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How To Thrive In The Digital Dentistry Revolution
We live in a world dominated by digital technology. Imagine not having a smartphone that fits in your pocket that can retrieve email and surf the web.  Imagine not being able to record your favorite shows.  Imagine not being able to download music and books instantaneously.  That is what dental patients feel like when we don't adopt the available technologies. 

Change is essential for growth and development as a person and as a business.  As the great Jim Rohn said, “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”  The same is true of business.  Your ability to maximize your performance and productivity depends on your ability to quickly adapt to market changes in positive, profitable ways.  Over the years, the Dental Industry has experienced a multitude of transformations that have been accepted by most and resisted by others.

The best dental practices embrace inevitable changes in the industry and those dental practices create a High Performing Culture that not only adapts well to change but thrives in it.  In order to build a High Performing Culture and adapt to the inevitable changes, you must be able to answer the following questions:

1.    Compelling Reason for Change – Why leave your current plateau?

One of the top reasons for resisting change, is the belief that the change isn’t necessary.  The old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality has no place in a constantly changing dental industry and really does not apply to any growing business in this century. 
 
Technology allows us to perform our services faster with more efficiency and profitability.  It gives us the opportunity for competitive edge and create more marketability.  All serve as reasons for change to engage your team to take the journey with you.

Engaged employees who are invited to discuss compelling reasons for change in team meetings fosters open communication, ensuring that the team will not have a negative, knee-jerk resistance to change.  These systematic, open discussions with your employees will result in an honest belief among team members that the specific change must take place.

Team members are more likely to accept change when the reasons are specific and compelling.  The doctor must share the reasons with his team.  Here’s an example of a doctor’s specific and compelling logic to introduce 3D Imaging to the practice:

            “3D imaging will allow me to create a comprehensive implant surgical plan that reduces treatment time and increases predictability and longevity.  It expands our menu of services and our ability to take the very best care of our patients. “ 

It is clear that the efficiency and convenience of adding 3D imaging can create positive results.  It creates what we like to call a, class III experience—it is good for the patient, good for the practice and good for the team.
  
2.    Vision – Where do you want to go?

People respond to a vision. Centuries-old wisdom states that “Without a vision, the people perish.”   Everyone wants to believe in an exciting, positive future.  We all like to know where we are going—and how we are going to get there.

It is even more compelling in a dental business if every person involved in that business believes they have a part in the vision.  It is important for team members to have their voices heard and to have their contribution validated. If the leader of the business is not clear on their vision, if they have not listened to the team before formulating the vision, they cannot expect any team member to have any real connection to or investment in the future of the organization. 

As Fortune Management business coaches, we regularly work with forward-thinking dentists who know they want something better for their patients and something better for their business.  They also realize they need practical support and specific coaching to get there, starting with the essential experience of setting a practice vision.  A threshold requirement for any practice is to make sure an accurate vision is created and embraced. One of Fortune’s workshops involves facilitating a discussion between doctor and staff that begins with the following question: If you had the ideal practice, what would it look like?

3.    Transformational Leadership – who will take you there?

After the team has embraced a vision and has outlined what the ideal practice looks like to them, the next question is: Who must we be, in order to achieve this ideal practice?
You can have a truck-load of systems in place, but unless you change how you show up, how you are behaving, you will likely end up back where you started.  Actual behavioral transformations will bridge the gap from where we are to where we want to be.  As a leader in the organization, the doctor must enroll all team members in this process and obtain their commitment to take the journey.  This will not work if the team is not engaged.  The process is ignited by and monitored by good leadership, but it ultimately is a team-driven process.  All members must own the vision and each member must be responsible for their transformation and for the role they play in this valuable process. 

4.    A Plan for Change – How will we get there?

In our organization, we coach practices to follow the “The Ultimate Success Formula.” 

1.    Be clear about your outcome. What specific result do I want in this area, or what result best supports the practice vision and goals?  How can we best utilize our new technology?

2.  Know your why.  Why is this outcome important to me, my team and my patients? What is the reason I must implement this strategy.  Remember, only 20% is the how... 80% is the why.

3. Take massive action and model success. Who has gotten this result before, and what can I model in their strategy?  How do we educate patients about our new technology and get them excited about the many improvements it will bring?

4. Monitor your results. Is this strategy getting us closer to our desired result? Who will be accountable for monitoring our new technology to make sure it’s profitable use is expanding?

5. Be flexible in your approach. What other strategies can I leverage to get this result? What have I not thought of? Who else might have an idea to support this result? What models exist that others have used to get this result?

5. How will you enroll others to go where they must go?

Leaders must have and believe in a great vision.  They must have the ability to influence people to follow it. If a leader cannot actually influence people, the vision will never be reached. Do you have the ability, the fire and the drive to create this energy, this influence?  Can someone help you in this important role?

This ability to influence extends beyond your practice. The world is about influence. Today’s leaders must focus on a horizon unseen by others and have the ability to inspire a team or a nation to follow them. Today’s best teams are filled with empowered people looking for something worthwhile to pursue. Their leaders understand how important it is to create fulfillment for themselves and for others in reaching this vision.

So it is a given—change is taking place in every facet of dentistry.  The technology is evolving so quickly it is hard to keep up.  But digital dentistry, properly adapted, will make your work easier and raise your standard of care.  Your best chance to embrace and profit from these changes is to have a team that is driven by a vision, is motivated by a leader, subscribes to the Plan and is willing to transform behavior.

One of the most important roles of a Fortune coach is to help doctors identify their limiting beliefs, and to assist them in creating rock-solid, life-changing beliefs that pay handsome dividends over and over again. By doing so, we help build legendary practices that create legacies beyond the lifetime of any one dentist; and, in doing so, we transform countless lives.
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