The biggest mistakes dentists make: Not delegating to team members

December 14, 2015

Based on his extensive experience with dentists in the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Based on his extensive experience with dentists in the past 30 years, Dr. Roger P. Levin has authored a new book entitled The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make. His premise is simple. As he says in the introduction, “We can learn from our mistakes. But isn’t it better to learn from other people’s mistakes?”

Following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book.

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Mistake #13: Not delegating to team members

How many non-clinical activities do you delegate to staff? Some, most, or nearly all? Your answer should be “nearly all.” That’s what successful practice leaders do. They spend 98 percent of their day on patient care. Everything else is delegated to appropriate staff members.

These doctors focus almost exclusively on what they excel at, which is dentistry. They produce anywhere from $8 to $12 million in additional revenue every 20 years in their career.

At Levin Group, we call these doctors “Level IV Leaders.”

Unfortunately, most doctors don’t get to this level. They get stuck, spending the majority of their careers as Level III Leaders. This is the level where doctors try to do too much themselves and won’t let go of administrative activities. Sometimes, it’s because they feel they are the only ones who can do a certain task the right way. Instead of treating patients and producing income, the doctor is wasting his or her time on nonclinical activities.

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Professional athletes devote their time to practicing and playing their sport. Does LeBron James run up in the stands and sell hot dogs in the middle of a game? Does Aaron Rodgers take ticket orders for next season in between snaps? No. They’re both focused on producing for their teams. As a dentist, you have to focus on what you should be doing right now to get the maximum benefit from all your skills and training as a dentist.

Level III doctors live their life by filtering everything through the question: When am I going to do this? Level IV doctors live by a very different question: Who is going to do this? These doctors excel at delegation. They train their teams and trust them to get the job done.

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Nobody starts as a Level IV Leader. Early in a career, when financial resources are scarce, it’s perfectly normal for dentists to do more than simply see patients. As Level I Leaders, new dentists are full of energy and enthusiasm but have little experience as a leader. After a few years, they become more competent managing staff and advance to Level II. As their offices become more successful, dentists continue to hold onto nonclinical tasks which they had ample time to perform early in their careers. At Level III, this is how dentists get into trouble. Their practices now have so many patients that doctors must let go of all nonclinical activities. If they don’t master delegation, they choke off any real growth for the business.

Don’t become the bottleneck at your practice. Learn to delegate, clearing the way for greater practice growth.

The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Makehas now been published and is available for just $59 at the Levin Group Store.

Save $50 on doctor tuition for Dr. Levin’s “Ignite Your Production” seminars in San Francisco on Feb.11 or in Atlanta on Feb. 18. Use code DPM50 during sign-up to receive your savings.

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