“Practices almost never fail. What happens is the practice owner or leader gets tired and quits.”
On the way into the office on Monday morning you should be jazzed about the meaningful things you’re going to do this week to change people’s lives. Instead, you have a quiet sense of dread because of “that thing” you have to this week that is hanging over your head. Welcome to the Dental Treadmill.
Crankset Group, Progressive Dentist, and Spodak Dental Group just hosted a Get Off The Treadmill Summit (http://GOTTSummit.com). I got back yesterday and was reflecting on the “best dental summit ever – hands down” comments we got universally. It is very humbling and gratifying, but it also begs the question, “What touched the dentists and their practice leaders so deeply?” The answer to that question can get us all off the treadmill.
The monkey on your back is different then the next practice leader’s monkey. You could be dreading having to decide on which software to buy this week, and they could be loving that one. But they’ve got their feet in quick sand over how to create a better vision for the practice and that’s one that energizes you. There is no “list” of dumb stuff we have to do – it’s only dumb if it’s not the highest and best use of your energy.
A friend of mine is the CEO of Strengthscope.com USA. It’s the only psycho-babble test out there that actually tests for what you love doing, not just what you are good at doing. I’m great at some things that drain me like a car battery with all the lights on and no running engine. It’s a deceiving and wrong assumption that just because I’m good at something, I should do it. One of the many things we covered in our Summit together was how to play The Practice Leader’s Game, and how playing it will set you free. It’s one of the most transformative practices I’ve ever developed. And it’s dead simple to learn.
The Practice Leader’s Game
The Practice Leaders Game – Objective
The profound things are always simple – the Practice Leader’s Game is no exception. The objective is clear and counter-logical, “Make MORE money in LESS time.” The Industrial Age taught us the Income Producer’s Game – “Make MORE money in MORE time.”, and we dragged that right into our practice with us. Dumb. Let’s do it right – make more money in less time.
There are only two simple questions in the Practice Leader’s Game – memorize them both and ask them about every single action you take for a whole week. That could be life changing. It was for me.
The Practice Leader’s Game - Question One
Whatever you are doing, driving somewhere, working with a patient, making a crown, training an assistant, paying a bill, with everything you do, ask:
“Is what I’m doing right now the HIGHEST and BEST use of my time?”
You’ll know the answer intuitively and emotionally. It’s draining (emotional), or it actually energizes you, but there is something else that you could be doing that would make you and the practice more effective (intuitive) if you weren’t doing this. Sometimes we need Outside Eyes to help us identify things we shouldn’t be doing. Don’t be afraid to ask for input.
If the answer to Question Number One is “No, this is not the highest and best use of my time,” then ask the second question. By the way, when I started playing this game, the answer, unfortunately, was, “No”, a lot.
The Practice Leader’s Game - Question Two
“If what I’m doing is not the highest and best use of my time, then how do I do it for THE LAST TIME?”
Ninety-percent of the answer is just asking the right question, and if you want to get off the treadmill and get freedom to perform at your highest and best, this is the right question. No other question will free you like this one. If you want the answer, you’ll find it. That answer can come in the form of hiring someone, training someone, buying a piece of software to replace your personal effort, creating or modifying a process, or buying or updating a piece of equipment. And more often than you think, the answer will be to just stop doing it. It’s amazing how many things we do that make no material impact anymore – habits born from yesterday’s necessity.
The rest of the Summit was learning ways to answer Question Number Two, but the important thing to know is that if you want an answer bad enough, if you want freedom from those things you dread, you’ll keep going until you find the solution.
Sometimes doing something for the last time takes three or even six more months to get it off your plate. But when you design the answer, the weight will already be off because you will have moved from being a hostage to that dreaded thing, to seeing it come off your plate very soon. Do that once a month for a year and watch the joy come back into your practice. And, by the way, you will be giving those things away to someone else who loves doing them, so everybody is in their highest and best use of time and talents.
It’s life changing, it really is. Try it. Then repeat it every month until you get a spring back in your step coming in on Mondays. At that point you’ll have a practice you can sell but won’t want to, because you’re having too much fun.
Let’s play the Practice Leader’s Game and let’s figure out how to make more money in less time, get off the dental treadmill, and get back to the passion that brought us into dentistry in the first place.
Carpe freaking freedom already!
by Chuck Blakeman