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Want to Fix Your Practice? Get Away From it Once in Awhile.

There is a saying we often use here at ACT, “You can’t fix the place while it is flying.” Obviously, but we see dentists every day wondering why progress is so hard to achieve. Yet these same frustrated dentists are seeing patients around the clock, rarely setting aside time for team meetings much less time for them to think strategically.  Quite frankly, dentists can’t work ON their practice while they are working IN the practice. There is a certain mindset needed for successful day to day operations of your practice and a completely different mindset to think strategically about the long term vision for your practice and the path to get there. I experienced both these mindsets last week.  Let me share. 

I was scheduled last week to attend a two day executive leadership training program. It is a good program but it was two days away, away from my office where a mile long to-do list lies on the desk. Two days away from home where yard work is piling up. I really couldn’t afford to leave and to be honest, I nearly canceled my trip. In the end I sucked it up and went. 

I’m sure glad I did and I’ll tell you why. My outgoing flight’s internet was down so I had no choice but to read a book. I literally could feel myself relax as I read.  Arriving at my hotel a couple hours prior to the workshop, I was able to quietly sit and prioritize that mile long list of tasks so upon the return to my office, I would be sure I was spending my time on the most important tasks. Later that afternoon,  I attended a panel discussion on Artificial Intelligence in business and the implications it will play for years to come.  Ironically, I have an article on this exact topic sitting on my desk. It’s been sitting there for two months and it remains unread because there is always something more pressing to do. By day two, I had fully converted to that other mindset and used the leadership training to see more clearly many things I can do to be a better leader as well as some long range strategies for ensuring our team culture stays healthy.   

The best description of what I felt was an uncluttering of my brain. As the day to day operational noise melted away due to being away from the office, I experienced myself thinking more calmly, more clearly, and the solutions to some ongoing challenges suddenly became apparent. 

Okay so what’s the message? Unless you literally get OUT of your practice, you risk staying stuck in the operational mindset, never gaining the clarity to see the simple solutions to your most frequent day to day challenges. Ideally you should be getting away from your business once every 3 months to work ON the business. If you can also surround yourself with other leaders that will challenge you to think differently and provide solutions to your challenges, now you will truly be working ON your practice. 

I’d encourage you to consider joining us at our To The Top Study Club here in Milwaukee. We designed it to give you the mental break that neuroscience has proven is so essential for leaders. A day with other growth minded dentists, thinking smarter about how to provide dentistry just might give you the decluttering your brain needs. You might be surprised how clearly you start seeing your future practice as soon as you get away from it. 

Remember, as the leader you need to invest in your mind, invest in your thinking, and invest in your capabilities to lead. It is impossible to do this while treating patients. 

If you’d like to come as a guest and try out our To The Top Study Club for free, click the button below! 

Apply Here


Dr. Barrett Straub

Dr. Straub practices general and sedation dentistry in Port Washington, WI. He has worked hard to develop his practice into a top performing fee for service practice that focuses on improving the lives of patients through dentistry. A graduate of Marquette Dental School, his advanced training and CE includes work at the Spear Institute, LVI, DOCS, and as a member of the Milwaukee Study Club. He is a past member of the Wisconsin Dental Association Board of Trustees and was awarded the Marquette Dental School 2017 Young Alumnus of the Year. As a former ACT coaching client that experienced first-hand the transformation that coaching can provide, he is passionate about helping other dentists create the practice they’ve always wanted. Dr. Straub loves to hunt, golf, and spends winter on the ice curling. He is married to Katie with two daughters, Abby, and Elizabeth.