Over the last two months, I have tried to give everyone some guidance on how to weather this climate of change in Dentistry. Every day I see the need to embrace change and adapt to various new situations we face now and will also face in the future. This point in time is a black swan event that will define your future. With all the challenges that this pandemic, as well as a long overdue financial recession pose, I still believe that this is a defining moment in each of your careers. In a year or two you will realize, as you look back on these days, that you had the opportunity to correct your course, change your practice and redefine your future. You will never see a time where you could have changed your culture, systems, overhead, and profits to the better by acting quickly and making the changes that you knew you needed to make. You will see in hindsight that the doctors quick to act will inherit this new reality and redefine their future. Those that have always and continue to cling to a past failed model of practicing dentistry will finally pay the price by not having seized the opportunity for a do-over. The greatest travesty will be for those who survive this without being changed. Your goal should be not to just get through this, but to “grow” through this.
Hopefully you are looking at dentistry through the eyes of a consumer and the brains of a business owner. Already you should have taken the opportunity to rethink many things about your business model. Are you leveraging technologies to streamline your systems and staffing? Are you paying attention to the shift in terms of customer behaviors and expectations? Do you have a plan B if and when there is a second and third threat of pandemic resurgence? Then there is the complication of the overdue financial recession just as a new presidential election looms on the anniversary of flu season. No problem. Welcome to the Great Reset. Here are the top ten lessons you should have already encountered and acted on.
- Crisis can become the catalyst for change. A crisis is that moment in time that allows us to test our assumptions and plans. Today we find ourselves in a defining moment where what we do will define the future we will inherit. The 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic and the financial recession which will follow are a golden opportunity for a do over button for your practice.
- Leaders create the conditions where people choose to commit to new actions. Pivotal moments as we look at climate change in Dentistry require a healthy dose of effective leadership to emerge as a better and stronger organization after this crisis, and there will be more. Business as usual will not win the day. If you look at 2019 as a destination or you return to doing what you did 90 days ago, you will miss the point of the challenge you face. A hard look at where you were in the good old days should allow you to realize that it falls far short of the practice you always thought you would have.
- When you are done with change, you are done. We compete in the arena of healthcare where change is not only escalating but will remain a key component to your success. We must accept change and act now. The future belongs to the few, not the many in Dentistry. How you react now will define your success (or lack of it) in the future.
- Consumerism: Giving your patients what they want, when they want it, and fitting it into their budget will always be a demand of your potential clients. Dentistry is all about relationships. We are a small consumer driven business where our patients vote with their feet and their wallets. If you keep seeing the back of their heads, you are doing something wrong.
- Staffing truths:
- What you allow you encourage
- Never hire someone that you cannot fire or keep someone that makes your life miserable.
- Never hire from desperation.
- You will never go any further than the one team member with the lowest commitment to your vision. Make sure it is not you.
- Accountability is answering for your actions regardless of the noise surrounding your performance. Accountability means letting your actions rise above your excuses.
- Control your burn rate (life suck) while saving at least 20% a year to fund your plan B and create options for your future.
- Details are important, numbers are important, data does not lie, KPIs are real and you need to know and act on your situation and act quickly if you ever expect to change your results. Profitability bolstered by systems and protocols that are Repeatable, Flexible, Scalable, and Sustainable is impossible to beat.
- You can’t get better at giving people what they do not want. What would you pay for something you didn’t want? Many dentists make the mistake of thinking their patient’s want what you have to sell. If you are not growing, you are not meeting your patient’s needs. The truth destroys alibis, excuses, and limiting beliefs. Tame these and find your results. Find the practice you always thought you would have.
- Your systems are precisely designed to give you the results that you are getting. If you want different results, you cannot just work harder or longer. You have to do something different.
At the end of the Great Recession in 2009, dentists failed to change or learn the lessons it brought to light. You have another chance to learn from this situation and redefine your future. Here is the truth about lessons in life from author and speaker John Maxwell.
- You will learn lessons.
- There are no mistakes, only lessons.
- A lesson is repeated until it is learned.
- If you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder. (Pain is one way the universe gets our attention.)
- You’ll know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change.
Don’t miss the opportunity of The Great COVID Reset of 2020.
This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS
PS. Below you will find a link to a webinar recording from our friends at DUCKETTLADD. In it they interview Kara Kelley from Clinical HR regarding “What to do if a team member tests positive for COVID-19 or has been exposed”.