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Data doesn’t lie.

I have spent many hours on the little league field and watching countless sporting events. What’s the main thing everyone pays close attention to, besides the athletes? The scoreboard! The athletes are aware of the adjustments they need to make by utilizing the score, team stats, and individual stats.  Do you have a scoreboard for your practice?  How do you know the state your business is currently in and where it is headed? Does your team know the stats and what adjustments to make to improve them?

I’m talking about DATA! If we have data, we’re talking about something that actually exists.  Data doesn’t lie.  If we don’t have any data, you and I are just talking about how we feel and that’s not good at all. To grow as a dental practice, you’ve got to make decisions, not opinions. You have to have data so you’re not guessing.

It’s very important that we’re talking about data and numbers to create some type of accountability. And everybody has to have a number of some kind. Could you imagine a school with no grades?

Here are 8 advantages to everyone having a number:

The first advantage of numbers is it speeds up time and it cuts through all subjective communication between managers and direct reports. When your dental hygienist provides probing depths, you already know what’s going on, for the most part. Numbers just cut through very subjective communication between managers or leaders and team members.

When everybody has a number and they know what the expectation is, it just makes it easy. And again, accountability requires accounting, and accountability begins with clear expectations . . .  And nothing is clearer than a number.

When you’re working with people that like accountability, they appreciate numbers. They like things being done.  The wrong people in the wrong seats, usually resist measurables.  They won’t talk about numbers. If you hire a new front desk person and they don’t want to talk numbers, that’s a bad hire.

If we’re talking about a number and a time, we are completely aligned about what the result is and who’s going to do what by when. When a team member is clear on his or her number and they agree they can achieve it, you’ve got a commitment . . . And there is no gray area.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘I don’t want any competition.’ No, you do want some competition. Sure, some teams might feel a little discomfort, a little stress. But there’s nothing wrong with a little competition.

What gets measured improves, but what gets measured and reported on exponentially improves.  We coach our clients to not only track data and KPIs, but to report on those numbers routinely in team meetings.

When a team is composed of the right people in the right seats and they agree to hit a number, they ask themselves, “How can we hit it?”  It creates camaraderie and a little bit of good pressure.

When an activity-based number or a performance-based number or a leading indicator is out of whack, you can proactively solve it.

Data and numbers are important in creating accountability. The concept of accountability gets thrown around a lot, and I think it’s critically important. But there are people that don’t define it really well.  Accountability is not a trust issue.  It’s part of it; it’s very important to have. But accountability requires accounting. So, some people say, “No, you don’t trust me.” And I know firsthand, because I have three daughters, and I’ve been all over each of them about when they’ve got to be home. They’d say, “You don’t trust us!” and every time I’d respond with, ‘I totally trust you! I’m just going to verify what time you’re supposed to be home.”

Money is not the most important thing in dentistry. Dr. Pete Dawson shared with me, years ago, “Making money in dentistry is the byproduct. When you do everything right, get it really well-organized, and you understand your business, then you make plenty of money in dentistry.” Most of you know that already. So, I never want you to hear, as you’re listening to anything we ever do, that money is the most important. That is absolutely not true. It’s the byproduct. But it’s important that we talk about numbers.

Without data, you start to manage by assumptions, opinions, emotions, and egos. If you don’t have data, you’re just guessing. Avoid guessing and assuming. Give your team members the gift of clear expectations. A number. Give everyone a number and start your path to a better practice and a better life.

About the Author: Kirk Behrendt is the Founder of ACT Dental, a customized coaching company for dentists. He has invested his entire professional life studying the top dental practices in the world and the leadership that guides them.
As the founder of ACT, his vision is driven by the commitment to provide highly personalized care to the dental profession. By creating a talented team of experts, Kirk and his team continue to positively impact the practice of dentistry one practice at a time. His personal mission is to use up every ounce of his potential. He lectures all over the world to help individuals take control of their own lives. Kirk has been recognized as one of Dentistry Today as one of the Top Leaders in Dental. Dr. Peter Dawson called him “THE best motivator I have ever heard.”
Kirk has competed internationally in 4 Ironman Triathlons and 9 Half-Iron Triathlons. His feeling is that there is no greater parallel to optimal business performance than optimal athletic performance. He loves cycling, basketball, stand-up comedy, and most of all, spending time with his wife, Sarah, and children Kinzie, Lily, Zoe & Bo.


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