yours, and knows exactly what you expect. This requires that you take a few key steps:
- Provide clear job descriptions to employees, so they know exactly what is expected of them.
- Train new employees, but don’t overwhelm them.
- Give employees some form of personnel policy manual. This document spells out the office code of conduct, dress code, policies regarding tardiness, overtime, sick leave, office policies and procedures. All employees deserve to know the rules of the game.
- Give ongoing direction and constructive feedback. Too many practices wait until there’s a problem or crisis before they give staff any feedback.
- Be specific. Don’t candy-coat the feedback and don’t beat around the bush. Tell employees what they’re doing well and what needs to be corrected.
- Know when to cut your losses. And that brings me to Point #9…
Point #9: Know When to Quit
Killing projects, parting with seldom-used or aging equipment, terminating partnerships, firing staff, even dismissing difficult patients for good - these are all things nobody enjoys doing. Yet, they’re critical in cutting yourself from the deadwood that can be holding you and your practice back. They will drain your resources, consume your time, clobber your productivity and stymie your success at every turn - unless you take responsibility and make the hard decisions to advance your goals and create the practice that you desire.
Point #10: Don’t Go It Alone
Running a practice presents a host of challenges. I readily acknowledge that sometimes these can feel overwhelming. But there are a multitude of resources available including local dental societies, other dentists, fellow small business owners, and qualified practice management consultants that can help you at various stages throughout your career. The frustrations and challenges are temporary, if you take steps to address them. I often say that suffering is optional. If you are not happy in your practice, you do have the power to change that - but you have to choose to make the commitment, focus your attention on achieving specific goals, and develop clear plan of action to get there. Give me a call at 877-777-6151 and we’ll begin the process right now.
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 email@example.com. Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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