Creating a healthier practice

by Patric Moberger.
Estimated reading time: 3-5 minutes.


Creating and maintaining a healthy dental practice requires effort on different levels. It is not the responsibility of just one person, but requires the commitment of the entire team. Here, I will focus on two key areas of a healthy practice: namely business health and mental health.

Business health

Not long ago, I visited a practice in Western Australia. It was a small team who really cared for their patients. A meeting was held in their staff room and on the wall, there was a whiteboard with the dates written down for the entire month. There were numbers and smiley faces attached to each date. Out of curiosity, I asked what the numbers meant.

I quickly learned that these were the practice’s daily financial goals. With slight discomfort, I asked the owner, “Isn’t this a bit tough on the team?

He replied, “It’s the team who have put the numbers up, not me.

Once this team reached their goal of the day, they rewarded themselves with a smiley face and the team celebrated. At the end of the month, they would celebrate their wins by going out for a drink together. They felt empowered and part of the business’ success. This also meant that when times were tough, they all felt a need to discuss solutions.

When a team feels that they have a direct impact on the success of a practice, everyone feels invested. One way of keeping a team focused on a common financial goal is to run quarterly numbers meetings, where the team can discuss their individual impact on the bottom line. By doing so, the entire team is involved, and part of the successes of the business.

>> Learn how to have successful Team Huddles and Team Meetings.

Things to discuss at these meetings could be anything from customer retention by delivering great customer service, to smaller, more practical things, such as putting a comforting hand on an anxious patient’s shoulder. Sometimes, these small, seemingly unimportant details are what creates exceptional experiences – and therefore a more favoured and profitable practice.


Mental health 

A healthy team is imperative to maintaining a healthy practice. Always keep an eye on the stressors that may affect the team, and try to minimise these. Here are some indicators of when a team feels under the gun and need to be heard:

  • Unusual mistakes are made.
  • Team members are “just doing their job”.
  • There is an unusual amount of gossiping.
  • Team members stop putting their hand up for additional tasks.
  • There is a dip in the level of happiness within the practice.
  • Team members start coming in late.
  • As a leader, you stop having team meetings because you are just too busy.

All these signs likely hint that something is wrong. The good news is that often, all it takes to solve it is good communication. As leaders in the practice, ask yourself:

  • Do you allow your team to speak up and address their stress? Do they feel safe doing so?
  • What are you doing to create a sense of belonging in the team?
  • Do they understand the vision of the practice?
  • Are they empowered to make decisions?
  • Do you have one on one chats with your team members?


All these may sound like very time-consuming tasks that divert you from the real work, but having team members who burn out will be even costlier – both on the business as well as on your relationship.

I found this link from Lifehack which I think can help you to create a healthy, happy workplace where team members feel like they belong.

Here’s to wishing you a healthier practice.

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