3 Ways to Have a Positive Q4 in Your Dental Practice
End Your Year Without Regret
Do you get to the end of the year wondering if it was worth it or not? The stress, extra hours, sacrifice, and adaptation – for what? What was even accomplished this year? Does the team feel good about where we’re going? Do I want to stay in this role? How is my family feeling? Will I get to enjoy the holidays? Did we meet our financial goals? What’s next year looking like?
If you’re nodding your head, chances are the end of the year tends to be stressful for you and we want to help. Imagine a world where the Q4 season is marked by a calm, accomplished, and invigorated feeling rather than burnout.
Good news: We’ve got 3 tried and true tips for 2022:
- Implement quarterly meetings
- Strengthen your strengths while diversifying your weaknesses
- Get the right butts in the right seats
1: IMPLEMENT QUARTERLY MEETINGS
This isn’t a new concept, but it is part of the rhythm that’s brought both structure and clarity to our goals here at Studio 8E8. The first Monday of the quarter, we set aside our team meeting to discuss the “quarterlies” - the goals we had for the previous quarter and the ones we’ll set for the new quarter. Generally the ideas for these goals come from questions like these:
What isn’t going smoothly?
Where are the bottlenecks?
What areas need improvement?
Have we heard complaints and how can we fix them?
For most organizations or practices, 4-6 quarterly goals is a great number to shoot for depending on your team size and capacity. Our team happens to be obsessed with improving processes and tends to stick to around 8-10 goals per quarter.
We’re overachievers, what can we say?
We brainstorm. We write ‘em out. And then we prioritize which goals are most important, which can be completed in the next three months, and most importantly, who is in charge of seeing each through. Anyone can list problems – it takes actively engaged and proactive team members to carry those corrections to completion. Once a team member has been assigned, we briefly talk through next steps to help that person feel equipped to (A) start the project and (B) involve any other team members they feel necessary to make sure it’s done with excellence. This process helps the entire team get on the same page and be ready to jump in if asked.
We use a running Quarterly Goals list in Asana to track what’s been accomplished as well as goals mentioned that weren’t chosen as priorities and at the end of the year… like, woah – there is this invaluable list of things you accomplished to look back on and celebrate. And that, my friends, will bring you into the new year with a sense of calm, steadiness, and assurance that: This. Has. Been. A. Good. Year. No doubt about it.
Do quarterlies right all year and you’ll come to the last one with less frenzy and more margin. Now, you’ve got a list of varying goals, why are they important?
2: STRENGTHEN YOUR STRENGTHS WHILE DIVERSIFYING YOUR WEAKNESSES
Setting goals tends to go one of two ways - people go for strengthening strengths or improving weaknesses. Strengthening your strengths is a little bit of a “buzz term” that means, “Do what you do best, better”. Maybe as a person, that can serve you well – taking your expertise from an 8 to a 9 is definitely more spectacular and impactful than bringing your 4 up to a 5, right? But as a business, that just isn’t going to fly. And focusing all your energy on improving weaknesses won’t yield a huge profit, either. Why? An average experience isn’t remembered. This dichotomy is why having a well-rounded team is so cool.
The practice's weaknesses may not be your strengths as the owner, but someone on your team should be able to bring some balance. Being a leader isn’t about hiring people like you with the same skill set, gifting, profile, and personality – it’s about bringing people on who are strong where you’re weak to give your practice stability.
Use quarterly goals to build up your strengths, yes, but at the same time, give your team the bandwidth to take ownership of the areas where they can contribute. Make your practice strong and use your team to build that foundation.
On a practical level, our team leans into the Gallup Strengths Finder. When we onboard new team members, they take the Strengths Finder assessment and discover their top five strengths and then we share it with the team. It’s a great way to encourage new people and make sure we diversify the skills and strengths on our team.
Depending on your personality, the end-of-year overwhelm may tempt you to focus on your personal strengths or it could tempt you to zero in on all the weaknesses, but there needs to be a balance. Setting well-rounded goals to strengthen strengths and improve areas of weakness is great in theory, but there’s one more piece of the puzzle. And that’s where a great team comes in.
3: GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT SEATS
You’ve got goals, you’ve got diversity and strategy in chasing those goals, so now what? How do you actually get there? It’s your team.
“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”
At the end of the year at Studio 8E8, each of our team members have a year-end meeting to make sure we’re operating in professional fulfillment and running in the right lane. These meetings aren’t an afterthought, they’re blocked on the calendar months in advance and we are mentally prepared to walk in with feedback and to have a constructive conversation.
Our lead team will evaluate each individual in the company, and discuss two major components surrounding the “right person, right seat” idea:
-Is this person aligned with the values of the company?
-Is this person working in their area of strength within the company?
Then, a meeting is scheduled. But it’s not a scary one. We don’t believe in blindsiding our team with out-of-the-blue negativity. Generally, these meetings walk through a few of the following questions that are sent out ahead of time:
-What are 1-2 highlights from the year?
-What are 1-2 things you’d like to change in the next year?
-Is there an area outside your current role you’d like to contribute to?
-What will matter most to you in 5 years?
-Who on the team is killing it?
-Who on the team may not be aligned with our values?
From there, the conversation can be productive, fruitful, and encouraging to both the lead team and the team member. As the years go on, these helpful talks play an important role as we make new hires, build future structure, and formulate strategy. Getting the right person in the right seat on the bus will improve everything from the culture to the hygiene within your practice.
At some point, it’s not always about working in the business, but working on the business in order to grow and thrive. Setting solid goals with intention and a dialed-in team will help you move not only the needle, but the business itself forward.
Stay in the weeds and you’ll come up with fleas.
Or something like that.
Business owners tend to be arsonists - chasing fires, setting fires, putting out fires. But the ones who are spending their days with fire are doing so because they’re ignoring conversations around setting proactive goals, seeking out potential issues, and creating solutions before the explosion. We’re tellin’ ya, that’s going to get old fast and it won’t allow you to enjoy your life.
Not only can you implement some of these ideas before the end of this year, but these are foundational concepts that if cultivated in 2022, will create exponential growth within your practice. And dare we say, your life.
End the year on a high note and take your time enjoying what you’ve built.