Why discovery is important for every dental practice heading into 2021

By Kevin Henry, DrBicuspid.com editor in chief

October 26, 2020 -- A shift is upon us as we near the end of 2020, Nancy Clark Crossin, founder of DIY Digital Dental Consulting, told me in a recent phone call.

"Now is our opportunity to reimagine and reset our life's trajectory," she said. "In business, we need to go back to basics, the foundation, or what we call the 'discovery process.' Discovery is similar to comprehensive data collection, which facilitates a diagnosis and a treatment plan for successful outcomes."

Although we can't predict the future, we can plan for it. As the first step, discovery consists of a comprehensive series of thought-provoking questions, and the answers become the foundation for creating your renewed vision for tomorrow's reality, according to Crossin.

With that in mind, we asked the DIY Digital Dental Consulting team, including Crossin, for their thoughts and perspectives on the discovery process.

Nancy Clark Crossin

"Discovery is the foundation and the first step in defining vision, mission, purpose, your why, and your road map. To effectively move forward and achieve stability, greater business success, and positive outcomes, the discovery process is essential."

Jan Keller

"Without clarity, a clear purpose, a vision (where you want to grow), a mission (how you want to grow), and a philosophy (why you do what you do and the benefits for the team and patients), without all of this, what is the point? Not knowing the answers to these questions is one of the biggest blind spots in dentistry. Discovery provides the process to answer these critical questions."

Dr. Jeanette Kern

"Have you ever wondered what a successful high-level practice looks like from the inside? What did it take for them to achieve that level?

"The discovery process is the most crucial step you will take because it all starts with you and your definition of success. Taking a deep dive into what really matters to you and your goals, you will see what's holding you back from achieving them. By discovering what you really want your business to be, what financial goals you have, and the type of team you will lead, the initial discovery will provide your road map."

Candice Martin

"If a practice owner has the goal to grow the practice and achieve a higher level of success, the discovery process is essential. With every goal, there needs to be clarity and then an action plan.

"The discovery process will help you:

  • Identify your values and what your purpose is
  • Decide what image you want to project to your team as well as the community
  • Determine where your practice currently is and what your ideal practice looks like
  • Assess your communication and leadership skills
  • Acknowledge accomplishments and realize areas in which to improve
  • Create a clear vision and a step-by-step process on how to get there

"Without this process, we might continue to do what we've always done. As Henry Ford once said, 'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.' "

Linda Miles

"Discovery is the foundation of management consulting and team training's long-term success. Until the dentist owner(s) of a practice are crystal clear on why they chose dentistry, what they love or dislike about practicing, and what their mission, purpose, and goals are; and, most of all, until they commit to being an ideal leader, nothing management-wise sticks!

"Discovery is the start of reduced stress, reduced turnover, and happy, in-the-know team members. They can't read the dentist's mind. Until the dentist knows where he or she is now and where he or she wants to be in one, three, or five years, it's totally impossible for employees to help the dentist get there."

Theresa Narantic

"Think about the events in your life that were most successful: your career path, your wedding, relocating and buying a new home, building a house, owning a business, or starting a family. All of these and so many more had one thing in common: a predictable outcome.

"The reason that it was predictable is that it had a plan. The plan had you move from conception to risk evaluation, probability of success, generation of the timing, collaboration of necessary information, and the talent and individuals needed to ensure a good outcome.

"Time and time again, I have seen the frustrations of dentists who have done all the planning for their careers with the exception of the success of their businesses. This is truly not their fault! Had they chosen to be a business major in college, they would have gotten an MBA rather than a DDS or DMD. Running a dental business calls on the owner to provide exemplary patient care; hire, evaluate, train, and market; and handle HR, systems, treatment presentation, communications, insurance, and compliancy, while continually educating yourself and your team. This sounds extremely exhausting!

"Discovery allows you to define and deliver your mission and provide the skeletal framework to establish clarity and a step-by-step process to accomplish it. This should absolutely be your next continuing education investment! Invest in you and your team for a future of success."

Theresa Parker Sheppard

"When I ask dentists what is the most valuable investment they have made in the practice, I get answers such as my cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), or my CAD/CAM machine, or my laser. Those are investments made to improve clinical experience. In reality, the most valuable investment you can make for your practice is to work on your practice. I seldom hear 'team training' or 'hiring the right person' as a valuable investment, but failure to understand these processes can cost you tens of thousands of dollars a year and put you and your practice at risk.

"You may be the best in town at placing implants, and patients may travel great distances to see you because your cosmetic dentistry is amazing. However, running a smooth and profitable practice is not about clinical skills alone. Whether you are a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, the biggest mistake I see practice owners make is thinking they can also run the business side effectively without help. Systems, policies, and protocols are often inconsistent or nonexistent.

"You would never treat your patients without the proper paperwork, triage, diagnostics, and treatment plan, so why would you treat your practice any differently? Think of the discovery phase as the diagnostic and treatment planning phase. You will be able to identify areas of your practice that can be cause for concern and, with the input and support of your team, make any course corrections necessary to propel your practice to an even higher level of success and profitability."

Jodie Pearson

"As it relates to planning for business growth, improvement, and taking the dental practice to the 'next level,' I am reminded of the opportunity that each of us has to paint a blank canvas that depicts who we really are.

"From the day you were born, people in your life began to paint your life's canvas, each person painting a part that has colored you with their feelings, opinions, and the way they approach life. What's left is often a small corner of the canvas for you to paint with colors of your choosing.

"Discovery needs to be a well-thought-out, proven, self-discovery process that effectively guides you, the leader of your business, up the steps to the next level you've wanted to get to, and then on to the next. It is the first step to building the healthy, happy growing practice that you have always wanted to create.

"There is no time like the present to have a closer look at your painting. In essence, painting your canvas using discovery leads to inventing or even reinventing yourself. The result can be astounding as you find yourself rising to levels you never thought possible.

"If you know something is missing, but you are having difficulty finding the core issue, discovery will help you find it. It will guide you to uncover your own approach to your business life. It will identify your best abilities and realize new strengths."

Shawn Peers

"Why do we consider the discovery process such a vital step to your success? The reason is simple. We know you want your practice to provide the absolute best clinical standard of care and that you wish to reflect the same high standards in the business side of dentistry.

"So much of what we advise may sound so good, the temptation to 'dive right in' may be overwhelming! You could easily fall down the rabbit hole of feeling the need to do this and fix that -- and do it right now!

"But our collective experience tells us there is a better way.

"Rather than dive right in, we believe greater success comes from taking a step back and spending time analyzing your goals, your dreams, your accomplishments, and those areas where greater success awaits! When you take the time to truly discover yourself, you will be better prepared to discover how to best chart your unique path to greater success.

"The discovery process is about you and it needs to be personal. Making discovery about your goals, dreams, and hopes provides you with the best opportunity to both enjoy that journey and the experience of reaching that destination of success."

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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