Dental Practice Development and Success Self -Test
From: The Dr. John Meis Show
In Episode 2 on the Dr.John Meis Show we will discuss the four stages of dental practice development and success self-test. We will dive in to the steps dentists can do. The four stages include; chaos, growth, perform, and thrive. Let’s listen to what Dr. John Meis says about this now…
(For those who would rather read this watch the video)
Dr. John Meis: Welcome to the Dr. John Meis Show, episode two. Today’s episode is the practice success self-test. So we’ll be talking today about the four stages of practice development, and practice success, and we’re going to be talking about steps you can take to move from one level to the next.
Dr. John Meis: I wanted you to know that I have a free gift for you, and that is my number one, best-selling Amazon book, The Ultimate Guide to Doubling or Tripling Your Practice Production. You can get it at the URL at the bottom of the page.
Dr. John Meis: So right now the World Cup is going on, and the World Cup is so exciting to me, because I’m not really a soccer fan, and sorry I used the word soccer, all of our international viewers. But that’s what we call it here in the states. I’m not just a huge soccer fan, but I love the World Cup.
Dr. John Meis: The reason I love it so much is first of all, the passion that the players bring to the game, and all the things that they do that seem very goofy to me. The flopping, and the fake injuries, and all that stuff, it’s so foreign to me, but I find it absolutely fascinating that that is the culture of the game.
Dr. John Meis: But the thing that really, really, really like about it is how it brings countries around the world together, and when you see a country score a goal and they show back in their home country, and the fans are going crazy, and everybody’s going wild, it’s an experience that the entire world shares.
Dr. John Meis: We in the United States are not huge into soccer. So the World Cup isn’t as big a deal to us as it is to the rest of the world. But I still love watching it, because I just think it’s so very, very exciting.
Dr. John Meis: Alright, we’re going to jump into our topic today, and that is the four categories of practice success. We’ve named these, chaos, growth, perform, and thrive. I’m going to give you just some of the characteristics of each one, and I’m going to come up with a story or two about each one, which will help you understand where you might fall on this list.
Dr. John Meis: So the first category is chaos. This is where things are not going well. Practice may be mildly profitable, or not profitable at all. There are no systems. The team doesn’t really understand what their roles are, doesn’t really know what they do. They just do really, whatever they want.
Dr. John Meis: The practice has inadequate, or inconsistent new patient flow. And the management style is really, “Well whatever makes everybody happy. As long as we have harmony, and everything’s good, then.” But what happens with this kind of practice is, harmony doesn’t happen, right?
Dr. John Meis: So there’s a practice that I have worked with that was definitely in the chaos stage. So they did not have consistent patient attraction systems that were going. So they had adequate number of new patients. The team really had no systems to work with. They were just doing what they had always done, whether it was working or not.
Dr. John Meis: There was no data gathered to determine whether what they were doing was working or not. The team pretty much did what they wanted to do. One piece of evidence of that is there was one team member that was very frequently sick. Like twice a week sick. So people just came and went when they wanted to.
Dr. John Meis: That kind of practice cannot have a consistently excellent patient experience. And if you can’t have a consistently excellent patient experience, you know what’s going to happen, right? The practice is going to struggle. And this practice struggled mightily.
Dr. John Meis: They weren’t making any money as a practice. They weren’t caring for all the people. So they, and the doctor was super. He really wanted to be able to help a lot of people, he wanted to be able to treat a lot of people and do a lot of good care for people. But it just wasn’t happening because the practice was in chaos.
Dr. John Meis: The next stage is growth. Growth is, alright, now we’ve got some leadership. We’re making decisions based on data. We’re starting to put in systems. We’re identifying where we have systems missing, and we’re picking the most important one, we’re putting in systems one at a time, and now we’re starting to hold people accountable to those systems.
Dr. John Meis: At this point, there often is a fair amount of team turnover, because if you grow up and like a system where there’s no accountability, once you start putting accountability into place, not everybody’s interested in working in a practice like that. So we have some team turnover. So we’ve got some inconsistency.
Dr. John Meis: Our patient experience isn’t that great. When you have team turnover, you know you’re going to have patient turnover. One goes with the other. So this is a practice that’s starting to get its act together, but is still really struggling.
Dr. John Meis: So another story about this kind of practice. And that is a practice that really was starting to put some systems into place, but they were still relying upon the talent of people. So this practice had a particularly talented person at making financial arrangements, and getting patients to commit to treatment. She was fantastic at it, but there was no system. So it was all based on her talent. When that person left, guess what happened to the practice. It went backwards, and it went backwards significantly.
Dr. John Meis: So when we’re in this stage we’re starting to replace talent, or lack of talent with systems so that we can have a consistent experience, not depend on individual people.
Dr. John Meis: So the next category is the perform category. This is where now we have systems in place. We’ve got a team that started to function well together, a team that accepts accountability. A team that holds each other accountable.
Dr. John Meis: But in this category, the doctor is still managing the practice. He’s still doing dentistry. He’s still doing the really the tactical end of the practice. Here’s what we’re going to do here, you do this, her you do this. Still into those tactics.
Dr. John Meis: All of that managing time. All of that tactical time takes away mental energy from that doctor. Energy that could be used to drive the practice forward be producing more dentistry and caring for more patients.
Dr. John Meis: The last category is thrive. Thrive is when the systems are in place, the practice is self-managing. That means the team can manage themself, but we have a team member that’s serving as a manager. That team member understands the data, understands analytics, understands financial statements, and understands the levers to pull, to tweak, in order to make the practice improve even more.
Dr. John Meis: The doctor is focused on treating patients, is focused on treating more higher level care over time, as their skillset improves. That’s the thrive practice. That’s the one where doctors end up with tremendous personal productivity.
Dr. John Meis: Now personal productivity from practice to practice varies more than I ever would have thought before I started going to lots of practices. So I commonly will see doctors that are producing in the $40,000 a month range. That’s on the low end. Sometimes even lower than that.
Dr. John Meis: But I’ve also seen doctors have their personal production, not hygiene, not other associates, not anything, just their personal production be $300,000 a month or more. So there’s a tremendous range there. If the doctor is still into management, and still into the tactics, there’s no way they’re going to reach that high level, unless they’re working a tremendous number of hours. A tremendous number of hours generally is not sustainable.
Dr. John Meis: So to get to that thrive practice, really need to develop the team while the doctor’s developing their clinical skills. So I hope hearing a little bit about this helps you understand where you might be in this stage. Which stage that you’re at.
Dr. John Meis: The next thing I wanted to talk a little bit about, one of the things that as the practice goes from one stage to the next, there’s one consistent thing that gets better and stronger, and that one consistent thing is the culture of the practice.
Dr. John Meis: So people always say, “Culture, what do you mean by culture?” Well, if you have to ask that question, you don’t have one. Or you have one by default, not by choice. So when I talk about culture, there’s really three steps that I think are the initial steps to take.
Dr. John Meis: First is to really develop your why story. Why am I doing this? Why is this practice in existence? The why story has to resonate with four groups, all right? First it has to resonate with your team, obviously. And the why story has to have something in it for each of these constituencies. So the why has to say why a team member would want to work in this practice.
Dr. John Meis: The second constituency is your patients, obviously. Your why should attract patients. And the last constituency is the community. Can you explain your why in a way that will attract people from your community into your practice? So having a why statement, really being able to say it, being able to say it in a few number of words.
Dr. John Meis: So I really recommend that you start by creating a why statement, just talk into Google and let it transcribe your words. Just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and then start taking it apart. Then narrow that why statement down into as few of words as you can manage it. The fewer words, the better.
Dr. John Meis: I think it was Mark Twain that said, “I would have written you a shorter letter if I had more time.” ‘Cause it takes time to get succinct, and to get things from long to short.
Dr. John Meis: So first thing is the why statement. Second thing in culture is mission. Can you describe your mission? Which is slightly different than the why. The why is more of an emotional thing. The mission is more of a tactical thing.
Dr. John Meis: The last thing is values. What values does your practice value? What are the things that make you tick, make you unique, make you different? What are the values that really drive your organization?
Dr. John Meis: On a future episode, we’re going to talk about how to use those values, but the first thing is really to identify four to six values that really are the essence of who you are, and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Dr. John Meis: So I want to finish with a great quote from Damian Mingle, and the quote goes like this, “A business shines brightest when its people are working on problems bigger than themselves. Make your why statement bigger than your team, bigger than you, and you will have a business that will shine brightly.”
Dr. John Meis: That’s it. I’ll see you on the next episode of the Dr. John Meis Show.