Ready, Aim, Fire is a very logical and workable approach to solving problems such as conquering an enemy in a war. It is also the approach necessary for dentists to move their practices from mediocre to good or from good to great. Another way of saying the same thing is that we must first be ready to take action, then we must form a strategy for success, and then we can plan our daily tactics and vigorously proceed.
Ready, Fire, Aim is the unfortunate approach that a lot of dentists seem to pursue when they want to improve their practices, and they almost always become frustrated and miss their target. That is, they make changes without assessing their long-term objectives, the advantages, and the disadvantages. When this approach does not work they become discouraged and complain that it is impossible regardless of all their efforts. Consequently, they resign themselves to living with mediocrity or not reaching the greatness that is really within their reach.
Our philosophy includes both tried and true strategies varied to suit individual practices and the proved tactics including appropriate adjustment where necessary.
A good way for any dentist to get assistance with his/her strategy is with our Action Plan.
Action Plan Link
Sometimes, the formulation of a workable strategy (see Action Plan above) for the dental office will allow the dentist and his/her team to modify their daily actions, procedures, protocols, and systems (tactics) to reach the practice’s potential. Once the strategy is formulated and the tactics are decided, some offices are able to implement the tactics themselves quite effectively.
Other times, creating and implementing essential change in tactics can be done effectively only with outside assistance. This calls for either an experienced outside consulting firm or a massive change in the team itself, particularly the addition of someone with experience in making such a transition in a similar practice. We provide many types of dental practice management assistance.
Practice management consulting is best done in the dental office working directly with doctor’s and staffs. However, there is also another theory being proposed regularly to dental offices. It is what we call the trickle down consulting approach. The next paragraph describes the trickle down management consulting approach, an approach which is only marginally effective but very much the preference of most consulting firms working with dental offices.
Trickle Down Consulting Approach (bad). This approach is much less expensive for the consulting company, but it is much more expensive for the dental office, and it is less effective. This approach suggests that the entire staff should travel together to some neutral location for training classes requiring the doctor to pay all the expenses as well as losing the production time. Does this make any sense? Why shouldn’t the consultant go where the practice is located? One person travels, not many. Their excuse is that it gets the full attention of the entire staff away from the hubbub in the office. If you hear this one, say, “Bunk!” Most dental offices have problems that are real, not theoretical. How can they gain anything in a theoretical setting? If there is a leak in a dam, the solution is not to get a meeting together in a conference room somewhere to discuss the problem. The solution is to go to the dam, find the leak, and stop it up. The real motive behind this approach is greed, and not enough talent.
One-on-One, In-Office Approach (good). After collecting essential information from the doctor the consultants go to the dental office in person. They stay long enough to get a feel for the tempo and the personality of the practice. Dentals practices are not produced on an assembly line. Each has unique qualities based on many, many factors including location, personalities, etc. In order to assist in maximizing the potential of the practice it is absolutely a requirement to meet with the doctor and his team in their environment while they are going about their daily activities. Also, it is necessary that everyone on the team is on board. Most practices will require a bit of fine-tuning of their internal systems, procedures, and protocols. They must grow at least enough to pay the expenses associated with the consulting process, or the idea of using a consultant is a bad one. Our clients ALL increase their monthly production by more than $10,000 (verifiable) with the average in excess of $15,000 per month. This means that the habits formed will have to be modified. Consequently, each and every team member must be consulted directly to guarantee that the entire team is performing at maximum potential. Also, staff members need reassurance that they are not being blamed or taking the blame for less than perfect results. Retention of the staff must be a high priority to keep continuity rather than starting over again and again. Only by knowing the heart beat of the practice can internal protocols be designed and documented to gain maximum potential for each unique practice. It costs the consulting company more, of course, but it does not have to cost the dentist more. Our fees are the lowest in the industry and our costs are probably the highest, so we have to be willing to net a bit less from our clients. However, while they must make huge expenditures for sales and marketing to attract new clients, we are almost exclusively referral-oriented. We do not spend money for magazine advertisements, trade show booths, or commissions to salesmen. They have their way of doing business, and we have ours.
Increase Practice Production Immediately. Even though it is essential to get as much knowledge first-hand as possible about the practice, we will have a pretty good idea what to address immediately before we ever arrive in the office. Consequently, more than half of our clients will experience a record production month the first month we arrive. (This does not come from fee increases as with many other firms. That is basically a scam. Raising fees does not require assistance from a consulting firm.) From the first day we arrive we begin collecting vital-sign monitors for the practice on a regular basis. In the beginning this will be accomplished by simply receiving a copy every day of the daily report completed by the administrative staff. Ultimately, we will be monitoring a bit closer. All this attention and emphasis will raise the awareness of everyone in the practice. This increased awareness and attention along with our assistance in scheduling is responsible for the initial jump in production. Again, this is even in practices where production is not necessarily our reason for being there.
Change Paradigms and Negative Habits. In order for a dental practice to make significant progress toward maximizing their potential while maintaining a low-stress, enjoyable working environment, two major obstacles must be overcome. First, there is a mindset (paradigm) in practices. Over time the office has self-determined its potential and individuals will subconsciously adjust their activities to make certain that that potential is not exceeded. For instance, if the practice believes it can produce only $55,000 per month, activities will be adjusted subconsciously to make this a self-fulfilling paradigm. Only by proving to the practice that they, as a team, can produce more can we change the limiting mindset. Once we have formed a new mindset we have to work on all the limiting habits that have been formed to support the mindset. That means going into each key area and revising the protocols in writing and with hands-on training for each individual. These Full Service Plan clients work with us for one year at a time during which we will visit in their office nine days per year.