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Are You Indispensable to Your Dental Practice?

Are You Indispensable to Your Dental Practice?

Are You Indispensable to Your Dental Practice?

Change is inevitable and expected – it really is.  Yet how often do we fight change at the office, when we are the ones that need to adapt?

Failure to change can equal extinction.  For example, twelve years ago on a weekend, you could easily find me on a Friday night, standing in line at my neighborhood Blockbuster.  Then came Redbox and streaming videos, changing everything we knew about watching movies at home. Although Blockbuster tried to update their business model, they weren’t able to stay ahead of the changes in the industry.  Now if I entered that same building on a Friday night, I would be standing in line at the Men’s Warehouse.

The dental industry is constantly changing as well.  Are you practicing the same way you did 10 or 20 years ago?  Insurance participation, sleep apnea appliances, submitting to medical insurance, and changing CDT codes are just a few ways that dental team members are flexing to keep up and stay current.  As a team member, this is an excellent opportunity to make yourself indispensable to your practice.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.”  To move forward in life and business, adapting to change is essential.  However, if you can be the catalyst to make change happen, that is a skill that is very valuable to any practice.  Consider how your practice would be different if it successfully implemented everything that was planned?  It would be a game changer. 

Listed below are the 6 elements, that when implemented, can be a game changer for you and your practice.

Implementing change requires having a leader who is willing to take charge and lead by example.  “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work.  Your team is following, lead with your actions as well as verbally.

It is not enough to say, “We need to increase collections by $10K per month.”  There needs to be a plan articulated to show how you are going to reach the goal.  When a plan does not accompany the goal, it is deflating to your team as it feels like a dangling carrot that can’t be reached.

A timeline is important to understand a realistic finish date. The best way to accomplish this is to schedule each task on a calendar – because dental teams understand the value of an appointment.

Your team needs to understand your goals and vision. They will help you reach your goals, when they know what they are. Once this is understood, everyone can be on the same page and work together to get to the finish line.

Your team not only needs to understand the “what” but also the “why”.  Why is the goal important?  This will help them make decisions conducive to reaching your goals.  A good rule of thumb is, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not important at all and 10 being extremely important, if the initiative is not an 8 or higher it’s not worth putting in front of your team.  Introducing initiatives but not seeing them through will train your team to not take new changes too seriously because they will probably be dropped anyway.

It is critical to have open communication and accountability check points once the initiative has begun.  Due to many different patient and team member schedules, communication in a dental practice is challenging.  If regular team meetings are not scheduled, plan an alternate method of communicating.  Ideally, it would be one that is easily accessible for everyone.  Otherwise, questions and concerns will often stop the initiative.  Holding one another accountable to due dates and tasks is essential as well.  When one team member does not complete what they need to by the date assigned and it is not addressed, it sends the message to the team that it is not important.

By implementing the above elements in your future initiatives, you will increase your success and, if things go off track, find it easier to identify why.   By motivating your team and giving them the tools that they need to be successful, you will reach your goals.  A team member that is instrumental in achieving practice goals is indeed indispensable.

Jennifer Schultz

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