Are you delaying having the practice you want in order to keep the practice you have?

“After all is said and done, more is said than done.”



Talk, they say, is cheap. Go to any dental conference, stand at the bar and you will be amazed at all the things that your colleagues say they will be doing when they get back!

After many years of doing this work, I’ve discovered that really successful clients consistently take a lot of action/get a lot done/embrace change and that everyone else is either:

  • still getting around to doing it, or
  • hasn’t decided yet exactly what it is they will get around to doing!

Simply put, the gap between the practice you have and the practice you want lies in the things that you are not doing.

And most often the reason that you are not doing these things is procrastination. There are other helpful and less pejorative names for this habit as well. Steven Pressfield, in his excellent and helpful book on this subject, calls it, ‘Resistance’ and in Kolbe, the psychometric test that we often use with our clients, it’s known as ‘lack of Follow Through’. Unfortunately, if you live your life with procrastination, resistance or lack of follow through, your success is likely to be at best sporadic and at worst non-existent.

So, here are some of the more common symptoms likely to be experienced by those folk who have yet to find a way past their habit of putting things off:

  • The people around them (team and family) get really stressed at trying to get a decision/answer.
  • Their unanswered email box is getting bigger.
  • They often forget the basics such as birthdays, hair cuts, taxing the car etc.
  • They are immobilized by wanting to get it right/needing to know what is the right thing to do.
  • They often start things but rarely finish them.
  • They sometimes wake at 0430 in the morning thinking about all the things they haven’t done
  • They never get around to doing the things they really want to do because doing everything/everyone else steals their time.

In dental practices the most likely things to get put off by the practice owner includes:

  • Having staff contracts and whole team appraisals (including associates and hygienists) and getting rid of ineffective / dysfunctional team members.
  • Sorting out front desk team to behave in a way that supports getting new patients and keeping existing ones!
  • Having a functional website in place that brings in substantial numbers of new patient leads.
  • Getting hold of their important numbers / management accounts and meeting key team members to discuss and take action from them.
  • Working with associates and hygienists who are highly effective clinically and in creating long term relationships.
  • Having a practice manager truly manage the practice and do more than just run the operations.
  • Creating and recruiting large numbers of patients onto an effective Membership Scheme.
  • Following a researched, effective Marketing plan with a known cost for patient acquisition and a demonstrable return on investment.
  • Leading a team that can all communicate the benefits of what the practice can deliver to anyone and everyone.
  • Holding effective, regular, enjoyable practice meetings!

So, what are the best tactics for freeing yourself from the energy sapping and progress slowing chains of resistance? Well, first and most important is a bit of self-reflection (self-honesty) about how much of this behaviour you actually allow yourself? Go on, be honest, how guilty are you and what are the real and actual effects this is having on slowing the development and success of your practice?

Try asking yourself these questions in order to shift into a more effective habit of getting things done:

  1. Which of the items on my list would make the biggest difference if I were to get it done?
  2. What is the best use of my time right now?
  3. What are the top three things I must get done this week?
  4. What are the common displacement activities that I find to avoid the things that really need doing?
  5. What is the cost to me, my family and my team of me not getting them done?

Of course, truly successful entrepreneurs recognise that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all by themselves. They’re also often very poor at follow through, so in order for this not to inhibit their success, they have found the perfect solution. They hire a completely trustworthy assistant with excellent follow through to ensure they get everything done.

Mobilising their resources allows them to achieve far more than they would be able to do alone and enables them to focus their efforts on the bigger picture. Delegating may feel uncomfortable at first (especially if you’ve built your practice up yourself), but the more you delegate, the more effective you and your team will become.

Remember, really successful practice owners concentrate on their main goals and objectives. They are focused. They don’t get sidetracked. They don’t procrastinate. They make a lot of decisions and therefore get a lot done! 

So, have you started yet?

Simon Hocken Director of Coaching, Breathe Business


If you would like help starting, building, growing and managing your practice, contact the Breathe team on 0845 299 7209 or


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