The elephant in your life

Dr. Albert (Ace) Goerig of Endo Mastery urges clinicians to look at their practices from the outside-in to get a new perspective on positive or challenging aspects of their business.

Dr. Albert (Ace) Goerig offers practice perspectives that you’ll never forget

I don’t know any more about elephants than the average person, but I am confident that specialized skills are required to keep an elephant as happy and healthy as possible. Since endodontists go to dental school and not business school, practice owners are responsible for an elephant in the form of your practice. It’s a huge, dominating element in your life.

An ancient elephant parable tells the story of how six blind men each touched different parts of the elephant and tried to describe it. Depending on what part they touched, they formed different perspectives on how the elephant appeared: The tail was a rope, the side was a wall, the ear was a fan, the leg was a tree, the tusk was a spear, and the trunk was a snake. None of them had the full picture.

Similarly, endodontists spend the vast majority of their time focused on treatment, which is a very limited perspective for a business owner and the source of many blind spots. Viewing your practice only from the position of a doctor in the operatory is akin to looking from the inside-out. As a practice owner, you need to look from the outside-in.

Here are some perspective questions you should cultivate to overcome your blind spots. Think about each one as a blind person touching just one part of your practice. What do you sense, and what conclusions do you reach?

  • How does my practice and team appear to referring doctors and their team?
  • What are my pluses and minuses compared to other endodontic practices?
  • What perception do patients have when they call my practice, arrive at my facility, and experience my team and me during their appointment?
  • What is the perspective of team members who work in my practice? Beyond clinical care, what would my team describe as my main priorities as a business leader?
  • If I were a different doctor who was buying my practice, what opportunities would I see, and what limitations have been allowed to persist?
  • Is the practice as happy and healthy as possible financially?
  • How would an outside coach view my practice?

Most doctors have difficulty developing their outside-in perspective because they don’t have the in-depth knowledge to evaluate their businesses objectively. Blind spots usually lead them to underestimate opportunities. The light goes on once you shift your perspective and start looking at your elephant in the right way.

Read more about Endo Mastery and how to avoid the economic pitfalls of business.

Albert Goerig, DDS, MS, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and a sought-after speaker who has lectured extensively on the field of endodontics and practice success throughout the United States, Canada, and abroad. He is the author of more than 100 published articles and contributing author to numerous endodontic textbooks. Dr. Goerig has a private endodontic practice in Olympia, Washington, in the top 1% nationwide for practice profitability. He has almost 40 years of experience as an endodontic educator and practice coach to over 1,000 endodontists. | 1-800-482-7563 |

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