Having a Hard Time Implementing Change in Your Dental Practice?

Doctors and office managers often ask me how they make changes happen in their office.

They tell me stories about all the things they’ve done to motivate their teams, and efforts they’ve made to push positive change in the office, only to hear grumbling from the staff.  It’s frustrating and they seek help, figuring they must be doing something wrong.

There is a correct way to implement change in any organization.

If it’s positive and will help the office grow or better serve your patients, it should not be difficult. If the entire team is informed about the initiative, trained appropriately, and understands why the change is positive, it should be easy to implement.

When it’s not easy or is met with resistance, I suggest you take your focus off the change and shift onto who is pushing back. When a positive change is being resisted, an employee must be making an effort to stop it and avoid implementation.  There are people who work against you without your knowledge.

When you discuss the idea with them they seem fully on board, but then you hear they were talking to other staff members about what a bad idea it is and why it won’t work.  Why wouldn’t these people just come to you and tell you this?  Why are they hiding their negativity about this change?

The first step to addressing the opposition is to identify the person is who is pushing back and why. 

There are many reasons why someone may be opposed to change.

  • They might feel threatened about their job or their status in the office.
  • They might be the type of person that doesn’t like change because it means extra work.
  • They like to feel important by getting coworkers to follow them.
  • They may have been like this all along but until you started to talk about change you didn’t noticed it.

The why behind the resistance is not the key issue, but identifying the employees and handling them is key.

Regardless of their reasons for pushing back, they are not working toward the advancement of the practice and following the directions of the owner. That must be handled.

In order to implement a change, resistant employees need to change their ways as soon as possible or it might be time for them to find a new office.

As long as they push back and prevent change, it will be difficult for you to implement any new ideas or processes, and ultimately this negativity and resistance will take root in the culture of the practice.

Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson, BS, MS, FAADOM is the founder and driving force behind Front Office Rocks, and the leading provider of on-demand virtual training and resources for dental practices.