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Closing Another Chapter: 2021 End Strong

2021 End Strong

Once Labor Day is behind us, it seems time picks up momentum. Before you know it, we’ve dashed through multiple holidays; resolutions and intentions abound. We’ve mere weeks until another year is behind us. A new chapter of hope and optimism is before us wearing a party hat proclaiming “Happy New Year”.

As we ride the wave that leads us to the shores of opportunity, let’s position ourselves for abundance by ending this year strong and aligned for future success. 

Know your numbers

Start by running reports on your KPI’s. Knowing where you stand will help you determine where you should focus your time and efforts. These numbers are to your practice, what blood pressure, BMI, and heart rate are to your health. They may not reveal the entire picture, but they are indicators of the health of your practice. Awareness of your production numbers, collections, overhead, new patients, active patients, patient attrition, and case acceptance, will help you dial in on the areas that need improvement. Moving forward, you can implement disciplines to help position your practice to be in the best shape possible.  

Friends with benefits

Too many patients leave money lying on the table by way of unused insurance. Life gets busy and they forget they didn’t have a second cleaning this year. Run a report within your practice software to determine who has unused benefits. The leaky filling you discussed at their last appointment hasn’t been bothering them, so they’ve put it off and forgotten. 

Reach out to those patients via text message, email, or phone and make them aware of their unused benefits. Create a sense of urgency by explaining those benefits will be lost if not utilized by the end of the year. Make them aware you are concerned about their overall health.  

Provide a convenient link or contact information for them to schedule. No one wants to walk away from free money and patients are no exception.    

What’s up doc?

Performance reviews may seem a bit overwhelming, and the least favorite part of managing a team. Just as KPI reports are a means of monitoring the health of your practice, evaluations determine your employee’s state of mind. When you change your mindset to view performance reviews as an open dialogue between two professionals, it feels less intimidating. It gives you an opportunity to celebrate team members for their strengths and communicate the value they add to the practice. Asking questions about why they are or are not content in their position expands the review into a two-way dialog. This strengthens the employee-employer relationship and provides you with valuable insight into how you can improve employee retention. 

Finally, share some of your vision for the coming year and how the team member fits into the overall vision. This will help team members feel committed to a larger goal. In addition, it strengthens employee satisfaction by conveying job security.  

Teamwork makes the Dreamwork

Teamwork makes the Dreamwork

Every successful organization prides itself on the strength of its community. In order for team members to buy into your corporate goals, they must be effectively communicated. Some estimates state only 15% of organizations effectively define and communicate the key results needed to achieve their goals. As a result, these goals are rarely achieved.    

Setting aside time to share your new year practice objectives helps your team fully understand what is necessary to achieve practice goals, and what role they play in the big picture. Some practice owners fear sharing practice goals sets them up for too much managerial vulnerability. This is scarcity thinking, and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the vulnerability will strengthen relational bonds and establish your team’s buy-in. You are far more likely to achieve your goals when your team comes alongside you in your mission. 


The end of the year always brings a time of reflection. The last two years have brought unprecedented challenges. Perhaps you didn’t crush all your goals. The important thing is, you’re still here. You’ve pivoted and reinvented yourself and come out the other side. Now is the time to celebrate what is worthy of celebrating: life, relationships, and freedom. 

Recognize the hard work and accomplishments of your team. Express gratitude for their commitment to the practice, your patients, and each other. These past two years have been difficult. Celebrate that you’re still standing. . .as a team, as a practice, and as individuals. Share that gratitude verbally, and perhaps with bonuses, a party, or in some other creative way that conveys your appreciation. 

The pleasure in opening a book and turning the page is the anticipation of what lies ahead in the next chapter. Turning the page to discover a blank page is even more exciting because you get to write the next chapter, and the title is: Opportunity. 



Stephanie Baker Rdh BsHer clinical and support team experiences are the inspiration for her writing and the motivation for coaching clients to success. She is a regular contributor to various publications within dentistry and beyond. In addition to feeding the homeless, starting a non-profit, and being involved in her church and other community organizations, she sings professionally and enjoys several creative outlets. She resides in Florida where she enjoys the company of her husband, three children, and four beautiful grandchildren.

Stephanie Baker
Author: Stephanie Baker