Whose Problem Is It Anyway?

by Dr. Ron Arndt

My clients come to me, THE DENTAL COACH©, to assist them in resolving the problems in their dental practice. One of the problems they experience in their offices is that of last minute cancellations and no-show patients. A lot of finger pointing happens when this problem arises. Blame is placed just about everywhere — the office manager who doesn’t enforce the policy; the doctor who lets his or her favorite patients come in whenever; the appointment coordinator who does not call to confirm appointments consistently enough.

We have an innate human desire to achieve better results – but we hesitate to look at ourselves and make the concerted effort to change. We point fingers and blame others. It’s so much easier. The doctor says it’s the staff’s problem and the staff insists it’s the doctor’s problem.

The real problem is our comfort zone. Our brains are wired to perceive the pain of making the change worse than actually making the change. Making a change means effort – it means going the extra mile.

So, how do you get your office as a whole to stop blaming and start moving?

1.      Clearly outline the problem. What is working great? What could be improved upon?

2.      What is the desired result? (Make this a tangible metric – i.e. a 75% decrease in short-notice open schedule time)

3.      Collectively list all of the possible action steps together, and decide, as a team, which action plan is best.

4.      Determine who will handle the necessary follow-up and who is the champion of this project.

Remember: If you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got.

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