As we continue to work through our new “normal” I want to support everyone (all my services are currently complimentary whether you are a client or not) and provide you with something you can work on everyday as feeling uncertain is always best balanced with completing tasks to feel that we are in control of our outcomes.
We are all aware that our industry will have many changes when we return to work so that we are protected from aerosols. The dental community already has one member (Endodontist no recent travel history) on a ventilator, we want to ensure that our entire industry is well protected moving forward.
Most elite athletes use visualization of solutions so that they are prepared for anything they may run into during competition. I suggest at this time you may want to start using visualization for how you would like your practice to look when return, when you visualize, ensure that you add in every small detail you may need not just the “grand” idea.
As dentists, what can be done while we are “working from home” to support our success when we return?
- You best defense is always knowledge; do you know what your break-even point is in your practice? Calculating your break-even number for your practice is essential as your current goals will need to be reset. Your break-even number is the calculation of all of your costs (team salaries, supplies, fixed costs, equipment leases, taxes, your take home). If you need some support in finding these figures, I will be happy to help you with this calculation. Having this number in the back of your mind will help you set daily goals in the initial return to work.
- If you make a list of each of your team members and decide if they are an engaged team member or a disengaged team member. If you decide they are an engaged team member (reliable attendance, team player, pleasant with both patients and team, open to suggestion, provides suggestions for office improvement) then write them a note or email letting them know that you appreciate their contributions to the office. If you feel that a team member is disengaged, figure out if it is circumstances in the office or personal circumstances that are making them disengaged. Work on a plan to help this team member become engaged when we return, still send them a note of appreciation during this crisis. If you find that a large portion of your team is disengaged, some self-reflection of your engagement level may be needed.
- I would suggest you call each member of the team and connect with them personally to see how they are managing. I would then ask the following two questions. The first question would be, “On a scale of one to ten how would you rate this practice?” Write down their answer. The second question is “What would it take to make this office a ten?” If you don’t feel comfortable asking for feedback, you can connect with me (whether you are a client or not, this is a complimentary service) and I will be happy to connect with your team and collect the feedback for you.
- When we return to work, we will need to be very cognitive that most of the population will have had financial hardships during COVID-19. You can start to write some new payment protocols now. If your office doesn’t take assignment already you may want to consider that as a service to your patients. You will still collect co-pays at their appointment. We need to be very careful with RCDSO billing rules and providing patient discounts will not be acceptable unless they comply with RCDSO rulings. To work around this, you may want to look at offering time limited payment plans, even for hygiene (with a credit card on record). All of these solutions do require more work for your admin team, we need to keep in mind that patient oriented solutions are the key when we return.
One of the best podcasts I have ever listened to about leadership in times of crisis is from Peter Attia (The Drive) when he interviewed Ric Elias (November 2019). It is lengthy but worth the listen about leadership in the face of crisis. Here is the link: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/the-peter-attia-drive/id1400828889?i=1000456455987
Have a good week and if you need any support know that I am here for you.