Continuing education, a crucial tool for success

Sept. 24, 2013
The practice that learns together grows together. Continuing education can be a very effective tool for building a practice toward success.

by Lois Banta

The practice that learns together grows together. Continuing education can be a very effective tool for building a practice toward success. I know you've heard this a zillion times … school is never out for the professional.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to keep a practice current and going forward is to attend quality CE classes. There are many clinical courses to choose from, courses required to keep licenses current, and new techniques and materials discovered every year. However, the most overlooked and important continuing education classes are the ones that assist a practice in growing the business and building the team. The business of running a successful practice is one of the most important processes in the life of a successful practice.

  • Seek out new and innovative techniques, processes, and opportunities in business, communication, and leadership.
  • Create great leaders in the team by involving the entire team in the process. Have the team suggest courses for the practice and have them identify the key elements on why they feel this particular course would benefit the practice.
  • Attend courses as a team, which is a great way to reach common goals and obtain ongoing positive results. I always recommend that an entire dental team attend at least one course about business and leadership. It is the best way for everyone to be on the same page. Additionally, there are many unique ways to learn.
  • Plan a retreat off-site with specific goals in mind to grow the practice, strategize the next year's goals, and design future systems. This is a great opportunity to build camaraderie and grow together as a team.
  • There are many ways to learn in the office. I recommend listening to a CD, watching a video, and inviting companies into the practice to demonstrate new products or services.
  • Another great opportunity is to invite a professional organization to the office to offer in-office training.
  • Involve the team in the planning process. This helps them take ownership in the growth of the practice. Set action plans from the results of the meeting and choose deadlines to complete special projects.
  • There are many resources for team retreats available on the Internet. This is a great resource to design a powerful experience.

Seek out conferences that meet the needs of the practice. For instance, specialty dentistry has conferences dedicated to their specialties. But if one were to think outside the box, one could seek out business, team building, and communication courses that allow everyone to work together. There can be a great division between clinical and administrative teams due to the nature of job responsibilities. However, the patient needs to see cohesiveness in the team, which means everyone should be in agreement.

Patients don't necessarily comprehend that the skills necessary to obtain quality results take years of training and practice. The patient does notice, however, when a practice isn't working well as a team and not communicating effectively. Remember that patients perceive excellence in dentistry by observing body language and listening to the team members communicate with one another, and that equates to quality dentistry. Therefore, time must be invested in training for effective communication, team building, leadership, and positive body language. It is the key to growing the practice and creating successful results.

Invest in the future by heading off potential roadblocks through ongoing business, leadership, and communication training. Inspect what you expect of the results and keep the focus on moving forward. Remember to reward for positive results and address any ongoing challenges quickly. The team that learns together stays together.

Lois Banta is CEO and founder of Banta Consulting, Inc., established in 2000. She is also the owner and CEO of the Speaking Consulting Network. Banta Consulting specializes in all aspects of dental practice management. Lois has over 37 years of dental experience. To contact her for a personal consultation or to invite her to speak to your organization, call 816-847-2055, write 33010 NE Pink Hill Rd, Grain Valley, MO 64029, email [email protected], or visit

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