Over the years I’ve analyzed countless dental practices and coached numerous dental clients. I can tell you with certainty that while there are as many paths to success as there are dentists to pursue them, there are a few core principles that are common to the best practices and the people who run them.
There is a DNA to greatness that I think is worth examining. In fact, I have identified four characteristics that I see time and again among the best practitioners - four common attributes that are reliable predictors of uncommon success:
1. Plan to succeed. I’m not talking about vague “this is how I imagine things working out” mental notes. That’s not a plan, that’s a wish. I’m talking about a well thought out, progressive strategy spelled out in concrete terms with measurable milestones. You have to visualize your ideal life in dentistry. Define what success means to you and have absolute clarity for how you intend to get there.
2. Establish goals with accountability. Having a long-term vision is one thing, but it is just as important to translate that vision into goals and behaviors that are routinely tracked, analyzed and adjusted. It’s about keeping the tension in the right areas, and keeping team members engaged and accountable. Establish specific goals for - and chart the progress of - things like case acceptance rates (especially acceptance of mouth-based dentistry, not just tooth-based procedures), hourly productivity, invitations, retention, and new patient flow. It’s like having a “dashboard” of indicators that ensures that every day is on purpose and that any slippage can be quickly identified and corrected.
3. Reinvest in the practice. The key thing here is to recognize from the beginning that facility, equipment and technology upgrades are not expenses to be endured “when the money’s there for it.” They are necessary reinvestments that protect and enhance the value of the practice and keep you at the leading edge of the profession. You need to make them a central part of your planning.
4. Reinvest in yourself and your team. By far the most important revenue-generating asset your practice will have is you and the people around you, so it stands to reason that if you’re not growing and improving in a systematic way you become a quickly depreciating asset. There’s a reason it’s called continuing education, and this is how the best in the business stay the best in the business. At Spear we call it layered learning. This process begins with a strong foundational philosophy and you continue to build on it throughout your career.