As the Qualifications Executive at MGE, I not only ensure that clients (and their team members) can apply what they’ve learned, I’m also responsible for troubleshooting lack of application and implementation. With that in mind, I wanted to share what I’ve found to be the two most common “mistakes” made by the average dentist when attempting to improve their practice. I hope this helps and allows you to avoid a good share of the “speedbumps” you might hit on your path to expansion.
Before I get started, I do want to mention that MGE has an online training platform called DDS Success. You can learn many of the systems we teach here at MGE in the comfort of your own practice, which is great for those who can’t travel or for those who want to see what we’re all about before coming down to our Florida office. I highly recommend going to www.ddssuccess.com and scheduling a free demo so you can see what it looks like.
Alright, so let’s dive right in!
Mistake #1: “Fixing” Successful Actions
If your practice isn’t where you want it to be and you feel stressed and over-worked, it seems only natural that the first order of business is to: fix or change everything. I’ve known many dentists, I’m the son of a dentist and if there’s one thing I’d say most dentists have in common is that they are perfectionists. Now, this is not a bad thing, but in an attempt to improve, it can lead to trying to “fix” things that are actually working and successful!
(Related: Fixing a Broken Area of Your Business)
If you “fix” something that is already successful – by statistic or some other measurable metric – (whether you realize it’s successful or not), you may find that things become worse. Why? Simple – because you’re taking away or changing something that is working to one degree or another.
It may be something obvious such as an employee stops calling overdue patients as much as they used to – because the office wanted them to work on something else. Result? The hygiene schedule drops off. Or maybe you decide to change or tweak your marketing somehow – inadvertently dropping what has been your most fruitful source of new patients. You might also change something that isn’t as obvious, such as taking on a new employee and not training them properly, only to find later that they’re wreaking havoc due to lack of know-how!
In fact, if I meet with a client whose statistics are down, especially with no visible explanation, the first thing I ask them is, “Have you changed anything recently?” After a bit of digging, we inevitably find that they have.
In today’s world we constantly face barriers. “I can’t call this overdue patient a third time because he didn’t answer the other two times,” or “I don’t have enough new patients,” or “If only I had the perfect staff, then I could be successful,” etc. So, what do we try to do? We try to solve them, but we don’t always look at the big picture. This is why at times we change or get rid of those things that are successful.
(Related: 7 Steps to Well-Trained Staff!)
So, it’s important to look at the big picture. Sort of like chess. If you decide to move this piece, what will happen overall? A little move here can have bigger consequences later. On the positive side however, it’s not like chess where you can’t go back and change your move afterwards! In a dental practice, you can most always reverse a change. Go through your list of changes and see, “Oh yes, we stopped calling overdue and inactive patients to reactivate them. That’s why the hygiene schedule started to empty out. Let’s just start doing that again!” This is why you keep that changes list.
On our online training platform at www.ddssuccess.com, we provide tons of proven, successful systems to implement for every position in your office…BUT we preface our courses with the statement, “If you are already doing something that is working very successfully, then keep doing it! Don’t change it just because we told you to.” For instance, in our Scheduling Coordinator Training Course we give you nine ways to fill a last-minute hygiene opening, but if your Scheduling Coordinator is already filling every opening, then they should continue whatever they’re doing, incorporating any changes or “new ideas” with caution.
Mistake #2: Putting too much attention on the negatives
It’s been a very productive day, every patient you’ve seen has been happy with the care they received, and there haven’t been any last-minute cancellations. At the end of the day, you notice that a patient you saw last week posted a negative Google review. You forget all the success of the day and now you’re “all about” that negative review! So, the mistake here is focusing on that one negative even though the rest of the day was full of positives!
Constantly focusing on the negative things that happen will:
- Not make you feel very good,
- Not make your staff happy, which ruins the morale and atmosphere of your office,
- Can make it seem as though the practice is doing worse than it actually is and make you want to fix or change things unnecessarily – bringing us back to my first point above.
I know it’s hard to let go of the negatives; after all, they are the things that can catch us off guard and make us second-guess ourselves. But I highly urge you to do your best to let them go!
Sure, handle a negative review with a good response if you want (our COO Jeff Blumberg shares his tips on how to respond to a negative review here) and correct any legitimate issues in the office that created the bad review, but once that’s done, let it go and focus on the positive things that are happening on a daily basis. You and your staff will feel better and the morale of the office will most likely be higher!
Remember, look at the big picture when deciding what to change or fix and focus on the positives. I hope this helps, and again, I highly recommend scheduling a demo to see what DDS Success is like and how it can help your practice – it’s free of charge. Click here to schedule your demo! And if you really want to improve your ability as an executive and leader of your practice, contact us to ask about the MGE Power Program. If you have any questions for me, email me at JohnA@mgeonline.com!