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Everyone Expects To Improve

Not one dentist I ever met crossed that graduating stage to receive their dental diploma hoping to become average. Yet, most do end up having an average dental practice. I think everyone expects to improve. So what do you tell someone that never expected to be average and always expected to improve, that their practice, finances, and life are not what they thought they would be. You’d think they would have already figured this out, but few doctors have the situational awareness and persistence to embrace change and alter their current course.

John Gardner said it best:  “Most organizations have developed a functional blindness to their own defects. They are not suffering because they cannot resolve their problems but because they cannot see their problems.”

There is a cause and effect for everything. If you are not growing, there is a reason. I guess the trick is that we have to overcome the status quo and change to see a different result. Which is more painful? Staying where you are and never reaching your potential, or striving to make the changes that will alter your future and the average results you are getting.

There is a myth that profitable practices, with lots of new patients, great systems, and long-term, dedicated staff members are either too much work or or too much trouble. Or both. The truth is that it takes less time to lead and manage a Super General Dental Practice than it does an average dental practice. There is less stress, greater profit, and a brighter future to those willing to make the effort to change. No matter what goal you strive for, we expect with time we can lift more, run farther, and learn more. They say practice makes perfect, but that is false. Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect. If you are waiting for things to improve, you have a long wait without taking the risk and investing the effort of making the changes that guarantee that you will reach your goals.

One of the tricks in any worthy endeavor is to use a “logic path/loop”.

  1. Sit down and list all of the facts. An example would be: The current new patient numbers, referral numbers, production by provider, overhead categories and percentages, overhead and debt, where you want to go and what you will need to get there. Just a frank, unblemished look at the real situation.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. Make sure you create goals and word pictures that will describe where you want to end up. Do it in color and vivid detail. The better you can see the end, the easier it is to position your goals and actions to deliver that result.
  3. Keep it simple. I see too many doctors trying to justify their shortcomings by making the journey way too complicated. I had one doctor that was running 3 or 4 different software programs to track numbers that no one ever looked at. In fact, just about any current dental software would have tracked the same numbers without the confusion or cost of these additional spreadsheets. Sometimes too much information is a distraction, not a strategy. This is an illusion that plays to our weaknesses. How are you going to know what is important?
  4. Apply the knowledge you have. Many of us are addicted to seminars, books, and CE courses that we never apply. Great information by itself is worthless without application. Keep in mind that there is no learning without application.
  5. Forget the Toys. Equipment and the latest toys will not a great practice make. Technology is a multiplier if and only if you already have a successful strategy and practice. Reverse this and you have just one more financial anchor to overcome.


Last week I offered to take a look at anyone’s practice that would contact me. This one effort on your part might be the spark that reignites your engagement in your practice. I can help you put a check mark by each of the above 5 areas in about an hour over the phone. Just email me and I will send a short request for some numbers and then we can set up a time to talk. If you can check off each of these 5 areas, you are on your way to Summit.


Michael Abernathy, DDS
972-523-4660 cell
[email protected]