As I travel the country helping doctors with their practices, I often get asked, “What is the most common thing holding a practice back from its potential?” The common answers that people expect to hear are—the team is the problem, the economy stinks, or there are more doctors in this city than any other city. Well, these are the most common stories I hear from new doctors, but they’re not the most common thing holding back their practice. Normally the conversation then turns to, “I need new patients in order to be successful.” But that’s not it either . . .
The most common thing I’ve found holding doctors back from hitting their full potential is the simple fact that they are pursuing solving the wrong problem.
Meaning, they are treating a symptom, not the cause. This is no different than the challenge you face in your dental practice when trying to solve a sensitive tooth; is this decay, a sinus issue, a bite issue or countless other choices. A proper diagnosis is the key to success, otherwise you solve the wrong problems and then wonder why you get lackluster results!
I want to illustrate this with the common belief, “I need more new patients to be successful.”
Let’s assume I own a wonderfully successful marketing company and I promise you 100 new patients per month with my fantastic $35K marketing program.
What am I really promising you? That you assume 100 new patients per month? The reality is, I am promising you 100 phone calls per month. For the sake of illustration, let’s assume the person answering the phone for you is terrible and can’t schedule and turn one of those phone calls into a patient. What did you get for your $35K marketing plan? Sadly, nothing.
Second scenario, let’s assume she is fabulous at converting phone calls into appointments, but you, the doctor, are terrible at case presentation and not a single person schedules treatment. What did you get for your $35K marketing plan? Still, nothing!
Last scenario, let’s assume she is amazing at converting phone calls to patients, your case presentation skills would make Walt Disney jealous, and every patient schedules, completes treatment, and walks out with a brand new smile from ear to ear, but forgets their checkbook/credit card. What did you get for your $35K marketing plan? Worse than nothing, because you paid the lab bill and expenses to do free dentistry.
So what is my point to all of this?
If you don’t solve the correct problem and see the patient the entire way through the process, you get nothing . . . or worse!
The ability to instantly see what needs your attention and focus on proper diagnostics.
As a dental coach at Accelerate My Practice, the best solution I’ve seen thus far is BlueIQ—an automated dashboard that allows you to properly diagnose the challenges within your practice.
Of course, you can do it the old fashion and cheap way of pulling lots of reports, or join the technological world and use software for this. Either way, once you’ve properly diagnosed the problem, the next challenge I see is changing your team’s behavior. This is where the rubber meets the road.
There are many ways to motivate people to change their ways. You can bet them into submission and certainly, some try it this way. But I wouldn’t suggest this method.
You can utilize bonus systems, or external motivation. This works well until the external motivation becomes expected. Then it gets dangerous.
In my opinion, you are best served with internal motivation.
Only when your team is intrinsically motivated to achieve, will they change their behavior for the long haul. But how do you empower intrinsic motivation? By eliciting new thinking.
Intrinsic coaching will provide the longest lasting results, but it also takes longer to see results. So the question you need to ask yourself is, do I want long lasting results or just a quick fix?
Then you can choose wisely and implement the method you’ve decided is best to motivate change.
But here’s a little secret:
The best method is to motivate your team intrinsically, and then keep the momentum going by acknowledging performance and rewarding those who meet or exceed your expectations.
An additional bit of beauty with BlueIQ is the ability to assign responsibility to metrics. It’s one thing to motivate people to change, then you need to clearly communicate expectations and responsibility. BlueIQ not only allows you to assign who is responsible, but then everyone can clearly see this via their dashboards, including the progress being made, which allows the leadership team the ability to reward the improvements. When you measure the correct things, have clear expectations, and reward hard work, you now have a recipe for massive transformation and success.
With a simple formula like this in place, the only question left is, what is holding you back from living the life and having the business of your dreams?
Darren Kaberna is the founder and CEO of Accelerate My Practice. He has been working in the dental industry since 1997 in well over a thousand dental offices. Darren holds a BS in Biology and Chemistry and a MBA in Marketing and Finance. Accelerate My Practice is a dental coaching company that helps both the doctor(s) and team members achieve their dreams by teaching practical methods of behavior change that are applicable to both business and personal growth.
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