by Debra Isman
Does it ever feel like the practice is running you and not the other way around? Have you ever felt like you were pulling (and pushing) your staff to do what to you seems so obvious? Is the “Ideal” picture you have of your practice disconnected from the reality of day-to-day office life? Does your staff even know what the “Ideal” picture for your practice looks like?
Your education and training make you an expert in the field of dentistry. Most of you spend countless hours dedicated to continuously improving your clinical delivery skills in order to provide exceptional care for your patients.
Yet, when it comes to continuously improving your business skills – the ones necessary to successfully operate your practice/business – sometimes this is done with much less purpose. When business challenges involving staff, collections, negative financial results, problems with insurance providers, etc. arise, your leadership and business management skills may be rusty.
To take your practice to the next level you need to know what parts of your practice are healthy and what areas of the practice need some time and attention. Just like developing a treatment plan for your patients, your practice needs a treatment plan as well! When you have a Strategic Practice Plan you will experience greater productivity and profitability, a high level of patient care and a supportive, positive work environment where everyone is working toward the same goals.
BEGIN WITH THE IDEAL IN MIND
Enter your practice GPS destination.
Just like putting your destination into your GPS before you drive off, take some time to define your picture of a well-defined future for your practice. This is how you want your practice to ideally function.
Assess your current practice profile.
Using your Ideal Practice Model, diagnose what areas of the practice are consistent with getting to your destination or where you may be off track. Where are you not consistent with your Core Values? Which systems are ineffective or
inefficient? Does your team engage in authentic conversation and problem solving or do they just ignore issues?
Develop a growth strategy.
Develop realistic and specific goals to help you address any areas that need to be reviewed, revised or refreshed. Prioritizing is key. Choose one or two things to work on at one time that would help your patients, your practice and your team.
Implement your growth strategy.
Make the commitment to turn your strategy into reality. Have a written plan and set clear expectations of WHO is to do WHAT and BY WHEN.
Monitor your plan.
As the leader/owner you must “inspect what you expect”. Sit down each month to review the goal/objective and what was actually accomplished. Tweak the plan as you see results. Be sure to celebrate when you start to see positive change!
Go beyond wishing things were different in your practice. It is time to put more purpose into the operation of your dental business and guidance of your dental team. By choosing to follow your practice GPS, you’ll be less likely to get lost on your road to success.
Debra Isman is an independent practice development specialist based in Houston.She helps practices build strong teams who share the doctor’s vision, who implement systems to improve efficiency and who increase production and collections while providing an exceptional experience for their patients. She can be reached at (713) 522-6670, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.idealdentalpractice.com.