Keeping Your Dental Practice Successful During COVID-19 Part 5

Posted by Square Practice on May 11, 2020 8:14:12 AM

We are excited to be sharing with you the fifth part of a blog series being written by our valued partner and user Dr. Randy LaFrom. Dr. LaFrom was a dentist for over 30 years before he decided to become a consultant. He has incredible insight into the dental industry and has agreed to share it. He has written a series of recommendations on what dentists should do to address the situation COVID-19 has put practices in. If you haven't read Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3 or Part 4 yet we recommend you do before going forward! We hope you find this information helpful and are able to stay successful during this hard time.


Preparing for the Grand Re-Opening of your practice in 2020 Part 5  


Square Practice COVID-19 Blog PostYou don’t have to get it perfect; you just have to do something and be resilient.

Your role as the leader of your practice changed literally overnight. You were able to control many things, you had all your KPI’s in line, and you could predict your future based upon past performances.

The way things are changing by the day, acting with a strong degree of certainty is no longer going to be the norm once you reopen your practice up.


Keeping your cool

The people who will have the hardest time with this are the "Type A" personalities. People who's tendencies are to be competitive and also very self-critical. During this time they will most likely strive for consistency and routine to be restored as fast as possible. While this is a be nice goal, if you do this with impatience, perfectionism, and are stressed out all day long, you may find you will be looking for a new team to play with very soon.

According to Dr. Michael Ryan, the Executive Director of the World Health Organization Health Emergency Program, who has been at the front lines of several globe health threats, he had the following to say about managing through a crisis: “If you need to be right before you move, you will lose. Speed trumps perfection. Perfection is the enemy of good when it comes to emergency management.”


Mental agility will be a critical characteristic for leaders to thrive in the coming economy

Agility in this context means the ability to correctly balance three main challenges that a leader has going on.


The first is the challenge of distractions

You need to be able to quickly sort through information and try to avoid jumping from one thing to another. There is so much information generated daily that we can be distracted by – all the things that are going on in the world today, and adding that onto our “normal” daily routine, plus any new protocol and strategies being tossed back and forth regarding re-opening your practices “correctly”.

There are long-term as well as short-term issues to be dealt with. There are urgent as well as lower priority issues you will need to deal with. This will require stronger time management and mindfulness management skills and making sure you are taking care of your well-being, physical health, stress, and ability to focus in short bursts as needed.


A great tool for managing your time and tasks is the Eisenhower Matrix.

Eisenhower Matrix


The second is the challenge of our ego

Our egos are attached to our past successes, based upon how things were. The harder we hold onto our past, in a changed world, the lower out ability to be agile. The sooner you can re-establish a strong sense of trust and psychological safety with your team the better.

Your self-confidence needs to be balanced with being honest about those things you don’t know the answers to, asking for advice and getting different perspectives to navigate a new future. This means allowing people in your company having the opportunity to have the flexibility to take certain educated risks and innovate independently without reprimand.


The third is the challenge of empathy

The ability to resonate with other's feelings, particularly when people are in crisis mode, can slow down your agility. Leaders may have to make tough decisions about employment and other job criteria that need to be done for the benefit of the company survival. Implementing compassion when needed is a more constructive approach that requires you to think from the other person’s perspective. Think about how you can still help give some benefit to those people during these tough times.

The key is to maintain your team members resilience through actively conveying your faith in them. Acknowledge that their lives have been disrupted as well and encourage them to embrace new routines, while making special accommodations for those who ask for special privileges, particularly during this transition period.   

People's resilience can burn-out easier during periods of extended stress, particularly if they are the type that like to be in control as well. Be sure to lead regular positive conversations with your team to keep them focused and encouraged. Promote proactive conversations allowing the team to ask questions, ask for assistance and voice concerns and suggestions for improvement.


Envision your future

When the leader is agile and the team is resilient, it makes for the potential to come out of this and emerge and a stronger team. There needs to be both a short-term as well as a long-term vision, clearly articulated within the capabilities and resources available while looking at the new demands from the environment and from your clients.

Reverse engineering is a process of setting up milestones towards your vision and then stepping backwards and looking at the gaps or constraints that need to be addressed at each step. Look at any new systems, protocols, habits, and resources you might need to incorporate before you can reach your vision.

As you reach new milestones, you will find new opportunities, as well as unanticipated challenges pop up that need to be addressed. Those leaders that can manage the day-to-day challenges while leading with vision will emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient than before.

Harvard Business Review – Perfectionism Will Slow You Down in a Crisis
Harvard Business Review – Build Your Team’s Resilience – From Home
Harvard Business Review – Leaders, Do You Have a Clear Vision for the Post-Crisis Future?

Final Thoughts

We hope this information was helpful in getting your practice ready to re-open! More on this topic will be included in Part 6 to ensure your success and survival in 2020. In the meantime we wish you and your families well during this time of transition.

We offer complimentary online presence evaluation, marketing advice, and team building coaching to help you grow your practice. Give us a call or email us for more information.


TDA Dr. Randy LaFrom

Dr. Randy LaFrom

Business Consulting and Practice Strategies.



Phone: 408-390-7283



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Topics: Improve Dental Practice Operations, Patient Communication, Dental Consulting