If you’re like me, you probably get frustrated when things don’t work out. I’m not talking about surprises. I’m talking about that time the assistant comes to tell you that the lab case isn’t back on time and the patient is due to come in the next day. This, after you’ve carefully built a lab tracking policy with team involvement, had everyone review it at multiple team meetings and agree that they would follow it. Yet, there you are, the day before a patient is due for delivery and the appliance isn’t in the office.
Companies run on policies and systems. We come up with ideas about running our practices and the policies and systems help us achieve our goals and reduce our stress. When well-designed and implemented properly, systems keep things humming, but when they fall apart, trouble follows.
This isn’t about your reaction or leadership style. It’s about the simple question that every dental professional has asked over and over again. “Why is it so tough for team members to follow policies and why does it consume so much of our time?”
I’ve spent the better part of 27 years in practice developing systems, watching them fail, then developing new systems that hopefully work better. Sometimes they do well enough. Sometimes they don’t. We’ve developed simple systems and complex systems. We’ve had them in writing and in video. Yet, time and again, the systems are simply not followed as carefully as they should and problems arise.
I’ve even worked in “corporate” practices where inordinate amounts of time have been spent by highly paid executives whose sole responsibility has been to create a well-run organization and yet, even here the systems fail.
Now, I totally understand that no system is foolproof, but if you go to any Facebook group, you’ll see countless threads about any number of items related to systems that aren’t being followed. Vacations to sick leave, lab tracking to supply ordering. Why can’t we simply get a handle on everything, or at least mostly everything?
Is this a problem with us having too high expectations, or is it a function of not hiring the right people, or is it a combination of both? If you’ve overcome this issues, what have you done?
I’d love to hear from you.
Wishing you the best,
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GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.