How to Institute Change

By Dr. Addison Killeen

November 28, 2023

There’s times when we, as the owners and leaders, try to institute a new policy or system. Oftentimes we come back from a CE course all fired up and ready to take on the world only to face a wall of resistance to this new way of doing things.

Why do these fail so often?  

It’s often associated with the realization that we missed a step somewhere along the way. So, here’s my six step model of how change works and how we need to address each part of the process in order to get people to change.

If the team doesn’t have awareness – they will just end up in confusion.

If the team doesn’t have buy in – they will just end up in sabotage.

If the team doesn’t have the skills – they will just be stressed and filled with anxiety.

If the team doesn’t have the desire – they will be openly resistant.

If the team doesn’t have the resources – they will be frustrated with you.

If the team doesn’t have an action plan – they will be on a treadmill loop of aimless wandering.

So, how do we help avoid all these pitfalls? Remember that 70% of learning is on the job training. This training needs to be done in small steps, hand-in-hand, and with the resources for you to help them. You will be standing at their side as they learn this new idea. This is not done in a classroom, it’s done on the “battlefield” of the practice: at the front desk and operatory.

To recap, when we ask someone to change, we need to remember these big rules:

If you follow these rules, and follow up with the accountability, then you can institute change like a champ. Remember, the dental industry evolves all the time, from clinical to business practices, so your ability to change and implement change is going to lead to success. I hope you find this process helpful the next time you need to switch things up in your practice!