Ways To Embrace Change In A Dental Practice

Kevin Cook

Kevin Cook

December 30, 20205 min read

It is not always an interesting experience to introduce a change in your organization. As exciting as it may sound, those who have tried this might have often been left disheartened and frustrated while trying to cope with the attitudes of various people. Making your team embrace change in dental practice can always be achieved. Here are some of the common types of emotions in people that we come across while implementing a system-wide change.

  • Excitement: Some people love variety, and want to shake up the system all the time.

  • Anger: Other employees think the way things used to be done is the only way things should be done.

  • Hesitation: In some cases, employees know that change needs to happen, but they’re worried about venturing into the unknown.

  • Duplicity: These employees cheer about change while you’re looking at them—and then discourage it in every way they can.

  • Grief: To these people, the company looks unfamiliar, and they feel like they no longer belong.

If you are one of those people who is stuck in their ways, being dragged kicking and screaming out of your comfort zone, then we have a few tips to help you and your team embrace change:

Don’t Fight It

As much as you want to protest and dig your feet in, try not to fight it. Take a step back from it, think logically, and see why this change is a good thing. The worst thing you can do is to fight this change because when the change does happen, you will become unhappy and disgruntled. It’s better to accept that it is happening as you will find the adjustment a lot easier; you will be much happier because you won’t feel like you are being forced into doing something you don’t want to do.

Mentally Prepare

Being mentally prepared for change will help you embrace it much easier. If you know change is coming, learn as much as possible about why this change is happening. If you are planning a change at your practice, give your team time to mentally prepare; explain why this is a good thing and the long-term impact on the business.

Change Your Point of View

Change is a lot easier if it is you who is implementing it, but your team might not be as enthusiastic as you about change. Think of it from their point of view, what would you do if you were suddenly told that things were changing? I guess you would feel a little uneasy too. Share your thinking with your team being as open and honest as possible, gauge their reaction, and explain why this is a positive step. Slowly ease them into it, so they have time to mentally prepare for this.

Once again, if you are the one being told things are changing, then think of it from your manager’s point of view. There must be a reason for this change, don’t be afraid to ask questions to put your mind at ease.

It May Not Be Forever

Sometimes change is not forever; there might be a period when practice could implement a new process, but they want to test the waters first. Sometimes things don’t work out, even with the best intentions; a change, at first, might seem like a good idea, but if it hasn’t been executed properly, it might go back to the ways things used to be. We are not suggesting that you hope and pray that things return to how they used to be because that would be counterproductive. As we have said, embrace change with an open mind, and try your best to make it work but assess and re-evaluate if you feel it is not working.

You Might Surprise Yourself

A change could bring out the best in you, you might even surprise yourself, it could open doors for you, give you a new perspective, or it could do wonders for your practice. You might look back and think, what was all the fuss about, at the end of the day, what is the worst thing that could happen?

Change is scary, but it can be a positive step forward. Try some of these tips to help you embrace the change happening all around you, it could be one of the best things you have ever done.

The important aspect of enabling your staff to embrace change in a dental practice is to guide them through the cycle of change, leading them and constantly reassuring them.

Here are a few steps that you can follow to initiate the transformation journey of your practice:

1. Pick a symbol:

This is a simple tool that can help you to drive a sense of purpose in your team if utilized well. If you are switching to a new system, put visible markers and reminders about them.

2. Build a coalition:

Make your staff from various sections form different teams. Choose the enthusiastic people who find the most value in the system change to bring them together. They are the best ones to lead the change and eventually train their colleagues.

3. Share your vision:

It is important that the team understands why they need a change to the new system. Show them the benefits. The clearer you make the journey to them, the more they will buy into it and work for it. Repeat the same until they gain confidence in your vision and take it upon themselves to execute the change.

  • Make the future sound exciting: Frame the challenge as something inspiring and empowering. Explain why your employees should see this time as an exciting opportunity. Focus on the big picture, beyond the day–to–day worries.

  • Have a plan: Change is scary. Ease anxieties by providing an outline of what’s to come in the future. Perhaps the transition will happen over the course of months or years; break down the stages so that they are easily understood. Then, move full speed ahead.

  • Celebrate short-term wins:

A big change takes a long time to accomplish, and people can feel discouraged when it doesn’t happen quickly. It is important to make sure everyone sees and aligns with the progress you make. Small celebrations on completing different steps in a phased transition go a long way in giving trust and confidence to your team and incentivizing them to work further towards the goal.

  • Let employees vent:

Even the most positive employees feel frustrated by change. It’s important to let them air out their feelings. When your workers express themselves openly, you learn about glitches in the workflows that you didn’t anticipate. You also discover who might need additional support.

  • Over-communicate:

There is no alternative to communication. It is with constant regular communication and repetition that a message gets imbibed into someone. You should always make it a point to communicate the need and the benefits as a clear vision repeatedly.

  • Keep the momentum rolling:

As you get closer to your goal and people start enjoying some benefits of the new system, you’ll feel the momentum building. Harness that momentum of change, and don’t let it slip away from you. Momentum becomes synergy.

Kevin Cook

Kevin Cook

December 30, 20205 min read