A truly patient-centered, health relationship-based practice is an organically growing social ecosystem. In some ways, it is like a massive healthy rose bush, which must first be planted in the right soil, located so that it receives the appropriate amount of light, and then fed, pruned, and allowed to fully blossom into glory.
And like rose bushes, our practices face real constraints and challenges from the outside. We have a limited amount of time, energy, money, and attention to expend each day, and while all of that is going on, new ideas and opportunities come along (new buds), while simultaneously dated ideas and even unproductive relationships (old buds) which have never properly developed…need to be pruned away so that they will not exhaust or divert our limited resources.
I favor the rose bush analogy because it brings up something which is rarely discussed in dental practice development- the important distinction between “production” and “effectiveness”, because we can produce good numbers while failing to fully advance our intended Purpose. And the truth is that our practice can only reach its full potential if we cut out approaches, assumptions, systems, and even people which are “working ok” but are not great – they are just not as good as they should be.
And that is a really hard thing to do without a clear vision of where we want to go, a clear understanding of where we are now, and a good sense of what needs to change to keep moving things along in the right direction.
Most dental practices, like rose bushes, are productive on some level, but if left unpruned lead to a tangled mess of old and new ideas, technologies, relationships, equipment, concepts, all competing for resources.
“Pruning”, through regularly revisiting our vision, and revisiting our strategic plan is the only way to allow our best ideas, gifts, talents, and opportunities to flourish.
And when we flourish, our best patients… the ones who are in alignment with our practice purpose (or headed that way) flourish as well.
Paul A Henny, DDS
Thought Experiments LLC, ©2017
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