I like to walk. Fast. At pace. Powerwalk!!
And last week while on a walk, I got to thinking. You see, I measure my walks. My times, and my paces. During, and after.
So I was thinking, as you do. And what I thought was that the effect of measuring my walking times and performances is a metaphor for measuring your dental office collections and productions.
You, see, annually I like to enter the Sydney City2Surf, a fourteen kilometre *BIG* event from Sydney to Bondi Beach.
Each of my daily walks is focused on improving my pace and time for the next City2Surf. 2013 will be my fifth [in a row] City2Surf.
My first two entries were 2:13 and then 2:09. So my goal became to break two hours.
Around home I measured a half hour route, two one-hour routes, and even a 14km two-hour route. But I could never get anywhere near two hours no matter how hard I tried. Until….
A patient told me to download an app for my iPhone…so I chose Imapmywalk.
This app gives you up to date time, distance, and pace statistics. Immediately my times started to improve.
And so, as I said, it got me thinking. The effect of measuring my walking times and performances really is a metaphor for measuring your dental office collections and productions.
Here’s my take.
- Goals.You need to have a goal. Without a goal you’re guessing. You’re living a fantasy. Hoping for a result is true folly.
When you have a goal you have a target.
In your dental office you need to have production goals. Firstly you need to know how much you need to pay the bills of the practice. Then on top of that you need to know how much you need to pay yourself to live, as well as hoe much you need to have for return on investment and also how much you need to be putting away for your future as well as the future of your business.Too many dentists I know seem to get to the end of the year and “see how they went”. This is so wrong. Seeing whether “we had a good year” or not is no way to plan a business or plan a life. Throw that “plan” away.
- TrackingWhen walking, I learned to quickly divide my hour into tenths [six minute increments] and twentieths [three minute intervals] and then allocate appropriate distances to those time intervals.
I knew where I was at any multiple of three or six minutes throughout my walk, thanks to my GPS app.Similarly, you need to then divide your dental year into number of days you are planning to be working for that year. In advance. This should be fairly easy to do. It is courteous toy your clients and patients when scheduling advance hygiene visits to know whether you will be there, or on vacation. Sure some conferences or seminars come up. But on the whole, you know.Once you know the number of days that you plan to work then you can divide your annual collections goal by your annual number of days to work to arrive at your dental office daily collections goal.You can then divide this number by the hours worked each day to arrive at your hourly collections goal.
With this number in mind, you can then plan your dental day.
- There will always be uphills and downhills.Unless you’re walking on a track, you’re walking up and down hills. My brother was a track and field runner in his day. And a good one. He believed that running cross-countries was what they made you do in hell. But I beg to differ. You need the hills. It is the uphills that make you stronger.Correlating this back to the dental office day, there will be different procedures that earn different fees and therefore different hourly rates for your production.Planning your appointment book template to achieve your daily goal will have a balanced mix of procedures that are high production and lower production [downhills and uphills].
- Start strong to stay strong.I found when walking, that the faster my first six minutes was, the easier it was to maintain, and then achieve a great pace for my one-hour and two hour walks.This is contrary to marathon and distance racing, where the motto is to pace yourself and finish strong down the straight.I found that when I started strong, it gave me a goal to maintain, whereas when I started slow, it was difficult to lift the overall average rate.Applying this to the dental office I believe on a daily basis it is better to start strong. Book your high production appointments early in the day. Start your day with those high production appointments.. Hitting your daily goal early in the day provides a sense of achievement for you, your office and your team.
Conversely, finishing a long day with a number of high production appointments can be draining.
In walking, it was easier to lift an earlier set higher average pace in small increments during the walk rather than try and drag up a lower average pace later in the walk.
- AdaptationWhen I travel, things are different. Sometimes there is weather or traffic [like NYC] and sometimes weather and pollution [Macau]. In Venice there was no traffic, but lots of bridges with short stairs.In Dentistry, there will be adversity. Stay focused on your numbers, your daily goals, and your monthly and annual targets. If need be, during more difficult times, vary or add additional hours and days to make sure you hit your annual goal.
Remember, through all this, maintain your measurements. And your goals. Because, what gets measured gets done. And what gets measured gets improved upon
“Setting Achievable Performance Goals” is just one of the many straight talking chapters that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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