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Dental Practice Solutions - Debbie Bittke

The Dentist as a Player-Coach

By: Peter Vanstrom, DDS

March 12, 2019

Consultant, Facilitator of Profit and Communication for Dental Practice Solutions

The National Basketball Association was founded as the Basketball Association of America in 1946. Throughout the many seasons of the NBA, some 40 players have served as both coach and player at the same time. Since the salary capwas instituted in the1984-85 season, the NBA has prohibited teams from employing a player-coach.

In 1948, Buddy Jeannette, of the then Baltimore Bullets, was the first player-coach to win a championship. Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics is the perhaps the most famous player-coach of all time.

He was a dominant player and an effective coach, winning two National Championships in the dual role.But that completes the list of player-coaches who won National Titles. Only 2 of 40 were champions.

It is not difficult to figure out why so few were big winners. It is extremely difficult to be a coach who is making all of the line up decisions, game time player substitutions, game time play call decisions, disciplining poor play, motivating players during the game and, of course, arguing with the referees, while being at your best playing in the game.

Hey, doc, does this sound a bit familiar?If you own a dental practice (or a few), and you practice in that dental practice as a dental care provider, then you are a dental player-coach. And, it is not easy wearing both hats, is it?

How many days have you been working hard all day, just a stride off schedule, only to find the time crunch at days end is forcing you to skip another work out, miss another of your kid’s soccer games, or cancel out on a gathering with friends. Being a dental player-coach is not only difficult; it is, in fact, almost impossible.

One of the toughest aspects of being a dental player-coach is when you are in the clinical area, working on patients, producing for the office, how do you keep track of the rest of the practice? For example, who is keeping tabs on the front desk? Is the receptionist answering the phone quickly and correctly? Is the financial/treatment coordinator closing those cases with solid financial arrangements? Are patients being greeted properly and seated in hygiene on time? Oh yeah, what is happening in hygiene?

Exhausting isn’t it? We dentists know why only 2 out of 40 NBA player-coaches won championships; it’s absolutely draining. It is in fact, almost impossible to fulfill both roles and be successful. In dentistry it is so very difficult to act as the owner of the practice, managing all business, staffing, training and financial affairs while practicing at the same time. The rare “Bill Russell of dentistry” needs no sleep, has no social life and loves to live at the office.

So what is the solution for dentists who are placed in the practitioner-owner mode? Well, a few options I do not like. To relieve yourself of the ownership headaches, you could sell your practice to a corporate entity and simply become an employee. Or you can sell to a management or DSO type group and give up control and possibly work for them. Or you could sell to an associate and hope that you are kept on to work as long as YOU like.

Frankly, for the potential profitability, retirement potential and autonomy, I have always chosen outside coaching for my team and me. I have practiced for 30 years and have utilized the talents of a number of different practice management groups, individuals and advisors to help me build and sustain a very profitable practice.

With the proper outside coaching for you and your team, you can own your practice and maintain all of the benefits of ownership. And, you can still be a player, enjoying the financial rewards, challenges, achievements and fulfillment of the clinical aspects as a practitioner.

An outside coach, or consultant, can be the fresh set of eyes and ears that can help redirect focus, refresh systems and keep staff members (and you) accountable for the actions that make your practice successful. It is tough to be a player-coach in any sport and in any business. If you are a dental player-coach, open yourself up to some outside coaching and watch your practice grow.

How about we sit-down and chat more about your position?

Please contact me if you are open to chatting about this. I have solutions.

To schedule your free profit-boosting session, click here or call to schedule: 949-351-8741. You can also email our office to schedule.

ABOUT DR. PETER VANSTROM

Consultant, Facilitator of Profit and Communication for Dental Practice Solutions

Dr. Vanstrom has thirty years of clinical practice delivering high quality dental care.

He teaches other dentists across the USA how to provide outstanding care in areas such as cosmetics, implant dental surgery, implant restorative care, oral cancer, and non-surgical periodontal treatment.

He also teaches other dentists about how to run a team-driven and patient centered practice like his.

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