Written by Mohamed Hussein, DDS Monday, 30 September 2002 19:00
With football season in full swing, it is interesting to note that many of the great simple truths that apply to this sport lend themselves to managing a dental office team. To be successful in practice management, one can draw from the same fundamentals that were witnessed at the 2002 Super Bowl. For those of you not familiar with the paradox of last season’s spirited series, let me explain.
RULE NO. 1: IT’S A GAME!
Football is a game, and practice management in dentistry is like a game. The quicker you learn the rules, the better off you are. In football, some rules are official as laid out by the NFL, just as we have some rules we were taught in dental school. Those are the basics you need to conquer. You know how to do cavity preparation, give local anesthetic…you know the basics. Of equal importance is a whole gamut of other rules that are not written anywhere. Mastering those dictates your level of success.
RULE NO. 2: BACK TO BASICS
The New England Patriots did not have any marquee players on their team, no superstars, and they lacked a fancy game plan. They certainly were not featured on the nightly news highlight reel. They returned to the basics and mastered each level before moving forward.
RULE NO. 3: DON’T BEAT THE DRUM TO THE PUNDITS AND THE GURUS
In the Super Bowl there were 90 seconds left, and the game was tied. All the football pundits thought the Patriots should back down, should be happy for how well they did, run out the clock, and try to take their chances in overtime. But somebody forgot to tell the team. With strength and confidence they marched right down the field and scored to win the Super Bowl. These same gurus and pundits before the game (including those in Las Vegas) did not put their money on New England.
RULE NO. 4: DON’T APPLY THE LIMITATIONS OF OTHERS ON YOURSELF
In the Super Bowl everybody said the New England Patriots were doomed. Fortunately, the team did not share this sentiment, and that is what happens in real life. If you are not doing 1-hour new patient exams, if you do not have an office manager, if you are not doing block scheduling, and the list goes on and on, many perceive you are doomed for failure. None of these are happening in my office, and I have a very successful practice. Don’t put others’ limitations on yourself. Figure out what works for you in your situation, community, stage of practice, and where you want to go.
RULE NO. 5: WORK HARD AND HAVE A SOLID GAME PLAN
This is the one part that always amazes me. I think the Rams honestly believed they were going to have a cake walk in the Super Bowl. Everybody said that it should be that way, but it wasn’t because they took it for granted. Every immigrant that comes to Canada, where I live, knows you have to work hard. You tell your kids that to be successful you have to work hard. I believe it to be a simple basic truth in life. What happens when we get out of dental school? Do we think we’re finished, that we don’t have to work hard anymore?
RULE NO. 6: CONFIDENCE BUT NOT ARROGANCE
Confidence grows as a result of little successes accomplished on the way, but arrogance occurs when you misjudge your own level of achievement. In the annals of history, confidence repeatedly awards success to those who go the extra mile. It separates the winners from the losers. I manage a successful practice classified in the top 1% of solo practices in the country, but I am still learning. I am still looking for better ways to do business. Am I confident? You bet! Am I arrogant? I hope not.
RULE NO. 8: SUPERSTARS DON’T GUARANTEE PROFITS
How many times have you been advised to hire dynamic staff? Or that you have to be a dynamic doctor? Dynamite staff is not available in an office-ready package. They need to be developed, trained, and amalgamated into the team structure. Much like the players in the Super Bowl, none of them were born superstars. It is your responsibility as the coach of your dental team—the leader of your dental team—to bring about the qualities you need in your staff. When problems occur, look at yourself first, and then look at others. Coach Bill Parcells helped three teams from three different cities, all in the basement of their division, qualify for the Super Bowl. To me, that is a leader. Take them anywhere with different circumstances, and they will assess the situation, design a strategy, and work together as a team—and win.
If I can summarize this article in one sentence, it is this: With the proper fundamentals of practice management in place, bread-and-butter dentistry works, and you can do phenomenally well with it.
Dr. Hussein is an accomplished, full-time practicing dentist who understands what it takes to be successful in the trenches with a bread-and-butter practice. He is an author as well as a lecturer on the numerous aspects of running a practice in the real world. To contact him or to receive information on the secrets of the top 1% practice, please call Pinnacle Practice Performance at (866) 823-1230.
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