Make a fresh in S.T.A.R.T 2009

Each year we ring in the new year with our resolutions- to get to work on time, to communicate better, to be more productive, to spend less, manage our time better. Yet as the weeks go on we find ourselves back in our same patterns. For example, maybe this year the winter weather will get in the way of meeting your resolutions related to production goals. The snow falls, we cancel a day or two of work and we easily slip into the “oh well, here we go again” mode. 

Let’s look at four areas that can assist you in accomplishing and exceeding your goals for 2009: 

Stop making excuses. Yes, the weather may get in your way. What can you do to overcome it? What daily goal do you need to change in order to accomplish your overall goals? Do you need to have a staff meeting with your team and review the new goals and adjust accordingly? As a great leader, your job is to hold course and keep the team on track. It is your responsibility to be at the helm and keep yourself and the team focused on the long-term goal.  

Common causes of failure within dental teams are:

They don’t plan ahead- no one knows what the goals are and they do not adjust course along the way. Monitor daily to see if you are on course and review monthly.

They don’t listen to others- your team has insights that you sometimes can’t see. You have advisors outside of your immediate office. Use your advocates to help you see what you cannot. What are your clients saying? Are you getting feedback from your clients, lab technician, and dental supply representative as to how you are perceived, received and recognized in the community? Do you have regular staff meetings to discuss patient care and technical excellence? Is it safe within the team to talk of such things? Are you willing to give and receive feedback?

They give up too soon- Dentists tend to shy from the first sign of confrontation or dissention within the practice. These are often the very opportunities for learning and growth. With support from another team member, a consultant to assist you with communication tools, or a counselor you can move through these issues and create an even more powerful team.  

Take stock. This is a prefect time to have an annual meeting; reflect on your successes, evaluate and plan ahead creating a road map for reaching our goals for 2006.

Ask yourself these questions:

What have I learned?

What are my assets?

Who can help me?


Set goals that will assist you in reaching for what you want. Get clear about what you want for a net income. Understand your overhead and know what percentage of overhead is acceptable for you. Calculate what you need to produce to achieve your net goal. Hire a financial advisor to assist you in retirement planning. How long do you want to work and what do you want your net worth to be? By starting with the end in mind you can create what the daily, monthly and yearly goals accordingly. Seek guidance in someone that will ask you these questions and help hold you accountable to the results you seek.

 Refocus your thoughts.

Come to your morning meetings with a positive attitude. Acknowledge your team for what they are doing right. Ask for referrals on a continual basis. Thank your patients for their business. Be grateful for the work at hand. Transfer enthusiasm. Remember a sale takes place when there is a transfer of enthusiasm.

 Trust in yourself.

You are capable and would not be in the place you are without talent, knowledge and skill. Don’t forget it! Reflect on what has worked for you in the past and bring those talents forward. In times of struggle one tends to retreat. Your database of past experiences may not be 100% accurate. Challenge your interpretation of the struggle and see how you can turn it into a motivation to do something differently. If you need help thinking differently, hire someone to assist you in reframing your thoughts. Your business depends on it!


Shari Tastad RDH, BS owns Pathways coaching and can be reached at 509-750-6603 or visit her contact page.   Her delight is in assisting dentists, team members and individuals in maximizing their potential through building effective communication skills, enhancing patient relationships and fundamental business planning