First and foremost, dental care is the sci-ence, art, and philosophy that focuses on the relationship between the patient, the function or health of the teeth, mouth, and the entire body.
But it is also a business and, when prop-erly managed, can lead to financial security. To create incredible patient experiences and, at the same time, a viable successful business, requires vision and planning.
Begin with a vision.
So, let’s start with the first thing, vision. Who is responsible for the vision of your practice? It is you, the dentist, as the leader. Who needs to know the vision? Everyone, including your patients and employees.
The meaning of vision is often misunder-stood, as well as the power it holds. By getting a clear grasp on your business vi-sion, you will be able to take your prac-tice, your team, your patients, and your life to higher and higher levels of success and fulfillment.
A vision is a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination, this is where you start. By its very nature, a vision does not yet exist, or at least not in its entirety. A vision is out there, ahead of you, and you move toward it deliberately in the future. If you have a vision, you see the destination before you as something to aim for.
Blindness is the opposite of vision. With-out it, you’re in trouble. Without a vision, it means that you can’t think strategically about the possible effects of actions or decisions. Or what might happen in the future. You are fumbling around in the dark. This means that you will make decisions that may only get you through today and not necessarily tomorrow.
Consider your business future through a vision.
Start by asking yourself what do you see when you think about the potential of your dental practice. What do you want to be known for?
Do you want to be known for providing great dental care and doing it profitably? This vision of yourself guides big and small actions and decisions. An example of being short-sighted is a dental team searching and purchasing supplies on-line, rather than collaborating with a qualified field rep, with the intent of shaving off a certain number of percent-age points from overhead expenses. Alternatively, a team with a vision would instead invest that time and effort into areas that will produce larger and longer-term results.
Share your vision with everyone involved.
When leaders share a clear vision and organize the team and workplace to accomplish it, a powerful dynamic drives employee performance. You will realize that your vision will drive the decisions you and your team make, whether big or small, because having a clear vision sim-plifies the decision-making process. John Maxwell said, “Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change. They are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stub-born about the vision but flexible with your plan.”
With no clear vision, you are always lost in the moment, even if you don’t know it yet. On the other hand, if your vision is out there serving as a beacon on the hori-zon, then you can always steer towards it, even when it’s dark and stormy.
With a clear, well-articulated vision, you can test all decisions against it at any practice level. This, in turn, empowers your team to make decisions on their own, thereby decentralizing decision-making and eliminating micromanage-ment. At any point in a day, on issues big and small, everyone in your office should be asking themselves: Will this decision or action move us toward or away from our vision?
For example, does purchasing this new laser help us reach our vision by expand-ing the procedures we offer, speeding up appointments, and modernizing the office? Will offering coffee and water in our reception area create the level of customer experience we want for our patients?
These questions and many others will help you determine your vision and the dentistry type you want to deliver. In ad-dition, this will also set the culture you want the office to have, such as the look and feel and how big or small you want the space to be.
Your vision is what you want to become.
Your vision must be a crystal-clear picture. As you can see above, the power in knowing what you want to become is that it guides you and even pulls you along. In creating your vision, ask critical self-reflective questions, such as if you had the ideal practice, the perfect practice, what would that look like? What kind of experience would your patients have? What procedures and services would you offer? What does teamwork look like to you? And how much would the practice pro-duce? What would economic freedom look like, and when would you achieve it? Ultimately, your practice vision is about creating an emotional connection between your team and your patients in your quote from Jack Welch, “Good business unique way. Planning how to make that leaders create a vision, articulate the happen and executing the plan is what vision, passionately own the vision, and makes you a success. To conclude with a relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Brian Passell, PhD is the Managing Director and a Practice Management Coach for Fortune Management in the Houston area. He builds trust with his dental clients through showing authentic care for their needs. As a coach in action and teacher at heart, he provides clarity and strategies adapted to achieving each client’s unique vision. Brian brings a unique perspective given the combination of his professional experience, academic background, and having grown up the son of a periodontist who himself was a longtime client of Fortune Management. Brian’s areas of expertise include developing dentists into leaders, strengthening office culture to better reflect and support its goals, introducing systems and technology changes to seize opportunities for attaining higher performance rapidly. His mission as a coach and key business advisor is to help each dentist to achieve the ability to work as much or as little as he or she wants to and not because they have to. As an industrial/organizational psychologist he worked for a decade, prior to joining Fortune Management, with billion-dollar corporations to improve their performance through strategies and programs that develop current and future leaders. Brian earned a PhD from the University of Georgia, an MS from San Diego State University, and a BA from the University of Arizona. He lives in Houston with his wife Lindsay. and their three children.