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October 25, 2019

Change is Life

Change happens. It’s a normal part of life. While we can’t control the world changing around us, we can control how we respond. The dental industry has experienced massive change in the last decade. Some Dental Practices use change to their advantage; others seem to continually struggle with it. What makes the difference?

Change Begins With the Choices We Make

We can choose to anticipate and embrace change or resist it. Some change can be devastating, and as such be pretty difficult to embrace.There are scenarios that just plain are not nice. It may take time to find away to effectively deal with and accept the situation in the best way possible,but if our intent is to find a way, we will.

One helpful approach to deal with a difficult situation is to re-frame the situation so that you see it differently. Just like changing the frame and mounting around a painting can transform the painting, we can change the context of a challenging situation, interaction or communication, and likewise transform its meaning.

To effectively deal with change we need to recognize that change is not some kind of manageable force. Change can be ignored, resisted,responded to, capitalized upon and created, but it typically cannot be managed.


Deal With Issues as They Arise

It’s best to deal with issues as they arise, never let circumstances intimidate or threaten you so much that you become paralyzed.Whether we become change victims or victors depends on our readiness to respond to change.

We have both the ability and the responsibility to make choices that will make a positive impact. While integrating new equipment into your practice is exciting, it also introduces change in your work environment.As with any change, the more we can proactively plan and prepare, the easier and more effective the transition will be for everybody.


Seven Strategies to help you effectively deal with change:

1. Be a good leader.

By supporting your team on an ongoing basis, they will be more likely to support you – both in routine activities and when introducing change into your practice. In order to build strong teams, we must be strong team players. The first step in improving our team is improving ourselves. Instead of wishing for a change of circumstance, we may first need to change our own behavior.

2. Be authentic.

To create something, you need to know who you are, and then make conscious choices that are consistent with your core values. It’s almost impossible to lead others to do something that's out of basic alignment with your own values, behaviors and patterns. Nobody expects you to be perfect, but they do expect to see a close connection between what you say and what you do.

3. Maintain a positive attitude.

Attitude determines the future we create. It decides the size of our dreams and influences our determination when we are faced with new challenges. By moving past resistance, we open the door of opportunity.

In our interactions with others, no one else can ‘make us angry’. We allow ourselves to be angry when we surrender control of our attitude. What someone else may have done is irrelevant. It is up to us how we choose to respond. The person, people, or situations that make us angry are merely putting our attitude to the test.

4. Use self-discipline.

The key difference between successful people and those that struggle to get by is self-discipline.Successful people have formed the habits of doing those things that most people don’t want to do. Good and bad habits are the accumulation of the daily choices we make. Most of our daily choices are made automatically without us even thinking about them.

To change our habits we first need to become aware of them. Then we need to work backward from the habit to the daily practices that formed them. To change the habit, we need to change those practices.Self-discipline is a vital component in the success of this change. Discipline is what keeps us going when the excitement of first beginning a task is long past.

5. Keep open communication.

Communication is the interchange of ideas between two or more people or things. Drilled down a bit deeper, communication is the message our listeners receive in our verbal and non-verbal communication with them.

Our reality is based on how we see things, and the fact is, we all see things differently. People communicate through a set of filters influenced by their history, their sense of identity, their beliefs, and their perceptions and interpretations of all that goes on around them. The more we are able to create a safe environment, the more we will encourage open communication. The results you get will let you know how effective your communication is.

In order to facilitate open communication, hold frequent team meetings where everyone feels both safe and encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas, getting all issues out in the open. Once you openly acknowledge and address challenging issues, you provide an opportunity to gain consensus and collaboratively move forward together.

6. Be accountable.

Accountability is about getting a grip on results. Simply defined, accountability is the awareness and acceptance of the positive and negative consequences of our actions. Frequently we need ‘someone’ who can hold us accountable, and ‘something’ to support us in getting organized.

If you are the leader in your practice, your team members look to you – first to watch what you do, and second to receive the guidance,encouragement and support to get things done. The more systems you have in place the easier it is for your team to be accountable. Also, remember to acknowledge a job well done; this will go a long way to build commitment in your team members.

There is a desperate need for accountability in our lives today. Just getting by doesn't cut it. This includes living according to our core values, acting responsibly, and being personally organized; clear of clutter both internally and externally. This frees us up to accept and actually invite change into our lives.

7. Focus on the big picture.

Always keep the vision you have for your practice in front of you. By focusing on the big picture rather than solely trying to micro-manage your practice, you open the door for improvement.If you are ‘on the grow’, you will embrace change, finding the positive. It all depends on where we choose to focus your attention. Even change that hits you in the side of the head as a major crisis can be full of growth opportunities–if you choose to look for them.

Many people who have weathered a serious crisis, look back years later and point to that event as a significant turning point in their lives. Most would rather not go through that pain again, but recognize it is a key part of the growth that has made them who they are today. Crisis can be a danger that destroys us, or a growth opportunity; the choice is ours. The point is… change is life.

Many practices find it extremely beneficial to have an objective third party consultant help them optimize their opportunities and deal with the challenges they face. If you want to push, prod, shake up and propel your team forward, call us at 403.651.4070.

About the Author

CoraMarie Clark, MBA is recognized as a highly effective Dental Practice Strategist. She works with dentists that want to optimize their potential both personally and professionally. Her collaborative approach has helped teams develop dynamic competitive strategies and achieve high impact, sustainable results.

If you would like to explore the possibility of having CoraMarie work with your Dental Practice or speak for your Association or Group, contact us today.

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