Your Winning Practice Playbook: Part 8 – Play Your Own Game

It’s fun to play defense when it leads to winning games.  However, it’s no fun playing defense when you are already behind.  That’s why it is vital, as you are reading these, to assess how effective your defense is and to apply every principle to the core four offense strategies because it’s all of these working together in concert that really make the difference.

Last week, we talked about Covering Your Man and Managing The Clock from a defensive position in order to maximize your opportunities to be on offense.

Both of these principles relate to making more time for what is most important: patient education and engagement, relationship and trust building, positive and proactive communication, and of course diagnosing and discussing complete health.

Next week’s Playbook is going to knock your socks off.  I’m telling you now to get you prepared.

Today, we are going to talk about what I believe to be the single greatest decision you as Doctor and Practice Owner can ever make and then build everything around it.  As I said last week, it really doesn’t matter what side of the ball you are on, offense or defense; this is more a mentality and a business strategy brought to life that allows you to do both on your own terms.

This is the exact reason that I wrote The Dental Practice Shift and it is the premise behind my original book way back when.  It birthed this weekly series and so much more.

It is the epitome of this next strategy that is far bigger than just a strategy and the best way to showcase the combination of Offense and Defense and how they work together to win games.

It’s called… PLAY YOUR OWN GAME!

Yes, I know it sounds simple.  But how do you employ it?  And more importantly what does it mean to you?

This is about more than just ‘dentistry on your own terms’ by setting hours and creating a lifestyle practice (which are obviously important but just the beginning).

This goes even deeper.  It is about truly living your personal philosophy and setting a standard of how you are going to practice.

The best teams go beyond just designing the playbook to fit their strengths and set themselves (and their patients) up for success.  They do more than just begin with the end in mind.  They even do more than visualizing success of every play.   

The best teams take it a step further and they say, “We already know we are going to win, in part because we rely on a proven system and have an approach to success that we follow consistently, but more importantly because we play our own game we know the outcomes before they happen.”

Before we get into though, think in your mind right now, where are you on defense in all the wrong places, where are you not playing your game, and where are you falling short of your own expectations?

Running behind. 

Insurance roadblocks.

Incomplete diagnosis.

Lack of preparation.

Supplies, labs, room turnover.

Perio lacking.

Technology not utilized.

Ineffective scheduling.

Assess this now and refocus on what ‘playing YOUR game’ looks like and how you can set yourselves up for success to win BEFORE you play with the proper things in place that lead to victory.

You might need to even take a step back in order to define the key things that you believe lead to victory in your practice.  Hint: it’s all the things we went over with our position ownership and four principles of being on offense.

Here are a few:

Detailed preparation before the day begins; that means not just reviewing charts but studying patients.

Being ahead of the schedule and having patients prepay to be in there whenever possible and especially with every anchor appointment.

Then you have the actual ‘doing dentistry on your terms’ part which is about three things: your clinical philosophy and ideals, your approach to building and organizing the treatment plan, and then your desired way to actually deliver the dentistry.

This is ultimately what ends up limiting or unlimiting your ability to increase your average appointment values, your case sizes, and your daily goals as it relates to the time/money link.

Now, these tactical parts are vitally important but it gets far bigger than this on the whole “play your game” concept in this Defense Playbook.

First, deciding what type of practice you are going to be.  At the very core, how do you describe your approach to patient care.

I use words such as relationship based, customized care, complete health, or comprehensive dentistry.  But you get to pick your own.  The key is to define them – literally – what they mean to you and then more importantly how you actually live them.

Second, deciding on the rules of engagement.  These are the covenants of your practice and what you expect your patients to agree to as well.

This includes everything from we’re on time so you’re on time to prepaying for appointments, from insurance acceptance to expectations of referrals.

You can’t leave the patient in the dark about how this game is going to be played because they have a role in it too and we’ll circle back to that in just a moment.

The third is each team member’s responsibilities and key leverage points.  What is the role each person plays on the team and what does that role entail.

It’s easy to turn everything into an excuse about why something should or shouldn’t have happened in a certain way.  Wherever exceptions are allowed exceptions can be found.  The objective is to set a state of ideal and standard of performance, and stick to it.

We did this on offense for every position, now do it on defense, so we are setting our team members up for success and the same goes for you.  We’ll be touching on this next week as well.

Finally, you have your core guiding principles that set the tone for what ‘playing your game’ looks like.  

Every leader and coach has them.  Every great team is known for them.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up or change your mind.  However, you have to play with some level of consistency and predictability because you aren’t the only one on the field.  

When are you going to require new x-rays, when you are not?  (I say every time with every patient… a topic of another time.)

What is everything you diagnose every time?  What about scans or study models or perio first or this or that?

There are enough repetitious things that occur that you have to have some general guidelines to increase predictability and speed between decisions.

Sometimes the simplest things like how do we schedule multiple family members who want new patient appointments at the same time or are coming in together?

When are we presenting ortho and cosmetics as a bundle or when is it one and then the other?

When do we need more time or less time for certain treatments?

Walk through a list of common variables with your team and then figure it out so that everyone is on the same page.  This will set the structure to play your game and then be realistic about any adjustments that will be made.

Most of all, work hard to eliminate factors that get in your way of playing your game such as insurance and reactive emergency ‘wait until’ based dentistry by being proactive and in control.

What else comes to your mind when playing your game and creating the environment you want to win in every single day?

Are you ready for the biggest secret of all?  It brings us back to the patient being a team member as well because everyone is working towards the same vision of victory.  That means you must…

Explain to them why you do certain things, the way your practice operates, how you determined your practice philosophy, and how all of this benefits them and their health.

Winning really shouldn’t be that difficult if you follow this practice playbook.

Yet, if it were that simple why doesn’t every day go perfectly?  Well it’s because of these things called mistakes.

We’re going to work to eliminate, mitigate, and prevent as many mistakes as possible when we move to our next playbook section next week.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, get to work on these strategies so you can PLAY YOUR OWN GAME and win!

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