Who hasn’t seen Moneyball, the Brad Pitt film about Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s and how they changed the game of baseball? For those who may not know, major league baseball was a very expensive sport to play before Billy Bean decided there was a better way. If you wanted the best players, you paid through the nose to get them. Only large and well-funded teams could get the great players and therefore get to the playoffs.
Billy Bean knew better. He suspected a good team, even a great team, was not just a bunch of superhuman players, but was an amalgamation of everyday “average” players that were each great at getting a specific job done: first base runs, batting close, right field catches, etc.
Sometimes I think our dental practices are stuck in the same mindset as these old baseball teams. In order to increase profits, you must hire an office manager who knows everything; you must hire a hygienist who can set a world record on how many patients they can see in a day; and you must be a dentist who is a superman of finance, business and clinical operations.
We set ourselves up for failure when we think like this. Would you expect your lab equipment or your software to suddenly perform at outrageously superior levels? No. You know what to expect from the equipment you buy. Each has its place in the office and performs a single function or series of functions very well.
I want to advise us to start thinking the same way about our staff and ourselves. Now, “moneyballing” your practice doesn’t mean you go out and find the cheapest person that can do a job. That’s just discount shopping and you’ll get what you pay for. However, it does mean that you should be looking for an office manager that’s really good at specific things. Insurance management a challenge for your office? Now you know what you’re looking for in a candidate. Scheduling problems? A perfect opportunity to hone and specify the training for your front desk.
If you work this way, you can build a practice that is exacting in its execution, efficient in its operations and ready for the next challenge that comes your way.
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