THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE
Continuing the theme from last week, there are two additional things to consider.
First, this paradigm shift of “acceptance of change” has to be embraced by not just the doctor, but everyone. It is the “weakest link syndrome”: You will go no farther than the one individual on your team with the lowest commitment to your goal. That means that you cannot tolerate a mediocre staff member or lack of engagement by anyone. What you allow you encourage. Let one person drift away from a 100% commitment and you will always fail. The Gallup group did a survey of corporate America only to find that 67% of all employees are not only un-engaged in their jobs but are actively sabotaging your business. It’s painful to make the difficult decisions, but impossible to make the changes you need to make without them. You must get used to recognizing blockages and dealing with them quickly and decisively. Decide right now that nothing will stand in your way of making the changes that will alter your course to a new level of production and profitability: No system, or staff person, family member, or even yourself. Nothing will keep you from succeeding. This commitment must be an all or nothing attitude.
The second area we need to visit is the “perception of the need for change” by the doctor or owner of the practice. Each of us perceives “need” a little differently. Think about a quarterback and his passing prowess. During the heat of a game, he throws an interception losing the game. In retrospect he believes that his choice to make the throw to that receiver at that time was not a “poor decision”, it was poor “execution”. With this flawed thinking he will focus to improve his mechanics and technique rather than his flawed thinking. If this is the case, he may choose to make the same mistake again until he finally realizes it was a poor decision and not poor execution. He has the opportunity to learn and correct his mistakes or upon faulty analysis he will repeat them. Often the poor analysis and faulty thinking results in him being removed from the position and replaced with someone who gets better results. This is true in Dentistry as well. It is as if most dentists just can’t see the obvious, so they continue to take the wrong path with flawed actions finding they continue to get poor results. I wish I had a magic wand and could remove this over powering desire to think that you are going to get a different result while doing the same thing over and over again. What if I could induce amnesia in you, but it only affected your history and reasons for practicing the way you currently do? Back at work with this amnesia you would still have the skills of a gifted dentist but with no baggage. On that first day, with a clean slate, what would you choose to do, how would you decide to practice? With no history, would the obvious just leap out at you? Would you select a different path? Would you get a better result?
We need to somehow create in you a “habit of change”. An “if it ain’t broke, break it” type of attitude. We all change, and change will occur in one of three ways.
You choose to change. You are one of those rare individuals that structure your life in such a way as to never be satisfied with the status quo. You understand that it is impossible to coast. You are either improving or you’re losing ground. You make more correct decisions than incorrect ones. Even when you fail, you go at it again while making a course correction, and a new dedication to get it right next time. Take note here. This type of person does not feel like a temporary failure or blockage has anything to do with their self-image. They still believe they are good people with integrity and a great work ethic. Setbacks don’t mean you are a failure personally. Everyone struggles. In fact, an expert is often defined as an individual who has failed more times than anyone else in their chosen field of endeavor. You only fail if you don’t get up and go at it again. There is a great book written by John McGee called Man’s Search for Significance. Its premise is that Satan’s greatest lie is that your performance + other people’s opinions = your self-worth. Operate from this lie and you face a life time of disappointment and grief.
You are persuaded to change. This happens in one of two ways. Both ways arrive at a tipping point of action or response. Obviously, the speed of recognition and action determine the winners in life. The first is Logical persuasion. You or someone else presents a factual, logical progression of information that leaves only one sensible or possible conclusion: I need to change or I will suffer the consequences. It makes sense and any intelligent person would choose to go ahead and take the plunge. You then act. The second is Forced Persuasion: Bankruptcy, lack of patients, no production or profit, etc. A do or die situation in which you have to act or leave the profession. Believe it or not, we see a lot of these. Like it or not, it is the doctor’s fault. They chose the actions that created the resulting situation that they find themselves in.
Let me give you a few fatal assumptions that I hear every day.
- It will get better (It may not for you).
- It’s the poor economy (A lot of our clients are having the best month they ever had. In any economy or location you will find someone doing well).
- My circumstances are different (this is usually followed by how they are doing everything right).
- I need to be patient (never, never, never, say this. You need to do something different now.)
- Patients will come back soon (Are you kidding me? They will never come back. They found someone who takes their insurance, has consumer hours, charges reasonable fees, offers services that you don’t, cleans teeth on the first appointment, and they find ways to make their dentistry affordable).
These “false assumptions” are actually “limiting beliefs”. If you hold a limiting belief long enough, it becomes truth for you. Once it is truth, it holds you captive and prevents you from being able to see the real truth of your circumstances.
This is the point where I find most doctors and practices: Mediocre results over decades of practice creating layers of habits compensating for a lot of limiting beliefs. I guess I always thought (or hoped) that if I crafted a presentation with all of the answers, these offices would take the solutions and use them to better their situation. I truly want to save these practices from having to use trial and error to finally arrive at a predictable solution that yields consistent results. I have been wrong. The problem was, after almost four decades of doing seminars and books and articles, I find that only 3 to 5% of those offices will actually take the information and use it to optimize their practice. That means over 90% of those who have read, heard, and been shown the way, fail or choose not to take advantage of this opportunity. We can give you a plan, all the tools you need to make it work, decades of history to show it works all over the US, and you still struggle to implement. Why?
The “why” is the reason for the 180 Degree Dental Journey and mindset. It’s not your fault that the entire educational system has been designed to create a matrix that turns out dentists who, by their very nature, are ill suited to become successful in their chosen field. Think about it. You have to have the money, desire, and smarts to be successful in college. Only the students with the best grades get into graduate school, but success after dental school is based on an extroverted social personality that exudes caring and compassion along with being good with your hands. Dental schools today and in the past have failed miserably to pick the best candidates. They pick the candidates with the best grades. If the truth were known, probably most of the “C” students that were the social center of activities would do better at dentistry or any other consumer driven business than most of today’s graduates. Our selection process, along with the didactic teaching process, guarantees that you end up with a socially challenged doctor with a poor self-image, no business sense, a limited set of people skills and a dogged determination to not adapt or make changes. The super practices that you always read or hear about are the exception to the rule: The 1% that has the whole ball of wax. They get it and are engaged in embracing change in order to adapt to the constantly moving target of the consumer, and they are doing it well. The problem is, you only hear about the great ones. The other 99% of us are the silent majority. Here comes that limiting belief again. You begin to think that if Dental Economics writes about some super runway model turned exceptionally successful multi-million-dollar dentist that everybody is doing well except you. This is the “Brown Pasture” syndrome where you believe everybody else has it better than you. That is the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, I know most of those super doctors, and all of them struggle, too. Even Superman had his Kryptonite. Bottom line: We all struggle, we all fall short. The good ones get up and alter their effort and course when that happens. The rest of them languish in mediocrity for their entire career. I am here to tell you that regardless of where you have been, where you are, or where you would like to go, we have an answer for you and a strategy that will work.
We begin this week to restructure every system in your office with a 180 Degree Mindset. You will never look at your practice the same way again. For the first time your team and practice will evolve into a business capable of unlimited growth regardless of where you are, or where you’ve been. It’s a new day with answers. It’s not costing you a thing, no one will try to sell you anything, and you have nothing to lose but the time you spend in implementation. If this sounds like the path you want to commit to, allow me to list the first steps. Keep in mind that these first couple of things must be done in one weeks’ time. I need for you to start by:
- Go to www.zipwho.com and put in your office zip code and print off the demographics for your area.
- Give a copy of this article (Part 1 and Part 2) to each of your team members to read.
- Go to www.supergeneralpractice.com and download a copy of The Super General Dental Practice as well as having each member download a copy. We will refer you to some of the chapters along this journey.
- Find and print a copy of a year-to-date Profit & Loss Statement for 2021. You must have this by next week.
- CLICK HERE to download and fill out the Growth Analysis Spreadsheet: Delegate this to a front desk person and call if you have questions. It has three pages. Just open it and fill in all of page one, then click the second tab at the bottom of the page and fill in all of page two. NOTE: We are looking for the data from the last 12 months. Once the first two pages are filled in, you are done. The third page is automatically populated from the data you placed on the first two pages. Be sure and save it and print copies for yourself and each staff member.
We will be going over how to read each of these documents as well as how to interpret what they say, and how to fix the challenges that pop up from your numbers.
Michael Abernathy, DDS