6 Strategies That Can Help You Succeed at Dental Practice Change Management

Oct 05, 2022

Your dental practice culture often sets the tone for patient care and team dynamics. That’s why it’s essential to know how to implement dental practice change management if and when any culture shifts occur.

The challenge of change might not be the changes you’re making. It could be the people involved in making the change happen or the impact the process has on them.

Your team has a major stake in your dental practice culture. Savvy practice managers understand this as they facilitate change that can positively or negatively affect the culture.

Two key realities that impact how you manage change in your dental practice

1-The speed and scope of the change you’re implementing

You’ll likely agree that, while change can be (and often is) good, it can also be slow and more challenging than you envisioned. Be prepared.

2-The size of your practice and your ability to scale around change

Where practice size is considered, change can either feel like turning a cruise ship or a recreational boat. With exceptions of course, small practices might scale change more easily while larger practices require a different level of change management.

These realities and others confirm that dental practice change management requires intentional strategies. And much of your energy centers around guiding your team to embrace the change or changes.

Six strategies that can help you succeed at dental practice change management

1-No surprises

Again, your practice culture and the relationship your team has with it makes a substantial difference in how you implement change.

Whether the change involves new technology, the addition of a new dentist or expanding your services, team support is vital.

That means guiding them towards the change rather than jolting them with a change announcement. Awareness is everything as you prepare your team to embrace, accept and adapt to changes in your dental practice.

2-Compel with benefits

Change is a tough pill to swallow regardless of the outcomes. But it’s those positive, beneficial outcomes that can help your team with buy-in.

Compel your team by helping them answer the obvious questions around the change:

  • How will this impact each team member personally?
  • What are the positive results this change will provide each team role and the practice as a whole?
  • What are the potential downsides, and how is the practice prepared to deal with them?

Team buy-in around change benefits encourages open conversation and helps alleviate negative talk that can derail the change.

Talk up the benefits and talk with team members to help them understand their value to the change process.

3-Engage and equip

Team engagement circles back to how well you know them. It’s having an awareness of their personal work ethic, their role satisfaction, their personal motivations, how they have navigated previous changes or practice culture challenges.

Perspective on your team helps you understand where you might need to equip them around the pending change.

A well-equipped team has the potential to:

  • Be more competent and confident in their roles post-change.
  • Be less anxious, defensive or negative about the change.


If the change is worth the challenge, shouldn’t it be worth the investment of your resources? Start by determining what your team needs to begin the change process, including:

  • Training
  • Time
  • Support and coaching

And of course…

  • Financing

Your team will more likely engage with the change process as they see and benefit from the investment being made in it.

5-Map out your journey

A change timeline helps everyone know what’s expected along the way. Key mile-markers provide progress updates and pacing to reach the next phase in the process.

It’s also a good idea to involve a cross-section of your team in the mapping process. This is another way to create buy-in and promote synergy across your practice departments.

Team ownership in the planning process helps keep the energy high and positive. When roadblocks occur, the collective strength of the team can better work towards solutions.

6-Check the pulse

Change can gather momentum like a downhill snowball. For the good of your team and change results, push pause on occasion to follow-up with how your team is doing.

Some might be weary. Others could use some encouragement to stay the course. To engage your team:

  • Have open conversations during team meetings to check in with your team.
  • Celebrate achievements in change implementation along the way.
  • Assess your resources and confirm that team members have what they need to proceed.
  • Encourage persistence and accountability to help team members keep their eyes on the horizon.

Change is hard, but it’s also worth it! Be aware that resistance can be overcome as you focus on the strategies covered here:

  • Communicate
  • Compel
  • Engage
  • Equip
  • Invest
  • Plan
  • Follow-up

Technology is a key factor in helping you manage change in your dental practice. These related resources support the change strategies we’ve discussed here:

Data analytics tools are valuable as you prepare for change implementation in your dental practice

The Jarvis Analytics platform helps assure that you’re tracking the important metrics and staying on track with your goals as your dental practice grows and expands.

Experience Jarvis Analytics in action. Request a demo today!


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