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Vision and Clarity

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Lesson #5: CORE Lesson #5 – The Practice Within a Practice

About This Lesson

In this lesson, you are going to learn how to start to build your ideal practice within the current practice you already have!

Action Items

1. Do a weekly and monthly time study to see where you spend the majority of your time in the practice.

2. Spend time with your team looking at ways you can maximize your leverage and productivity in your current practice.

3. Start to create your blue ocean by designating a segment of time each week to crafting your blue ocean.

Full Video Transcript / MP3

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Hey, hey, what is up? This is Dr. Steve Schluentz. I want to welcome you back to another video. In this video, what we're going to do is break down further vision and clarity by talking about how do you build a practice within a practice. So if you remember where we're at, we are on module number one, which is vision and clarity, and we're going to really start to pinpoint how do you build a practice within a practice.

Now, what I want to do is start to get you thinking about this, and the reality is this five minute video is not going to solve all of your problems. But then a common question that I get from dentists is: How do I slow this practice down? How do I move in a new direction? It is a challenge, especially if your practice is larger, and the faster it goes the harder it's going to be to slow down. I'm going to talk a little bit about that. But here's what you want to do. You're going to start to think about, if you're in a large practice and maybe it's a PPO-based practice, maybe you're saying, "I don't even know how to start to think about creating a fee for service practice when my practice is built around PPOs." Here's my suggestion. If you're struggling with that, please reach out to me. I'm serious. I can get you the direction that you need. You don't want to do something where you're going to regret it later. You really are, but you also don't want to not move towards the direction of the practice you want to go because of the thing you've already created.

Bob Proctor would call that letting present circumstances dictate future results. We won't move because we're so afraid that what's currently going on is going to prohibit us from moving towards what it is that we want, and you first have to start moving towards what it is that you want in order to get this new result, okay? So it can be done. No matter where you're at, you have to understand that it can be done, but you're going to start very small. This is not going to happen overnight and it didn't happen overnight in my practice. I'm continually working on this. I had a practice that the previous dentist had been there for 40 some years. It was a single tooth practice. That's what he focused on. There's nothing good or bad about it. It just was. Some of those patients were in that structure for so long that there was no way that I was moving them out of that structure.

Now, here's the thing. As a dentist, you have similar structures. You have something built in place that's currently getting you the result that you have. You cannot change the result without changing the underlying structure. You have to understand that. So if you're in PPOs and you're starting to move away from that, understand you have to go slow because if you rock the boat too much, your profitability will plummet and you don't want to have that happen. You want to have the financial resources available for you to be able to move at your own pace, not put yourself in a struggle financially and then eventually get to where these little smaller sessions that you're moving towards a wellness-based practice or whatever you're doing. It doesn't have to be a wellness-based practice. That's just where the majority of dentists that I talked to, they want to provide more service for their patients and they can't do that because they're limited by their current office structure. You're going to be moving very slowly, but you are going to be moving.

So what you want to do is start with a half day, once a week in your practice and expand from there. Now, some of you might not even be able to do that. It might be an hour a week, okay? You just got to start someplace. You don't have to spend a whole day. You don't have to change it two or three days at a time; a half day. Progress, not perfection, is the key on all of this. If you have a high volume practice, for example, you're basically slowing down a fast moving train. It will take some time. But I want you to think of this analogy and I want you to get this visual image. You, right now, if you're in a high volume practice, you might enjoy that, but chances are you probably don't, especially if you're a solo provider, you're thinking, "There's no way I can continue to do this my whole life. I don't feel fulfilled. I don't feel satisfied. I'm not helping my patients where I want to help them."

You are in the smack dab middle of what we called that red ocean. All you want to do is focus on creating a little tiny blue dot in your practice. That's going to be the start, and then you're going to expand that blue dot; you're going to expand that blue dot; and eventually what you're going to do is, building from the inside out, that blue dot will become more and more blue, bigger and bigger and bigger. And three to five years from now, you're going to look at where your practice is and not know how you got there. Just like you probably are thinking, "How did I get to this point?" You had a structure, it created a result. It might have been a non-existent structure, but that structure created the result you're currently getting. So in order for you to change the result, you have to change this underlying structure.

Once you do that, if you're continually moving, working towards building this practice within a practice, you will find that three to five years is about how long it takes for you to kind of bring in a new level of patient, bring in a new level of profitability and provide more meaningful dentistry for the patients you serve.

So the action steps for this video is I want you to first start by just assessing where you're at. Do a weekly and then a monthly time study to see where you spend the majority of your time. You can do both clinical and non-clinical. In the clinical realm, start to list all the procedures. You could call them A, B and C procedures. You could call them high priority procedures, medium, low priority procedures. Or you could do what I did: procedures I can't stand; procedures I love doing. Start to focus on how much time is spent on procedures I can't stand and how much time is spent on procedures that I love, and how can I start to improve both these ratios. How can I eliminate the stuff I don't want to do and how can I do more of the stuff I do want to do?

Most dentists don't like doing dentures, right? I am one of those people. So I looked at it and I said, "Well, I do about two dentures a month, a denture a month, something like that. I just don't want to do dentures anymore. Problem solved. Don't do them. It is a very rare case that I do a denture. Don't do partials. Very rare case that I do a partial. So I started to list all the ones I didn't enjoy doing and I said, "I'm just not doing them anymore." You will find some dentists are concerned that when they do that they lose profitability. Your profitability will probably increase because you're doing more services that you love doing, you'll be better at those services.

So once you do this weekly and monthly time study, you spend time with your team looking at ways you can maximize your leverage and productivity on the existing practice. I'm going to be very crystal clear on this. The existing practice to me is that red ocean you are currently in. What you want to do is maximize productivity in that red ocean. There's a great book, if you haven't read it, it's called the Four Disciplines of Execution and it's all about this whirlwind, the thing that happens all the time, You're not going to change that overnight. So you just keep functioning in that environment. But what you can do is start to say, "How do I maximize my productivity in this existing structure?" Then all of the time that we're spending on office meetings and things of that nature, we're trying to create more blue in our practice.

Then action step number three is starting to create your blue ocean by spending just a fragment of each week dedicated towards that blue ocean. It will never happen unless you make a decision that I am creating a blue ocean and it starts today and it starts with this. That is the only way this is going to change. So you got some really good action steps to work on. This is not easy, but it is one of the most important things you can do. Spend some time with your team; really start to focus on this time study; start to focus on the stuff you want to do, that you don't want to do; and start to block off a little bit of time every week that you're going to be doing more of what you consider your blue ocean. I'll see you at the next video.