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I truly believe that there is no real learning without application. You have to act. The typical ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, fire isn’t good enough. Reality looks like this:

Listening is not hearing
Hearing is not knowing
Knowing is not understanding
Understanding is not believing
Believing is not doing (acting on the new information)

You don’t actually accomplish anything until you “do” or “act”. Each of these words describe the process for anyone to embrace action. Listening and then actually hearing leads to knowing, but you must understand. Then we must believe before we act. I want to spend a few weeks helping you get to the actions that will insure your future success in Dentistry.

We have all gone to a continuing education seminar, read an article, a book, or listened to a Podcast. We took copious notes but sadly never applied what we should have learned. Over the next few weeks I will give an example of real situations in everyone’s dental practice and how you must act to correct it. With all of the challenges we face in a very vulnerable profession, it is important that you act quickly. I would like to take this segment to define “why” we need to act.

Today we have:
• Fewer new patients to go around.
• Increased competition from a larger population of dentists.
• Patients rejecting more elective procedures.
• More marketing in almost any location.
• The ongoing high cost of new technology.
• More debt from both student loans and established dentists putting dentistry in a financial crisis.
• Americans spending less on Dentistry than 10 years ago.
• A complete change in the dental climate/economy and need for business expertise.
• Multiple doctor offices growing 20% per year while Solo practices are decreasing 7% per year.
• “One stop shopping” mentality that is and will rule the day with better hours and a wider range of services treating a wider range of ages while embracing change and consumerism.
• Patients continuing to seek out the very best dentistry at the very best price they can find. The educated consumer will always consider price.

Let me put this in black and white and make a prediction about Dentistry in general.

The dentists that are most invested in the old solo practice model will be the last to change or adapt. This means that mainstream dental practices are at greatest risk in the new dental economy we find ourselves in. Action squarely puts the responsibility on you. This accountability means answering for your actions and results. You need to own your performance every day regardless of the noise that might surround that performance. The bottom line is that accountability means letting your actions rise above your excuses. When you lose your excuses, you will find your results.

You need to answer these questions before you begin to act.

1. Where are you now?
2. Where do you want to be?
3. Is there any person on your team that is mediocre and if so why are they still there?
4. Is there any staff member that you cannot fire?
5. Is succeeding important enough for you to embrace change?
6. What are you willing to do?
7. What are you not willing to do?
8. Will you start today?

Every practice is a general dentistry practice that is working at capacity. You are where you want to be based on what you currently do, or you would change to affect a better result. Every practice has a “range” of patients it can inspire. The strength of your practice systems, as well as what you are willing to do, will ultimately determine the range of patients you will inspire. The only limits to your practice growth are those you have consciously or unconsciously imposed on yourself. This series of articles will tip up a mirror in front of your practice so that you can actually see your challenges.

Procrastination is overrated and action will win the day. That’s how you Summit.

Michael Abernathy, DDS

PS. I’ve stated this before, but it’s worth repeating here. I intentionally include my personal email address and cell phone number above, hoping that you will reach out to me if you have questions or concerns. That’s a positive action on your part. Will you do it today?