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Part 2 Management Tip #21

Create Systems and Policies

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Tip 21: Create Systems and Policies

A bad system will beat a good person every time.
- W. Edwards Deming

Organize around business functions, not people. Build systems within each business. Let systems run the business and people run the systems. People come and go but the systems remain constant.
- Michael Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited

Those who know me will tell you that I am a very disciplined and consistent person. I wasn't born that way. Personally I developed habits that enabled me to produce the outcomes I desired. In Part I, I discussed the role of habits for self-management. This Tip is about creating habits at a group level. Because of the difficulty controlling other people, business creates habits are called systems. Systems and policies become the constitution of any business. Every function of your dental practice should be governed by a system. The function of a practice is the entirety of its systems.

Before a system is actually created the dentist must understand why the system is being created. That explanation is in the form of a policy. So let's define a policy as a course of action or plan pursued by an organization (two people or more) that answers the questions "what" and "why." A system answers the question "how" will the policy be implemented. Systems also answer the other questions, "who," "when" and "where." The system details exactly and specifically how the results will be obtained.

By creating an operations manual the dentist takes the confusion out of how the practice runs. Rather than depending on individuals to behave as they wish, the policies and systems guide the practice. Policies and systems ensure the following:

  1. Consistency to your mission and goals.
  2. Coordination of the behavior of the entire team.
  3. Every team member becomes confident in their role.
  4. Stability because each staff member is clear about objectives, expectations and requirements.
  5. Help in the education and development of all staff members.

Policies and systems provide the framework for the members of the practice to apply their knowledge.

The remainder of this section will discuss some of the key systems of a dental practice. Of course, there is no function within a business that is excluded from creating a system. As a practice grows there will be times when there will be a need to develop a new system to be included in the operations manual.

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