What changes have you noticed in your practice that really “stuck”? Having practiced as long as I have, I can’t tell you how many great ideas were agreed upon at staff meetings, or how many inspirations I had in the shower before going to work, or how many discussions I’ve had with different staff members over the years. Am I or my team still doing them today? Not many.
Let’s examine the similarities to the ones that “stuck.”
- They were consistent with a shared vision and goal.
- They were well-thought out.
- Obstacles were identified early.
- Training was provided, as needed.
- Follow-up happened, without fail.
- Monitors of the events were developed.
- Results were reviewed.
In other words, the changes took place because not one of these items was left out.
In examining the ones that didn’t “stick,” I could easily point to one or more items on that list that were left out. It wasn’t that anyone, everyone, or someone didn’t want to do them; most of the time, these “great ideas” were never truly incorporated in the fabric of the practice and were forgotten. If you’ve ever kept minutes from staff meetings, go back and look at the minutes. You’ll likely discover agreements were made about changes to be made that never happened, or of they did, for not more than a week. What can really be funny is how the same items can reappear after months or years, almost as if they were “new ideas” again.
Take heart: most businesses do this, not just dental practices. But not making changes stick are also one of the reasons that businesses fail. Changes are essential for a business to remain viable. No one would disagree with the old saying, “You snooze, you lose!”
I suggest a meeting is in order, either with you and yourself, or with you and your team. I propose the following questions:
1. What changes have been attempted in the past but are no longer getting done? Why?
2. What changes must be made NOW to be competitive in our business?
3. How can the changes be made to stick?
4. How will you know the changes are working, fruitful, profitable, or otherwise worth continuing?
Anything else, is just – well – idle chatter.