What Stops Changes Happening in Your Dental Business?

What Stops Changes Happening in Your Dental Business?


Perhaps you are very lucky and you have always been able make all the changes in your business that you have wanted to, on time and on budget?

But, if running your dental business is more like that simple extraction that breaks into a number of smaller frustrating ones then I expect you are in the majority, not just within dentistry but in any organisation.

It’s a familiar story. The dental practice owner who however hard she tries, doesn’t quite seem able to effect changes in handling patient enquiries and follow ups, working together or even the thorny subject of asking for money for example.

Ironically, there are so many aspects of dentistry that are governed by clinical guidelines and processes that some things are never questioned. If a member of your team refuses to follow accepted clinical guidelines then the accompanying risks (putting patients in danger, putting the business at risk and potentially everybody’s job security too) are well documented and enforced by the CQC, GDC et al…so why is it different with non clinical aspects, that are arguably just as important and now in particular that GDC guidelines cover such matters as patient communication?

I could write a “book about the books” that I have read on this subject, together with the direct experiences that I have had for over 20 years both within and outside of dentistry. I think that there are a number of key stages that must be followed in order and without exception, to deliver lasting change in any organisation but that still leaves the question that was recently asked of me by a client; “What if I have the wrong team?”

Without the shackles of employment law and precedents that discourage wholesale changes in a team you would probably cut to the chase and change the team. This is a luxury that mangers of sports teams have (just look at the England Football and Rugby Union teams in recent years) but employers don’t. This means that some tough decisions will eventually have to be made. So what can you do in the meantime?

  1. Make it real. The risks associated with not following procedures in the decontamination room for example need to have their equivalent on reception and anywhere else that is not formally addressed by clinical procedures.
  2. Make it personal. Not everybody can make a “Winston Churchill” style address and neither do you need to but every dental business owner should be able to write down why their business really exists in less than a page of A4 and communicate it to their team in less than 5 minutes. This will resonate with the team members who are onboard or just need reminding from time to time. For some of the team, perhaps 20%, your message may not get through and although it is harsh to say it, they probably never will “get it”.
  3. Make it routine. Celebrate wins and never underestimate the power of repeating your vision.
  4. Never underestimate the power of repeating your vision.
  5. Make it fresh. An annual motivational speech from the boss, a slide show, a Christmas bonus, appraisal or a team day out, will soon get forgotten if the resulting projects and changes in process are not reinvigorated with new projects and ideas.
  6. Make it cultural. “That’s the way we do things around here” needs to become part of the language of your business and at some point you will have the opportunity to recruit fresh talent on that basis.
  7. Make it happen – nobody else will start this process if you don’t.

To discover how you can apply these ideas in your dental business take a look at the resources that we offer at Rose and Co


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