5 ways for your dental practice to keep its momentum

February 18, 2016

Change takes time commitment and perseverance. The good news is that, whatever change you want to make, building a plan and setting mile markers will help you keep on track.

You made some changes in January with the hope of growing or improving your practice in 2016. However, staying on track with your change is challenging. It is easy to lose sight of the final outcomes when there are many patient needs and tasks filling your day.

Don’t let your goals and dreams for your practice get left behind, especially if you experience setbacks (or haven’t quite started yet). Keeping in mind the good work and effort you and your staff have made so far, I wanted to share some tips on how to stay motivated and keep on track. These are common whenever a change is put in play. Here are some ways to keep focused and reach your desired outcomes:

1. Set a deadline: Deciding when you want to achieve your goal is important to holding yourself and your staff accountable to change. If there is no end date, it can be difficult to prioritize. There are so many different and varied activities going on in your practice every day, so the best way to make room for your goal is to have an intended date of completion.

More from the author: 5 things to remember when making changes

2. Set mile markers: To ensure that you are on track to meet your goals, set a series of smaller goals that will let you know if you are on pace to achieving your desired outcome. Make sure these are measurable, so that everyone on the team is accountable and success is easily quantified. If you start to miss a couple of these in a row, it is time to sit down and reevaluate your goal. Ask yourself “Are there unexpected issues arising?” or “Is my timeline reasonable?” Use this reflection to adjust as needed.

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3. Plan rewards: Rewards are important and people need to be acknowledged for their efforts. Rewarding is the step that is most often overlooked, but it is also one of the most important. You and your staff have worked very hard to make changes, grow the practice, or attract new patients. This hard work should be acknowledged. Take time to say thank you, or consider other awards. Lunches, bonuses, or other small gestures mean a lot to those who have put effort into helping you meet your goals. You can do this both for the mile markers and the larger end goal.

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4. Share feedback: If you intend to stay in private practice for the foreseeable future, you will likely develop new goals and plans for growing your practice. How you worked to achieve your goal and what challenges you faced can be used to shape future plans for adjustments to your practice. Talk to your team about how the process went, both good and bad and how these challenges could be addressed in the future.

5. Keep adjusting: Sometimes the world throws you a curve ball. Be flexible; it can be next to impossible to predict all possible outcomes. The key to success is possessing the willingness to reevaluate and make adjustments to your plan as necessary.

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Change takes time commitment and perseverance. The good news is that, whatever change you want to make, building a plan and setting mile markers will help you keep on track. Don’t lose momentum in 2016 as the months progress; we all experience setbacks. Keeping track and making adjustments to unexpected concerns will keep you on the way to improving your practice so that you can help your patients.