10 habits that will help dentists in 2015


I used to be a passionate maker of new year’s resolutions and in the dog days of February (or sooner) many of them would fall by the wayside. It’s not just me apparently – only eight per cent of people who make new year’s resolutions keep them.

Since giving up clinical dentistry in 2003, I’ve spent a lot of my professional life trying to persuade clients to adopt behaviours which would help them achieve their objectives. I’ve had to learn how to do this the hard way (clients stop paying you if they don’t achieve their objectives!).

Don’t resolve, believe

Most people try and change their behaviour (and that of others) by nagging. That’s why we give up so quickly – being nagged either by ourselves or by others is pretty dispiriting. So, when I see the need for a client to do things differently, I ask myself a question, “What does the client believe which is driving their behaviour?”

If I don’t know the answer, I ask the client (gently). Once I understand the belief, it’s relatively easy to suggest an alternative belief which will serve the client better and which, if adopted, will quickly create a new behaviour. The new behaviour will help deliver the client’s preferred outcomes.

Here’s an example: a client is trying to look after too many patients. The result is that he spends too much time doing check-ups which are discounted and so his gross is heading downwards. So, the behavioural change I want is for him to pass some of his patients onto an associate (yet to be hired) to free him up to do more complex and remunerative restorative work. The client refuses.

The client’s believes the patients really like and trust him and if he asks them to see someone else, they will leave. So, this belief creates his current behaviour which stops him getting at his objective of increasing his gross by seeing less clients and doing more high ticket restorative work…

Here’s an alternative belief which he might choose to adopt: the clients really like and trust him but they realise he is very busy and it’s difficult to get into see him and he often provides a temporary solution and then it is difficult to get him to find time to deliver a permanent result.

If he asks them to see another dentist who is at least as likeable and trustable as him while he is  in the building and available to see them if they need complex restorative work, they should be happy to have their routine dentistry delivered by their new dentist.

You see, this belief is equally as valid as the original one and if the client adopts this, he can move forward with his objectives. Trying to change a behaviour without challenging the underlying beliefs that underpins the behaviour is simply nagging and nagging only works for 8% per cent of the people…

A more effective (and much faster) way to achieve behavioural change is to re-write the beliefs that created the old behaviours with a belief that will support the new one.

If you are thinking of adopting some new and more effective behaviours to make this year better than your last, here are my Top Ten behaviours that I find very successful people have in common. They:

  1. Get enough sleep. The latest research, published last month, shows that on average in UK adults get seven hours sleep per night and the optimum average sleep requirement (for an adult) is 8.25 hours a night.
  2. Spend less than they earn, invest some savings (more than 20 per cent of income) and have a plan for financial independence.
  3. Have a vision for both their personal and professional life which drives their objectives. Their objectives are written down in detail with tactics and a time line.
  4. Get up early. The hours between 0530 and 0730 seem longer than any other during the day and they are undisturbed by children, email or phone calls.
  5. Read a lot. Where else can they change their life for £10?
  6. Go outside every day, take a walk, breathe the air and get some natural light. This reconnects them with the natural world every day and helps them create sufficient vitamin D.
  7. Drink six glasses of water a day and don’t eat carbs at lunchtime to avoid the 3pm low.
  8. Avoid time stealers.
  9. Are on time or better still early.
  10. Always follow through, are reliable and always do what they say they will when they say they will do it.

If you need help changing your behaviours or that of your team call me for a chat about how we can help.

Best wishes


e. simon.hocken@breathebusiness.co.uk

m. 07770 430576

Go back to Breathe Update newsletter


  • 30 minutes travel time from Edinburgh
  • Long established
  • Retiring principal willing to stay on
  • Turnover £600k
  • Three surgeries
  • Guide price £650k (including property)

Please call Simon on 07770 430576 if you’d like to know more about this Breathe club member.

This entry was posted in Blog, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *