A few months ago, I visited my optometrist for an annual eye exam. Prior to visiting him, I thought my eyesight, with my existing eyeglasses, was fine. I could see the street signs while driving my car and was able to read the words on my computer screen. Based on those two factors alone, I thought my vision was perfect. During my examination, I was shocked when I could not read several of the letters on the eye chart. I was totally unaware that the vision in both of my eyes had weakened and that my eyesight had worsened during the past year. I was grateful I had gotten a check-up. Now with my new glasses, my eyesight was back to normal; I was able to see things more clearly.
How you currently see your dental practice is similar to the example of my eyesight. You think you’re clearly seeing the reality of your practice, your team, and your patients when in truth, your perceptions and assumptions may be inaccurate and distorted. And based on what you see incorrectly, you may make shortsighted clinical and managerial decisions. For example, perhaps you’ve tried to decrease the number of broken appointments by using postcards and phone calls. Maybe you’ve tried direct marketing to increase your monthly production or the number of new patients without much success. Perhaps you’ve kept tabs on the practice finances while at the same time inadvertently overlooked the write-offs to insurance companies. With regards to your employees, maybe you’ve been oblivious to the disharmony that exists between two of your team members. If any of these situations resonate with you, rest assured that you’re not alone. I commonly see these situations in dental practices.
Remember, as a dentist, you wear “three hats.” You’re the producer, the leader, and the manager of your practice. Juggling and managing all three of these is a difficult undertaking. In addition, as human beings, we naturally have blind spots. When you assemble all these facts, it’s not surprising when we can’t see ourselves, our lives, or possible solutions as clearly as we should.
Like the optometrist, I help dentists and their teams more clearly see their situation and also possible solutions. With my work, I’m constantly reminded of the lyrics of the 1972 song by Johnny Nash entitled I Can See Clearly Now.
I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
If you’d like to see your situation, your team, your patients, and your future practice potential more clearly, then, like the optometrist example, let “another set of eyes” examine you and your practice. It takes guts to open yourself up to another person. However, when you do, you can expect to see positive change. Why? Because your eyes will be opened to a new perspective. You’ll have hope and the dark clouds that blinded you will be gone. And as the song says, “it will be a bright, bright, bright, sunshiny day.”