The Foolish Mistakes Practice Owners Make – Are You Guilty?

You know I can’t help myself. How often do I get to write on April Fool’s Day? Sadly, with the state of affairs these days, it seems we are all on the receiving end of an ill-timed prank. I keep waking up expecting someone to jump out of the TV and yell “April Fools!” Alas, it hasn’t happened – yet. Maybe tomorrow?

But hey, we aren’t here to talk about all of the Problems out there. This place we’ve created together will remain focused on a different set of P’s…

People equals potential equals possibilities equals prosperity and of course we can add one more, peace of mind.

And you should consider the health of your patients as a form of prosperity as well, it’s not just dollars and cents. Achieving optimal health is a wealth all its own. The more you enhance someone’s life through their health and well-being the richer you are making them. The more prosperous they become in self-worth, confidence, and dignity, the more they get to enjoy their life and pour themselves into their own possibilities instead of spending all their time, energy, and money patching up problems.

You do this for your patients. How amazing is that! But do you truly embrace and embody it?

Now, let’s move back to the original topic for you in honor of this day of oddities called April Fool’s.

The reality of most Practice Owner’s lives is that they are doing foolish things without even realizing it. Often times because they are following someone’s or something’s ideas without understanding the implications it has on their ability to do dentistry on their own terms.

It’s the equivalent of playing by rules without knowing how you win the game.

As I talked about last week, you design your practice to serve your life and design your dentistry to serve your purpose, passion, profits.

It’s foolish to blindly follow others when you don’t know where they are going, what they are after, or when they expect to get there.

It’s foolish to accept anything (in particular the status quo) as fact when you haven’t tested it, broken it, or at least questioned it.

It’s foolish to care about anyone’s criticism of your approach or judgment of your goals, as it all comes from a place of selfishness or envy or lack of responsibility for their own lives.

All of these foolish mindsets are what hold doctors back.

The one we usually talk about is your belief of what is possible. Whether you are problem focused or solution focused, negative or positive, see all the reasons why something won’t work or why it will.

However, all of the positive attitude will still only take you so far. If you are making these foolish mistakes that are certain to keep you stuck on a plateau with no path to achieve higher levels going forward.

Last week, I gave you a couple bonus video segments where I answered questions from independent private practice owners just like you who were stuck in a mindset of foolish thought about insurance and profitability, among other things.

All of my responses begin first with a paradigm shift from a position of limited thinking to a responsibility of taking full control over outcomes in order to predictably engineer the results that you want.

Here is one example…

It’s foolish to become a doctor and then have an insurance company tell you they know better than you do about what a patient does or doesn’t need, should or shouldn’t receive.

It’s even more foolish to own a business and then have someone else dictate to you what you should be paid.

It’s even more foolish to let patients be at the mercy of insurance companies in how they make decisions about their own health.

You see, this is exactly my point. Even when someone knows better they will place the blame on an outside variable and accept the role of victim; instead of changing the mindset around it and battling it back with proven strategies.

The solution to my insurance example is to explain the benefits and value to the patient and how it’s in their best interest. Be proud of clinical philosophy and stand by your recommendations. Period. You can’t be accommodating to every patient by breaking all of your own rules and going against all of your own principles.

The same goes for the profitability of your practice. Every doctor around this time of year looks at their P and L and wonders where all the money went and how could they have so little to show for all the work yet still have to pay so much in taxes.

This is because doctors are foolishly leaving practice decisions to an accountant who is reviewing computer screens and bank statements – after the fact. Instead of having any reasonable understanding of the reality of your cash as it is flowing through the practice and into your life; they simply advise to reduce your tax liability (as if that’s your reason for existence).

On top of that, the most foolish thing any business owner could do is to forget the entire point is to make greater profits so you have more control over your future (and your team’s future) and more options on the table to help your patients.

The first objective is never to pay as little taxes as possible – it’s to make as much money as possible.

Fools get everything out of order. They see what is an inferior priority as the focal point and miss the greater values which makes all others less significant. Fools literally step over dollars to pick up dimes just because they can fit more in their pockets.

I’ve got a couple more foolish thoughts for you here and to go along with them, I have some additional Q and A videos that I recorded from the other two Freedoms I presented in my Radically Better Way To Practice Dentistry training.

Aside from succumbing to insurance and letting it run through the minds of the people in your practice, and delegating your practice ownership decisions to your CPA – these two videos address the two places I find doctors are the most foolish in how they see and then execute with the two most valuable assets in their practice.

Time and Team.

What you do with your Time and your Team has everything to do with what you will be able to achieve and get out of your practices. It will be interesting to see if you are being foolish with these.

Time Freedom Questions…

The flip from foolish to smart on schedule is quite simple. You protect your time and leave more of it available for what you want to do and less available for what you don’t.

Of course, you have to create the dentistry to put into it… a topic for another time. The irony of doctors who are questioning why they aren’t hitting bigger goals but never looking at (let alone tracking) the actual dollars of case acceptance, the size of their treatment plans, and how they are breaking down their appointments. Here are a few of the questions I answer…

If I’m busting my tail right now working 48+ weeks a year, if I scale back the total days worked, don’t I have to offset that by increasing hours per day?

Creating the ideal schedule is great – but how do I keep it filled with ideal patients?

Do I have to micro-manage every second of my operation to achieve the kind of scheduling you recommend?

If I have everything locked down so tight, how do we handle emergencies – both for existing patients and potential patients?

Watch My Video Answer Here…

Turnover Freedom Questions…

And then you have the team… I’m going to make you watch the video for this one.

The foolish part is thinking that you can fake it. That means your authentic interest and actual desire to be a great leader and develop your people is vital. You can’t shortcut this without damaging the culture and hindering their ability to perform, which means it directly impacts your own return on investment and more importantly the autonomy. A preview of the questions…

How do I deal with the team member who has the potential to be great, but for whatever reason(s) just seems unwilling or unable to get there?

As much as I’d love a team packed with highly motivated superstars, doesn’t the 80-20 rule mean it’s just not possible to make that happen?

I would love to reward my team more, but they can’t seem to get past the notion that it’s just a job – nothing more. How do I get them to embrace the vision?

Watch My Video Answer Here…

I’ve given you a lot of truth today on ways practice owners act as fools and hold themselves back. And this sure isn’t an April Fool’s Joke.