A Values Assessment

You possess the answers to your problems – the key is to learn to unlock them

Here’s a method I recommend when dentists are having some trouble determining whether they’re making the right changes or not. It’s what I used to create Quality Dental Plan (QDP), which was the solution I designed to address the problems I was having: stagnant growth, decreased revenue and far too much dependence on insurance. It’s a pretty simple approach made up of three steps, but if you do it right, you can create lasting change in your business.

1. Assess Your Values:

Begin by nailing down what your values are as a dentist and practice owner. What is important to you in your career? Identifying your values is the first step, but ultimately what we want to do is explore them and determine ways that they can help you meaningfully solve the problems that you’re facing.

  • Take a minute and quickly write down your values. These should be quick and off the cuff. Your values should be inherent and always there with you.
  • When you’re done, go through your list of values and assign them all a number from one to ten — one representing the value that’s most important to you and ten being the least important. Also, see if any of the values are similar enough to be combined. You want a simple, distinct list.
  • Any value that you’ve labeled six or higher should be removed from the list. That’s not to say those values aren’t important, but you want to focus on the five values that matter the most to you. At least for the short term.

2. Determine Why Your Values Are Important To You:

Now it’s time to really examine each of your values. For each one, ask yourself if that value is important to you because it’s moving you away from some sort of problem or towards some sort of goal.

Let me explain what I mean. My professional values are making my revenue goals, helping my patients, maintaining my peace of mind (not being frustrated with my business), evenly balancing my professional and personal life, enjoyment, simplicity and freedom.

Those are my values, but let’s pretend they’re yours. For the first one—achieving revenue goals—ask yourself if that’s a value because you’re trying to pay off the debt you accrued from college, dental school, and starting your practice. If it is, then you’re trying to move away from a problem. If it’s important because you want to add another operatory and take on a new associate, then you’re moving toward a goal.

What I suggest doing is assigning a percentage number from 1% to 100% based on where you currently are with each value. How close am I to the problem? How close to where I want to be?

Away From Problem                        Toward Goal/Solution

1% – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 100%

The lower numbers are likely your bigger problems. These values represent urgent needs. The higher values represent ideals. Ideals are important and eventually you want to address all of them, but for first steps, it’s almost certainly your needs that you want to focus on

3. Adjusting Your Values To Put You On The Right Path:

Okay, you’ve identified what your values are and you know which ones represent the most urgent needs. Now let’s see what we can do to put you on the path to fulfilling them.

Look at all of the values that scored less than 50% on your scale. Going back to my list of values, let’s consider the final one: freedom. If the reason for this is because you’re spending far too much time dealing with insurance billing and losing good patients when they learn that something isn’t covered on their insurance, then you’re definitely moving away from a problem with this value. Let’s assign it a percentage score of 30%.

In theory, you want that number to be higher, and while ultimately that’s going to require making some changes to your practice, you can move it closer to the upper side of the scale just by adjusting the value so that it’s goal-oriented. “Freedom to run my practice free of insurance” can instead become “utilize new programs that allow me to succeed without insurance.” Now, you have a goal in sight and can look for opportunities that fulfill that goal. And you’re off and running.