When was the last time you lead a strategic planning session about the growth and goals of your dental office? If you find yourself resisting being strategic because it sounds like the fast track to irrelevance you are probably not alone. We survive in the day to day activities of our dental office and our tendency is to deal with what is right in front of us because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if we get stuck in that habit we can put our office’s success at risk. While we concentrate on the navigation of our daily business we can miss excellent opportunities that will propel us to the future.
We are entering the fall months and summer is behind us. Now is the time to start thinking and planning for our strategic sessions that will set the tone for the future of the office. The first step to your planning for the future session is to look at the past. Key data you will want to gather is your expenses and overhead from the previous year. You will also need to know where you are now, have you been tracking your KPI’s to get as much data on your business as possible? And the next step is to investigate your future. After reviewing your expenses from the previous year, project your expenses for the next year. Will you be adding new team members, new technology? Having statistics from your past, present and future will help you map out where you have been, where you are going and how you will get there.
Next, start planning your meeting. Who will attend? We recommend your entire team is present and involved. When you involve your team in setting goals, they have buy in and are more prone to ensure your success. Where will you have your meeting? We recommend having it off-site, no distractions will make the meeting run smoother and keep everyone interested. And next, when will you have your meeting, all day, at the end of the day? We have found a 4-hour strategic planning session is a great length and you can still see patients in the am, (meet your production for the day) and have a successful meeting in the afternoon. And be sure to have brain food, plenty of hydration, tools for learning and fun!
If you are still unsure how to plan your agenda and keep the team moving in the right direction, do some research on strategy and planning. There is no shortage of books on this subject out there. One of our favorites is “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renne Mauborgne. The book discusses the competitive marketplace and the difference between a red ocean and a blue ocean. In a red ocean environment, you compete for the same patients and you’re a battling with other offices for the same set of patients. Too many sharks in the water if you will. If you find and develop a blue ocean strategy you’re competing in an untapped space with unique offerings that set, you apart. Finding these opportunities in your community for your practice is what will set you apart and open your pool of patients.
Now is the perfect time of year to start your strategic thinking. Gather your data and have your research ready. Set a date, find a location and it is Strategic Planning Session Time!
As always, if we can help we are just a phone call or email away. Strategic team meetings are one of our specialties. We would love to share our ideas with you and your team!