Have You Ever Uttered these Words?
“I need a vacation!” “There isn’t enough time in the day”. “I need to be more efficient and execute better”. “I’d like to add a second hygienist or bring on an associate” “I can’t fit all these procedures and protocols into that 1 hr. hygiene appointment?” “There are just too many meetings and events to promote”, “I am on the road and away from home more than I’d like to be” “I need to earn more, work less and have less stress”. “There’s got to be a better way”.
We all have challenges in the work place. Owners, managers and workers all have their share of responsibility and challenges. The key is to identify them and work towards eliminating or improving them. Employees are not exempt and will actually feel empowered when they work with management and their colleagues towards this goal.
Life and career can be at odds when both demand your time and emotional/intellectual engagement. This adds additional pressure to the monumental work load you already have. Compound that with the need to be present for milestones and events in your personal life and you now have an even busier schedule. It’s a balancing act. When you are comfortable with your effort and you’re managing your obligations (personal and professional), you will find inner peace.
Most people know what has to be done to improve their business and personal lives. Getting started is their problem. Procrastination, failure to accept responsibility and lack of accountability is why most people are stuck. It is easier to complain (become part of the problem), than to act or become part of the solution. Many workers refuse to step up to the plate because they don’t want the additional responsibility or the ROI is incongruent to their effort.
Owners and managers would do well to target their limited resources to modernize work flow and simplify processes. This will enhance employee satisfaction and will go a long way toward improving the work environment and team harmony. Dating back to the industrialization of America – the Hawthorne Effect is in full force. The Hawthorne Effect is a psychological phenomenon that produces an improvement in human behavior or performance as a result of increased attention from superiors, clients or colleagues. In some cases, a change in the work environment can lead to significant productivity gains.
Some dentists lack the focus and expertise to tackle their enigmas and are reluctant to ask for help. Hygienists with great clinical skills may lack the operational expertise or systems to incorporate those critical, clinical activities into their hourly appointment. Many dedicated office managers lack the operational knowledge or don’t know how to fully utilize their practice management software. *In the end, everyone in the organization would benefit from continuing education and advanced training.
The Benefit of Likeminded People and the Law of Attraction
One of the advantages of age and experience is that you learn to believe in the world of attraction. As you get older, you have a greater sense about what’s important and interesting to you. Are you cognizant about the people you work with and the environment you operate in?
Don’t be a victim of circumstance. Be selective about who you work with. Make sure your business partners are concerned about your priorities. Let others help you become more efficient, generate revenue and reduce overhead.
These days, I take complete responsibility for my work, relationships and happiness. While there are circumstances outside of my control, I purposefully pay attention to those that are in my control. I also challenge myself to be amongst the more progressive people in my age group. This requires a fair amount of humility and honesty. I also accept responsibility for lackluster performance from team members or vendor partners when customer’s expectations are not met. Most of these events uncover teaching moments and are opportunities to improve collaboration, systems and processes. Lastly, I make investments in my business and personal relationships which creates a nurturing environment and allows for forgiveness. Most of us are a work in progress as are the relationships we forge.
Thriving in the world of attraction with constant change requires a positive attitude. You must believe in the world of abundance. You have to believe that opportunity is all around you. When you operate in a healthy, curious and accountable framework, you are more likely to make good, rational decisions. If you believe opportunity is scarce then you may find yourself making decisions based on fear (false evidence appearing real) and emotion. This leads to mediocrity and creates a cycle of disillusionment.
With the right attitude and a healthy level of humility, great leaders get help and routinely monitor performance. This oversight and analysis is critical to accurately, assessing your business activity (key performance/production indicators). Since we control who we socialize, network and work with then we must take responsibility for the world we have constructed.
I am a work in progress. I strive to create order amongst the complexity of running a multi-million dollar business. I serve my clients and support my company’s initiatives but I am at the helm of my territory. While I miss an occasional sales run and can take too long to complete some tasks or administration, I am passionate about my work. My clients, coworkers and vendor partners know I care about them and they support my efforts. It is a two way street and I am here to manage, collaborate and serve them all. It is this positive attitude that helps me to achieve the goals I have set for myself.
In a way, this positive approach is self-fulfilling and helps to create a nurturing network and momentum. This is why I have drifted towards consulting and management activities over the past decade. While my competitors seek a sale (transaction oriented), I seek to help my clients grow with unique opportunities and ideas. In exchange, my clients buy their merchandise, equipment and technology from me.
Life, business and intimate relationships are dynamic. There will be challenges along the way, but those committed to continuous improvement and long term relationships achieve a greater level of satisfaction and loyalty.
If you are truly serious about changing your trajectory, share your vision with your advisors and mentors. Consider a professional coach. There are several practice management companies with a proven track record that would love to work with you. Practice owners with aspirations of growth, financial security and less stress should make an investment in their business. I can connect you with several proven consultants that would be happy to have a complimentary discovery conversation with you.
It is not unusual for these consultants to grow a practice by more than 30% in collections during the first 12-18 months of engagement. An efficiently run business delivers many benefits to the owner dentist. In most cases, the practice achieves greater profitability, a better procedure mix and improves their operational efficiency. This allows the organizations to concentrate on other initiatives, like; marketing, customer service, going paperless, personal development and more vacationsJ.
*When you produce more dentistry in the same facility with the same amount of employee’s, life is good!
Nutrition for Your Brain and Attitude
The people you associate with and the media you watch/listen to has a tremendous impact on your thoughts. One way to become more dynamic is to expose yourself to the right stimuli and information sources. Try to carve out a little time for reading. Make sure to read for pleasure and stay current on world news and industry trends. Exercise your brain as well as your body. Here are a few books I have read in the last few months.
SCRUM by Jeff Sutherland. This book was given to me by an old friend who happens to be a serial dental entrepreneur. This book has taught me to think a little differently about executing and managing a project. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to streamline projects and improve work flow in their organization.
How To Build the Dental Practice Of Your Dreams (without killing yourself) in less than 60 days
This book was written by my friend Dr. David Moffet. David has made millions of dollars by creating the ultimate patient experience. There are great nuggets on how to incorporate world class customer service into your practice and develop fulfilling Dr. /Patient relationships that yield great outcomes.
The Ultimate Guide to doubling and tripling your practice production by Wendy Briggs, RDH and John Meis, DDS, FAGD, DICOI.
This book is simply a must read for any practice owner. This book challenges conventional dental wisdom. Learn how to implement, execute and analyze your operation according to new standards of care, customer service and operational efficiency. I am a close friend and fan of Wendy Briggs. Her approach to hygiene and office management can be transformational and very rewarding for those that adopt her methodology!
DentalCodeology by Patti DiGangi, Christine Taxin and Jan Palmer. These passionate dental professionals have written an easy to read book with insight and perspective on compliance and coding procedures.
We are half way through 2015. There is plenty of time to make this your best year yet! If we don’t act now – when will we?