By Luc Wade, Marketing Director at Hive Business
In the world of tech and start-ups, where I spent some of my career, speed is seen as an asset in product development. Hence the “move fast and break things” mentality, and the commitment to minimum viable products and agile development.
But speed matters elsewhere too. There’s relatively little written about how to make it a serious operational advantage, but we know it doesn’t come naturally. It’s a discipline, a skill, and making faster decisions is uncomfortable.
Dental practice owners struggle in this area, so much so that it often wreaks havoc in their business and personal lives. There are three reasons.
- Dentists seek perfection. They’ve been raised on evidence-based training and always prefer to seek more information than make a decision — known as analysis paralysis.
- They tend to be risk averse, also thanks to their clinical training. Taking risks is against their nature, and you can’t make good quality decisions unless you can accurately assess and mitigate risk.
- Running a practice can be a lonely position. Practice owners carry a heavy load yet struggle to delegate, and can suddenly feel overwhelmed
The collective result of these three factors, as I have personally seen many times, is paralysis around the two types of decisions that practice owners cannot avoid:
- Day to day and week to week operational decisions
- Periodic strategic decisions with high stakes
Because this problem is so common we developed the Hive shadow board. Two or more of us join a client for board meetings and act on behalf of the owner and shareholders. We bring rules, expectations and boundaries to the decision making process. Whether we sit in as the chairman, chief financial officer, marketing director or whatever depends on the client’s needs.
The best thing the shadow board does is facilitation. It allows the owner and senior team to hear their own views reflected back to them. As the American author Erica Jong wrote, “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”
We mirror the thoughts and concerns raised, which helps lonely and isolated principals feel validated and even develop extremely bold perspectives. The other thing the shadow board allows us to do is offer recommendations based on our industry experience and knowledge. By now we have seen most of the dilemmas experienced by dental practice owners and we have a pretty good data set.
The main aim, however, is to provide counsel and a foundation for more efficient decision making. The shadow board is not a permanent bolt-on because we don’t want to create dependency, instead we want to embed the discipline of decision making into your business because you already have the answers, you just need space to properly articulate them.
A good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan next year. Are you the roadblock, and could you use our shadow board to get out of your own way? Give me a call on 01872 300232 or email [email protected] to find out more.