A well-run dental practice requires a strong team working together every day. We’ve all been there when the team isn’t behind us. We find ourselves pulling all the weight trying to make the dental practice hum…by ourselves.

A dental practice is like a well-oiled machine, in this analogy, a flywheel. This machine needs every part running smoothly in order to be effective. And achieving a smooth flywheel function requires removing friction and applying force, especially at the beginning of operation when momentum is key.

The flywheel effect in your dental practice results in an accumulation of small wins over time and is based on teamwork, consistency and excellence. Jim Collins introduced the ‘flywheel effect’ in his book, Good to Great. It’s a wonderful analogy to apply to your dental practice as a clear template for creating and sustaining momentum, efficiency and excellence with your teams and your dental practice.

Without teamwork, appointments may be missed, patients may feel neglected, processes may be overlooked and the overall efficiency of the practice may suffer. Each member of the team plays a crucial role, from the receptionist who schedules appointments to the dental assistants who assist the dentist during procedures. Their collective efforts create a positive and comfortable environment for patients, promoting trust and satisfaction. Effective communication and collaboration among team members are key to maintaining a well-run dental practice and delivering high-quality dental care.

The Flywheel Concept

The Flywheel Effect pertains to how you can try to build efficiency and team work in the practice every day. To illustrate this, I want you to imagine a huge flywheel that weighs thousands of pounds. Your goal is to get the flywheel moving, so you push and push as hard as you can.

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Over time, it slowly starts to move, but it’s a lot of work. Now, add an excellent practice manager, hygienist, an associate or two, and dental assistants trained and ready to get that flywheel rolling. Not only do you not have to work as hard, but you see results faster. With every turn of the flywheel, it gets a little easier.

Eventually, the momentum shifts, and boom! The flywheel is turning, and the “inertia” is working for you, not against you. You find that not everything rests on your shoulders anymore. You’re not making all the decisions. You’re not double-checking everything and the momentum for your business doesn’t rely on one person, you, any longer. You’ve created a well-oiled and fully spinning machine.

3 Ways to Leverage the Flywheel Concept in Your Dental Practice

1. Know that your success is made up of 1,000s of small decisions that are our of your control

3 Ways to Levreage the Flywheel Concept in Your Dental Practice

Which encounter is the one that achieves your patient care mission?

Which phone call is the one that fills your schedule and improves your show rate?

The answer to each of these questions is “all of them”—every day, every moment, and every interaction matters.

Set clear expectations about what’s expected and check in regularly.

Set KPIs and track them—have conversations about the data and the behaviors behind the data.

2. Recognize small and large momentum shifts

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The way we gain momentum is by consistently focusing and keeping at it.

Recognition, for example, isn’t one big shout out and then everyone on the team feels appreciated forever. Recognition is made up of thousands of high fives, shout out cards, and so on—it has to be sustained. And, over time, it’s easier, more natural, and the team feels more appreciated.

But, with the consistent saying of “thank you,” that gratitude spreads across the team and trust, collaboration, and momentum build.

3. Build a culture of collaboration

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And, the way our culture is built is with every interaction every day. Culture isn’t built overnight. Culture is built over time. Use the analogy of the flywheel. Have a discussion with your team in a huddle—maybe even hold a book club in the practice and start with Good to Great.

As your team understands how their individual roles are making the flywheel hum (or not), they will engage. On the flipside, employees and associates who don’t engage with this concept may not be the right people for your team.

There good days and bad days, of course. If you’re looking for a silver bullet to transform your team or your practice overnight, you will be disappointed and you will not have the desired result.

So, there may be days when you want things to change or transform. The Flywheel Effect shows us that moment is when you have to commit to the long haul. You may get frustrated—in those moments, lean on your team to help you “turn the wheel.”

When we work together toward a common goal, achieving that goal through hard work and earned momentum gets easier.

If you’d like to explore how to implement these concepts in your practice, take our assessment and see if you’re ready for partnership. We would love to talk with you.