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Strategic Thinking: Blue or Red?

September 22, 2016

Strategic Thinking: Blue or Red?



I spent a large part of my dental career in the corporate environment, 23 of my 28 years. Strategy and strategic thinking were constant companions. Strategy sessions were always exhilarating and scary at the same time. Planning, creative thinking and organizing are all things I love but predicting the future can be challenging.

When is the last time you lead a strategic discussion about 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.

I love a quote by Jack Welch, well respected past CEO of GE and business executive, which speaks to this very subject. It’s a bit long but it captures what I’m speaking about.

You’ve got to eat while you dream. You’ve got to deliver on short-range commitments while you develop a long-range strategy and vision and implement it. The success of doing both. Walking and chewing gum if you will. Getting it done in the short-range and delivering a long-range plan, and executing on that.

* Jack Welch –

We are entering into 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. Get all your data ready and make sure you have the historical successes. Then start preparing your research and thinking about changes and additions to dentistry on the horizon.

In addition, do some research on strategy and planning. There is no shortage of books on this subject out there. I recently finished reading “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 up your pool of patients.

Start researching, start thinking and set goals to lay out your blue ocean strategy for your dental office.

Happy planning,



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