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Pass the Ball

I recently went to a football game with my husband, and it got me thinking about a couple of my clients who have been struggling with carrying too much on their shoulders. When you take all the responsibility upon yourself, it’s incredibly overwhelming and becomes a heavy burden on your physical and mental health. Running a dental practice is hard enough, so don’t forget that you’re not alone—you’ve got a team with you out there on the field! You may be the coach of the team, but you’re also one of the players, so learn to rely on your teammates and pass the ball to them.

Delegate and Elevate

Sports analogies are great because you’ve got a team that has the right people in the right seats coming together around the right values to achieve its goal. Just as the quarterback needs the offensive line to keep them from getting sacked, we need the team to take these tasks on to protect us from being tackled by anxiety and exhaustion. I was just talking to a client about delegating using their digital printer to one of their team members, but they were hesitant about letting something like that go. However, part of Better Practice, Better Life is learning to let go, and that requires trust. As Gino Wickman notes in Traction, getting the right team members in the right seats is crucial to being able to delegate responsibility, because you can’t let go without knowing they’re going to excel at the task. When you have the right people doing what they excel at, it allows you to elevate that task beyond what it would have been if you had done it yourself.

Follow the Game Plan

How do you get them ready to get onto the field? By giving them the skills and the clarity to succeed! Just as a football team understands and then executes the play when the coach or quarterback calls it, so too must your team know your vision. If you don’t tell your team what the plays and the ultimate goal are, they’re going to be completely lost. Then when you go to throw the ball, your wide receiver won’t be there to receive the pass. It makes the game so much better when everyone knows the game plan, and that requires alignment.

A team has multiple coaches, just like a practice can have multiple doctors or a leadership team, and those coaches must always be in alignment, for the sake of the team. If there’s a problem with the team in this situation, it’s not the team that’s the problem—it’s the leadership. Like Kirk says, “Any crack in daylight at the top blinds everybody else,” so the coaches need to set aside time dedicated to getting aligned. A team should never go onto the field when the coaches aren’t aligned—can you imagine playing on a football team where the offensive coordinator and head coach aren’t on the same page? Every single person on the team would be confused.


You don’t need to make dentistry any harder than it is by attempting to shoulder the burden of everything all by yourself—after all, you can’t catch your own pass. You have a group of people that are on your team, so treat them like a team. You have to have core values that attract the right players, you have to have a game plan, you have to align everyone around your vision, and you have to practice. A practice requires so much work to run effectively, but the more evenly spread those tasks are within the practice, the better things are going to run. You don’t need to coach on your own, either—reach out to the ACT team today, and let us show you how to build a Better Practice, and a Better Life by relying on your team. You’re going to win the game, and you’re going to do it together!

Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental


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