By Dustin S. Burleson, DDS — WHEN IT COMES to managing a business, there is one name that stands out above all others – Peter Drucker. Although he died several years ago at the age of 95, he left a legacy on the topic of management that will be difficult for others to surpass. Considered an expert, or guru, on the topic, he brought the idea of management to the forefront – a place where it has remained ever since.
Management is the idea behind taking charge of every aspect of your life. This includes your practice. It would be great if we could open the doors to our practice and just kick back and wait for things to happen. Just wait for the patients to begin calling and coming in for their appointments. But as much as we may want that to happen and as nice as it would be, it’s not likely to ever happen. In reality, if you want to be successful, in both your personal and business lives, you have to make things happen. You do that by taking charge, or managing every aspect of your life.
If there is an important lesson that I have learned over the years in practice is that I cannot do it alone. Neither can you. Running a successful dental or orthodontic practice is a team effort. But that team is only going to help you reach your goals if you are a great manager and make the right moves and decisions to begin with. What do I mean by that? Going back to Drucker, in management theory he placed an emphasis on making sure that you lead others and are effective at it. He also believed it was crucial to hire the right people to be on your team.
Hire the wrong people and no matter how good of a coach or manager you are, there is a chance you will never get those people off the bench and into the game. They may never care who wins or pay attention that there is a game going on. They are too busy focusing on a million other things that have nothing to do with your practice or their job. But on the flip side, if you hire the right people, it can do wonders. Hiring the right talent to work in your office can make a tremendous difference in the success of your practice and in how easy it is for you to manage. The right people come together as a team to make your management duties easier. They understand your goals, missions, and philosophy, and they work to help carry them out.
Measuring, Then Managing
Imagine if you opened the doors of your practice and a year later a colleague asked you how it was going and if you were having success. You scratch your head and say that you really don’t know if it is successful. I suppose if the doors are still open there is some level of success present, but that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Maybe you are biding time having the doors open. Perhaps you are only doing a fraction of what your business is actually capable of doing in your area.
The problem here is that if you don’t measure things, you can’t really know for sure if your business is successful. Within your practice, it is important to have things to measure. These things will help you determine if you are headed in the right direction, growing as a company, and if you are successful.
So how will you measure success at your practice? Is it the number of repeat patients you have? How about the dollar amount of business you do each year? Or perhaps it is measured in the satisfaction you get out of loving what you do each day. There are many ways to measure, but you have to have something to measure. Only then can you determine if you are reaching goals, as well as the level of success you would like to have in your practice.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” – Peter Drucker
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