Beginning in 2012, Dentistry IQ has periodically offered its readers the chance to explore tips from practice management experts that cover all areas of the dental practice, from patient relationships to the staff to financial concerns to front office matters to marketing strategies.
Whatever your role in the dental practice — whether you're a dentist, hygienist, front office worker, or even a consultant — there's sure to be something in this collection of tips that will help you as you continually commit to your job and practice.
The two previous incarnations of the 100 Tips articles have been big hits on the Dentistry IQ website — the original version still ranks as one of the top-read articles on our website. This fall, the Dentistry IQ editors decided to gather another round of tips. Due to a slight decrease in the number of tips we received this time around, and to increase clickability, we've decided to post each category of tips as a separate article. The separate articles will make it easier for readers to read only the tips that benefit them, although we urge you to read as many as you can!
Here are four tips from practice management experts on "having a vision":
Don’t settle for things if they are not going according to your ideal vision. Review and tackle obstacles head-on. And don’t avoid making difficult decisions. If you are “stuck,” get help. Always be prepared to look for new opportunities, new advisors, or new guidance. Continue to align or readjust your course to keep progressing forward toward your ideal business plan (and life plan). As an airplane’s route is rarely a straight line to its destination, running a dental practice will have obstacles that knock you off course. Keep revisiting your vision often and get back on track. You will find the answers — only if you look for them.
Lydia Sosenko, D.D.S.
If you think that having a vision will put you onto the path of success, well, you’re only half right.
Sure, you could pay people to put one foot in front of the other. But that’s not the kind of team you want, nor is that true leadership. Being a leader means getting others to do things that they might not ordinarily think of doing on their own because you’ve put a higher purpose in front of them. Create a values-based vision. Refer to it in relation to patient and team interactions. Let others see you live it. That’s leadership!
Dr. Wayne D. Pernell
Don’t do it alone. Dentists are notorious for thinking they can do it themselves, and they often miss out on reaching the heights they could if they only had the right consultants, coaches, and mentors. A consultant will tell you what to do (you need one early in your career). A coach will ask you the right questions (You need one as soon as you are finished with the consultant). A mentor is a confidant who has walked the path you are on (if you are dentist this is a dentist – he/she may do some of the same things the consultant and/or the coach do – you need this one forever).
Gary M. DeWood, DDS, MS
Listen. Distinguish your practice as the place where people listen. A frequent patient complaint is that healthcare providers don’t take time to hear them. Patients view the listening health professional as more caring, respectful, patient, empathetic, and competent compared with those who don’t listen. Learn your patients’ views before launching into your spiel so that your recommendations are in tune with their priorities. Challenge the entire staff to allow patients two minutes for their opening statements, whether they’re checking in for an appointment or explaining their concerns in an operatory.
Repeat the mantra “ALF”: Always Listen First.
Toni S. Adams, RDH, MA