Philosophy First

Build your relationships first….then your dentistry. ~ Bob Barkley

Philosophy First

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”Tis the season for new resolutions such as improving efficiency, integrating new techniques, reducing no-shows, and improving case acceptance rates. And for most of us, the path to achieving those accomplishments runs through the creation of actionable goals. But it turns out that when it comes to getting things done, and making true progress in important areas of a practice, there is a critically important first step which must precede goal-setting if we want to be successful at relationship-based / health-centered dentistry.

L.D. Pankey and Bob Barkley said that creating a written practice philosophy statement represents the single most important thing a dentist can do to advance their practice toward their dreams. And that is because a written philosophy statement functions like a practice constitution which guides and directs all future decisions.

Your philosophy is based on your beliefs, with your mission being the application of those beliefs in the real world. A dental practice represents a complex combination of physical, psychological, and social systems, and if a perspective of the whole of it is not taken into consideration when goals are set, there is little chance that the goals will be met.

For example, if you were a coach your goal might be to win the national championship, but that desire gets you nowhere. Consequently, every good coach knows that it is their practice systems – based on their coaching philosophy- which develop the skills, which then create the opportunities to win again and again. And it’s winning again and again which puts the team in a position to potentially ascend to the number one spot.

Likewise in a dental practice, it is the philosophy inspired systems – technical AND behavioral- which repeatedly cause people to show up on time, become open to exploring what is in their long-term best interest, and routinely say “yes” to your best and finest services. And when people routinely say “yes”, heath is advanced AND productivity goals are met or exceeded.

It is therefore the interplay of philosophy-driven systems with congruent goals which organically emerge out of that philosophy, which move a practice in the direction of the vision.

So, if you do not yet have a written practice philosophy, make THAT your first goal of this new year, because from that one accomplishment, everything else flows in a much more organized and successful fashion.

Goals are important, but without a practice philosophy -that you are willing to live- to back them up, there is little chance those goals will take you where you ultimately want to be.

Paul A. Henny, DDS

Thought Experiments, LLC, ©2017

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