How to Lead Your Practice During Challenging Times

In dentistry, it’s not a matter of if challenges will arise. It’s a matter of when those challenges will arise and what the nature of those challenges will be. They can be practice specific, due to a local event or health problem with yourself or a key team member. Or, they can be broader, like the Covid-19 pandemic that started in late 2019.
Challenges test our practice and leadership strength. If our practices are sound, we will be better prepared to navigate the challenging times. If our leadership is strong, we will be much better positioned to support our teams and maintain a healthy practice.

But none of it is easy. And some of it is out of our control. No matter what, the way we respond to the challenge will go a long way to determining how it works out for our practice, our team members, and ourselves in the end.

Here is how you can rise to the occasion, to lead your practice with strength, even in the most challenging times.

1. Stay true to who you are.

The first steps to building a WOW practice include setting a vision for your practice and determining your practice culture and values. During challenging times, it is even more important to lean into your vision, culture, and core values. Use those as a filter through which you make decisions. If you need to make cuts to save the practice, how can you do that in a way that stays true to your culture and core values? How would you deliver the message?

Difficult decisions and conversations often must be made. Make those decisions consistent with your vision, culture, and core values but within the context of your circumstances. That will help you make better decisions and conduct any challenging conversations with the right heart.

2. Focus on relationships, not transactions.

Any crisis will make people worry about their jobs, especially one that reaches far and wide, like the Covid-19 pandemic. That does not only include your team members. It also includes your patients. Be sensitive to the reality of the world around you, and focus on building deeper relationships with the people who matter most to your practice—your team members and your patients.

With the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily closing many dental practices for non-emergencies, you have an opportunity to build deeper relationships with the people who matter most to your practice. This can take several forms, including having team members reach out to patients to check in on how they are doing without any attempt to schedule an appointment. Let them know you care about them and wanted to call and see how they were doing. They will appreciate the outreach and see you for who you really are: a caring group of neighbors.

If you can perform emergency procedures, let them know that, while you are closed for non-emergencies, you are here for them if they need urgent care. It will help put their mind at ease that while you are closing for the greater good of the community, you are not abandoning them. If you are looking for solutions for virtual consults, have a listen to this interview about how virtual consults work.

Also, let your team members know how much you appreciate them and keep them informed with the reality of the challenge. Be open and transparent about the reality and, if you need to let people go, help them apply for available benefits. You can even reach out to them to keep them updated on when the practice might be in a position to hire them back. Here is where you can learn more about Employment Considerations in Uncertain Times.

Investing in treating the most important people to your practice well—and not just focusing on patient or employment transactions—will pay dividends for years to come.

 

3. Look for opportunities.

In every challenging time, there will be opportunities. There will be opportunities to help. There will be opportunities to limit the downsides. And there even will be opportunities to thrive.

What opportunities do you see around you? Could you invest in training for your hygienists? What about your front office team? Could you invest in putting new systems or processes in place? What about putting together a social media strategy for your dental practice or building dental marketing funnels for when things pick up. Zoom is a great resource for having virtual meetings with your team to work on the business.

Can you start a Facebook group for local dental professionals navigating the challenge? You could rise to a community leader and even find high-performers to hire for your practice when things turn around. Whether it’s internally or externally focused, in any challenge, you will find opportunities to come out on the other side of the challenge stronger.

Delivering WOW is here to help train your teams during this time and is providing FREE Training for the next 4 weeks through our Delivering WOW Platinum online training portal. (Use the code FIGHTCOVID) to get started. We will also be hosting a Facebook Live 12 Day Summit on the Delivering WOW Facebook Page starting Monday, March 23rd.

 

4. Focus on the present, not the past or even the future.

When challenges arise, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut focusing on things of the past or stressing about an uncertain future. The strongest leaders, however, focus on the present. If your systems weren’t strong, put new ones in place. If your team training was lacking, start training your team. Stressing about what put your practice in the condition it is today is natural, but it won’t help you come out any stronger.

The same is true about the future. An unlimited number of variables will impact the future, and there’s no way to predict exactly what it will look like. And when you’re in the midst of a challenging time, it’s hard to see a positive future ahead. But we have gone through crises before, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the tunnel is longer than we expect. Sometimes it is shorter. But the tunnel will end, and the future will be better and brighter if you focus on making the best decisions in the present.

 

5. Decide who you want to become, and begin working toward making that a reality.

What type of leader do you wish you had during times of crisis? What type of leader do you think your team members need? Visualize that leader, and work toward becoming that leader.

Crises give us an opportunity to rise to the occasion and become the leader we were meant to be. It happens with every crisis. Someone rises to the occasion and shows grit, resiliency, and determination they didn’t even know they had inside them. You can be that leader, rising to the occasion to lead your team like never before.

6. Focus on what you can control.

You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control your responses. Even in good times, life is unpredictable. And in challenging times, there will be many more things that are out of your control than are in your control.

But at all times, there will be one thing you can control: your response. Your results will be determined by how you respond to the events around you.
When times get tough and the stress levels rise, ask yourself what part of your circumstances you can control. Then make the best decisions possible about what you can control, and you will make the best out of any situation.

7. Be creative and resourceful.

It can be very hard, especially for those of us who are used to a routine but, in challenging times, the most creative and resourceful leaders will come out strongest. Encourage your team members to do the same.

This could be as simple as looking for alternatives to in-demand items before you need them. Be ready to order those alternatives because those might be in short supply down the road. Resourcefulness is a skill that will come in handy for a long time.

8. Express gratitude daily.

No matter how bad things get, there will always be room for gratitude. Every day, wake up and name three things you’re grateful for, even if it’s just clean linens, hot coffee, and fresh air to breathe. When things get stressful, take a moment to repeat the exercise. Look for things to be grateful for in everything you do.
Gratitude is powerful. It puts things in perspective. It helps us focus on what matters most in life. It often makes us realize that, no matter what happens with our practices, we have what matters most in life and will be okay in the long term.

9. Stay connected with other leaders.

In times of crisis—especially world-wide ones like the Covid-19 pandemic—the collective wisdom of those around you will help get through it.
Join Facebook groups like the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout. Follow the guidance of local or national dental associations, like the ADA, which issued important guidance about performing emergency and nonemergency dental care during the coronavirus pandemic.

The other leaders will help share vital information about resources, restrictions, and decisions they’re making. They will also be shoulders to lean on to help you more confidently lead your team well.

You have what it takes to lead your team through challenging times.

If there’s one thing that’s true about dental professionals everywhere, it’s that we all have the ability to lead our teams well, even during times of crisis.
We have a strong work ethic. Otherwise, we would not have made it through our education and training. We have strong decision-making skills. Without them, we would not be able to help patients make the best decisions for their health. And we have strong interpersonal skills. Otherwise, we would not survive in such a high-touch industry like dentistry.

And in times of crisis, we have an opportunity to demonstrate the best of our abilities and lead our teams better than we ever have before. You have what it takes. If you need help, join me and thousands of other dental professionals in my FREE Facebook group, the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout. We’re here to support you.

Delivering WOW is here to help train your teams during this time and is providing FREE Training for the next 4 weeks through our Delivering WOW Platinum online training portal. (Use the code FIGHTCOVID) to get started. We will also be hosting a Facebook Live 12 Day Summit on the Delivering WOW Facebook Page starting Monday, March 23rd.

Virtual Solutions to Help Assist Through COVID-19

Virtual Solutions to Help Assist Through COVID-19

In this trying time when the world is faced with so much uncertainty and fear, it’s more important than ever that we come together as a community – even if that means we can only interact virtually.

The ADA (American Dental Association) is recommending that dentists nationwide postpone elective procedures in response to the spread of the coronavirus disease. This is said to last for at least three weeks, but it may continue longer depending on the development of COVID-19.

In response, I decided to reach out to Michael Anderson, the Co-Founder of Wonderist Agency, a full-service dental marketing agency. Wonderist Agency delivers the best in dental marketing, with a smile. They also specialize in virtual consults, which is something that many dental practices are likely to shift towards during this difficult time to connect with patients and team members alike.

Michael and I discuss how dental practices can leverage virtual solutions to help assist through COVID-19 such as hosting virtual consultations with patients, training team members, and how to cope with the impact that COVID-19 will have on things like patient care, team training and revenue.

 

Virtual Solutions to Help Assist Through COVID-19

 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to leverage virtual consults
  • How to determine what cases are classified as emergencies
  • How you can be there for your team and patients during trying times like this
  • Everything you need to know about hosting virtual consults
  • How to use Wonderist’s virtual consult software at no cost

 

Virtual Solutions to Help Assist Through COVID-19

 

If you want to use the same virtual software that Michael talked about in this podcast episode, head over to https://www.yourvirtualconsult.com, where you can access the software at no cost during this time.

Although the site will ask for your credit card information to sign-up, you will NOT be charged. Remember to use code FIGHTCOVID19 to benefit from the no cost virtual consults offer.

I hope that you find this episode helpful and please know that my team and I here at Delivering WOW are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers and we hope that you, your families, and team members stay safe and healthy.

To watch the full episode as a video, hit play below: