Is Your Practice a Mouse or an Elephant?
We all know that elephants live much longer than mice. Their life expectancy is measured in decades as opposed to weeks or months for the little rodents, but the interesting truth is that the number of lifetime heartbeats for each is not all that different. It’s just that elephants have a much slower heart rate and metabolism, which means they use energy more efficiently. As the author of this article put it:
“The cells in an elephant slow down and do more work than the cells of a mouse. An elephant cell, lumpity-dumpities at a slower rate than the rattatat-tat of a mouse cell. They both wear out by a billion and a half beats … but the elephant does it more slowly, all the way down to the cellular level.”
Dental practices have metabolisms too. I have found over the years that you can also take their pulse and get a sense of their “heartbeat.” There are some practices that are centers of furious action, always focused on “more and faster.” More new patients, more patients per day, get them in and get them out. Faster, faster, faster. The heartbeat of these practices is always racing.
Then there are the practices that have learned how to slow down to speed up. They value new patients just as much, and they don’t waste any time in their days. The people in these practices understand that there is much to be gained by taking the time they need to be thorough with each patient they see. Their heartbeat is slower, but in the long run they do more comprehensive dentistry.
Trying to jam more patients into a day is not the way to long-term sustainable growth. You will always bump up against the ceiling because there are only so many hours in a day. On the other hand, there is really no limit to how much value you (and the patient) can get from each hour.
In a world full of scurrying mice, it pays to be an elephant.