Dental Practice Management and Pareto’s Law
Pareto’s Law – 20% of effort yields 80% of results.
One of the biggest challenges in dental practice management is related to what we allocate time to and what the “to do” priorities are.
You’ve probably been exposed to this 80/20 rule before or at least heard someone say it in casual conversation. It’s highly doubtful that any consultant you’ve ever encountered was concerned about 80/20 as it relates to dental practice.
Gordon Christensen opened my eyes to this concept in 1991 during a meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. He would show up at major meetings only looking for the small percent of information that mattered the most on his hunt for relevant data that mattered to clinicians.
Where Pareto (and Gordo) becomes very handy is looking at how you spend your time. The majority of dentists report that they don’t have enough time as part of their frustration with dental practice management. This is complete bunk. Everyone reading this has more time than they actually need. Every day you wake up alive and kicking you get a new fully useable 24 hours.
Dentist’s, especially those allergic to business books, rarely get Pareto’s law nor apply it. It’s not discussed in any lecture hall at a major dental meeting even thought is has more direct application to your life, dental practice management, and practice than MOST of what will go on at any clinical meeting. Right Gordo?!?
Here’s some other biggies: 80% of your profits come from 20% of your activities. f you have an office of 5 employees, one creates 4X the value of the other 4 as individuals. Take 5 practices, and 1 is going to be far more profitable than the other 4. 80% of profits in private practice go to 20% of the profession Yes, there is a self-reported income “average” published by the ADA but when you slice up a room of dentists there is an upper 20% that doesn’t do just okay but OMG! REALLY well. They tend to do things very differently with selling.
I’ll leave you to discover the hidden power of 80/20 in these other areas but let us return now to dental practice management and specifically “time management” and Pareto.
Dentist time “problems” have nothing to do with becoming more efficient thanks to better time management, fancy organization systems, filo-faxes, digital calendars, etc. You’ll see nothing about “time management” in this Amazon best seller.
All of these things lead to more stress and anxiety when it comes to dental practice management because the goal with these “efficiency” based systems is to simply shove more into a container that doesn’t expand. It’s more important to decide what really belongs in the container than to attempt to expand it. By viewing time “management” from this perspective while keeping Pareto’s law in mind we can lower stress while achieving good dental practice management. Ultimately, good dental practice management means getting more of what we want from our practices and helping more patients.
Dentist time problems have everything to do with how one thinks about time value and then applies 80/20 to areas that you feel are the most time crunched. It also has to do with identifying what’s important and then deciding how much time is allotted to doing what is the most important.
Non-member readers of my free letter, waste 80% of their time on things that aren’t important. I know the behavior of those who are not part of our group and can predict it. In fact, if you haven’t attended our case acceptance training, I can guarantee you that you have 80% less administrative time as a direct result from how you sell, what your fees look like and how that impacts case profit, how well your marketing is being restricted because of not having that course, and in how you address big cases inside dental insurance contracts. A smart first step would be to unlock more returns from your time and marketing expenses with that #1 university backed case acceptance (selling system).
That is of course if you see some value in 80/20 thinking! If you feel you are trapped in a never ending time crunch, 80/20 is the best way to reboot your relationship with time – which again is ABUNDANT!