Changing makes you better, but what about your practice?


Recently, I’ve noticed a significant blocker to the growth of practices for a number of our clients.

Here’s the scenario: the client comes to our workshops, absorbs the ideas and content, develops some tactics and implements them in their practice. This changes their approach to their own patients and they become a little or a lot more commercial within their surgeries.

This creates a beneficial increase to their own production because they are:

  1. Working more effectively and efficiently
  2. Communicating better with their patients which means that they are writing bigger treatment plans and
  3. More patients are saying yes to them

So, their daily production improves and the practice profits increase.

Ants working as a team. Susanne Nilsson

Ants working as a team. Susanne Nilsson

However, the likely result is that they hit a glass ceiling (of their own gross) quite quickly because everybody else in the practice is doing the same old, behaving something like this:

  • The receptionists still haven’t been taught how to deal with a new patient enquiry so that 20 per cent of them don’t convert to a new patient consultation (and the phone answering is still done on the front desk or left to the answerphone)
  • The associates are still not selling comprehensive treatment plans, being content to deliver single unit dentistry and burn their new patient opportunities
  • The hygienists still think their job is to clean teeth (scale and polish) and are still disinterested in finding out how to stop hurting or nagging their patients
  • The practice manager still doesn’t understand how to collect the relevant KPIs or find out what they mean and prefers to hang around reception putting out fires
  • The principal still hasn’t got around to taking time to create a vision for the practice and so no one on the team knows where the business is heading

I could go on. So, after an initial improvement in practice performance, the practice flatlines again and our client gets disillusioned and leaves. Or even worse, the active patient numbers continue to decrease, the attrition rates remain the same, the marketing and sales process remains ineffectual and the practice shrinks.

So what’s the answer to creating sustainable whole practice growth? Well, it’s not enough for just the principal to change their ways, it has to be lasting behavioural change by the whole team, led by the principal.

That’s all very well, I can hear you saying, but how???

Well, the first and probably the most important step (and the one some of our clients often miss out or delegate) is to find substantial and regular amounts of time to help the team change its behaviour. Very little can be achieved without this investment. This is when the principal gets the chance to discuss and set targets for growth, agree the tactics and behaviours needed to achieve these targets and then, later, find out whether the practice can reach these targets and, if not, agree what has to change further.

In other words the principal can’t change the practice enough with their own behaviours to make a significant and continuing improvement in it’s success. It requires a whole team approach!

If you would like some help in changing your team’s poor behaviours, please contact me on:

m: 07770 430576


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