"All BIG things come from SMALL beginnings..."
~James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
I grew up with vision boards, reading books about setting goals and becoming a leader. I went to school in the daytime to learn how to read, write and do math. In my spare time, there was always a new book to read thanks to my Mom! These incredible books were very influential in the person I became. They were easy to read, and included stories about the very people I aspired to be! Business leaders, successful entrepreneurs.
I grew up in relative poverty - and many of the people in the books I read had even worse circumstances. If they could do it, so could I! These books were about real people, facing real challenges. Books like
Among hundreds of books I have read and been motivated by over the years. At 53 I now realize that I may not have spent enough time DOING what I have LEARNED! It's easier to "talk the talk" than to walk the walk. I continue to learn and grow, and writing is another way of "talking the talk" as well. The growth of my own business has been about constant improvement. Learning from mistakes. Being modest and realizing as I reach new levels - that I need to double down yet again and continue to learn. Be humble. Modest. Realize that no matter where I am in life, that the journey is all about going to new destinations, even when the path seems difficult.
When you listen to music. When you read. Watch a movie. Engage a friend in a conversation....you are more engaged when it resonates. You need a motivation - the song you listened to and searched for because you are sad and just broke up - so the break up songs resonate. They are "so true" because this is exactly how you feel. Then at some point, you want to get out of that funk so you search for the uplifting song. Listen to the words and repeat and sing until you feel better.
It's these repetitions that help us accomplish our goals. If we really want to CHANGE our lives - we can be influenced by the types of media we engage.
How many of us say they "wish" they learned how to play an instrument? What is really stopping you? You keep listening to music, but do nothing about it. You want to write, and you read about it - but don't take action.
You want to change your life, but we put these MASSIVE barriers in front of ourselves. Looking at the end results instead of just taking little bites.
So many people get these goals of losing weight - then start these strange and difficult diets. The kind that can't be maintained. All meat. All vegetables. All liquid. Instead of just starting with a smaller, more sustainable change. Something you can adopt to your every day life. Walk every day a little more instead of suddenly incorporating 5 hours a week of running all out on a treadmill and lifting weights that make you sore every day.
Setting unrealistic goals will accomplish the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve! Even if you do all the work and actually accomplish that goal - is that level of working out and eating actually a lifestyle change - can it be maintained? Can you continue to work that many hours? Can you keep this pace up and still be happy?
How is this related to Dentistry?
My own personality drives me to get as much done in as little time as possible. I am always looking for efficient ways to do things. Realizing that it's important to not only do this quickly in order to accomplish my goals - but the must be done WELL!!
In dentistry, you have already learned that if you try to go to fast the procedure is bound to fail. TIMERS are a very important component with scientifically designed products that rely on cures and compounds. This is where I first cultivated the idea of TIMEfactors. It seems very easy and logical to me. Every one of you reading this has already incorporated TIMEfactors into your every day practice to some degree.
Remember, I have been around since BEFORE light curing and composite materials. BEFORE digital xray. BEFORE many of the rules about infection control came about. BEFORE hiring a hygienist was even a common practice. That's why I KNOW that dental practices have evolved and understand TIMEfactors.
What I present here is a summary of where I believe our industry will go next. How we will transform healthcare with education. Realizing that efficiencies come from a combination of product, equipment, techniques. Most important - not just the TIME required to perform the task - but also the QUALITY of the outcome. Because in Health care the efficiency of the end result comes from predictable outcomes.
What's the point of a 1 second curing light, bulk fill, 1 appointment endo, Same Day crown, invisible aligner, online booking, same day whitening - if the results are HORRIBLE!! There is absolutely NO POINT in being faster if the end result is not BETTER!
The first "fast" curing light, the Plasma Arc came to market to offer a curing time that was only a few seconds compared to close to a minute. The "time" saved in curing would result in higher production. In theory it made sense - except for the fact that many materials wouldn't cure with the light. There were problems with the heat. The technique and product actually led to many bad outcomes and fails - and we no longer see this version of the curing light on the market today. It did, however, lead to the modern LED curing light and better materials. Materials and lights that cured in a broader spectrum, to greater depths, with more predictable outcomes. Less failures. More TIMEfactors!!
I have also realized over the years that what works for me doesn't always work for someone else. No matter how much I practice guitar - it's highly unlikely I will be on tour with Eddy Van Halen any time soon. I get it. Instead, I will be happy with the small improvements - but CONSTANT improvements. I will focus on what I LIKE and what I AM GOOD AT instead of trying to beat a dead guitar with fat fingers.
Atomic Dental Habits is all about Constant Improvement! The Plasma Arc may have failed, but the new iterations since then have resulted in a more profitable procedure and better outcomes for patients (My TIMEfactors two principals - good for patient, and good for business)
Making your business work for you
Having worked directly with over 100 clinics over 36 years has helped me learn what works well. It has helped me realize that it's not just a PARTICULAR curing light, or material or technique that will drive every single practice to success.
Just like myself - every individual has their own motivation. Some of the offices I work with will never learn, and maybe don't want to learn how to be more efficient. They are quite content to just complain about how crappy everything is and get hung up on criticizing other clinics choices. There are offices that close the shutters to the outside world and just keep "doing what they are doing". No motivation to change, but quite happy as well.
Then there is the middle ground. The majority of us that want the results, but don't want to take the advice or do the work. They will buy a Cad Cam system or CBCT and think the technology all by itself will do all the work. The investment is poor as the motivation was wrong. The rep told them if they bought and just used it - they could easily enjoy results. They weren't told that they actually needed to learn to diagnose the scans, to improve the dentistry they were performing when prepping a crown if they wanted to use a scanner and drop in the crown. That they would have to learn how to stain and glaze to get the esthetic results and that all of this takes TIME!
Then there is the small percentage of doctors who have constantly improved. The clinics I work with now that have businesses that work for them. That incorporated the TIMEfactor technology, techniques and team that result in a business that allows them the success that others so badly crave. The dentist who trained associates to perform at higher levels. That has team members motivated and use the techniques that reduce labour, increase production and keep the chairs filled.
ATOMIC DENTAL HABITS is ALL ABOUT learning a little bit at a time. Understanding that it isn't one particular "habit" like a curing light that will dramatically improve your end result. Rather, its a combination of curing light, with universal bonding agent, one step cement, bulk fill restorative materials that add up to 10 minutes saved on a procedure. Multiplied with the efficiency from the team turning over HIGHLY ORGANIZED cassette systems in the sterilization area. Having a team member dedicated to the task of infection control, while the chair side assistant is also helping hygiene turn over chairs more efficiently by performing the prophy procedures and xrays while the hygienist focuses on scaling and root planing.
ATOMIC DENTAL HABITS is all about SCHEDULING in blocks of time like Laura Hatch discusses in this video on Youtube. Scheduling your time is ABSOLUTELY an important component to creating an ATOMIC DENTAL PRACTICE. If you do this alone and now you can't keep up because you still insist on sandwich technique, amalgam, copalite and halogen curing lights.....what's the point?
ATOMIC DENTAL HABITS is about LEVERAGING BETTER METHODS. Using the skills your team provides. Team meetings. Using their skill and INVESTING in technology that helps them be that little bit more efficient.
ATOMIC DENTAL HABITS is all about your PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE. Integrating a recall program like CareCru that can help you dominate in patient searches on Google, attract patients to book online, leave you the positive review (or the negative that can help you learn from failure) And then provide KPI that PROVE it is working.
ATOMIC DENTAL HABITS is about understanding the business of dentistry. Adding an experienced CPA like Rob Campbell to your network that works with many successful dental practices and has helped them make the wise decisions that have grown their practices. Articles published in the CDA Oasis "Where there's efficiency, there's success" that highlight so MANY little things that lead to the BIG outcome!
ATOMIC DENTAL HABITS incorporates tips from the many experts in our industry with proven track records. Check out this AMAZING e-book "Practice efficiency Play book
-the complete guide to streamlining your practice" Insights from 15 Leading Dental Experts...which also reminds me of my last ATOMIC DENTAL HABIT
ATOMIC DENTAL HABITS is about NETWORKING - Adding a team member like a consultive and experienced rep (ahem!) that already has access to DOZENS of experts so you can just focus on your dentistry and learn one atomic habit at a time.....