In a previous article, The Good To Great Dental Practice focused on an overview of some good to great concepts, targeting the principles of a level 5 leader. This week I will explore another of the seven good to great principles: The Hedgehog Concept. The "Hedgehog Concept” is: focusing on your company’s core purpose, your sweet spot. The concept is based on an ancient Greek parable that states: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."
The One Big Thing concept directs the focus of a business to maximize success in fewer areas, rather than nominal success in many areas. It is so easy to try to be a people-pleaser, attempting to be everything to everyone, but the possibility that you can please everyone is an illusion. The theme of focusing on "one thing” is carried throughout virtually all books on successful business development, such as the following:
In the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution, Sean Covey talks about the importance of "landing one plane at a time”: the concept that you can only do one thing WITH EXCELLENCE at a time. Air traffic controllers have many planes assigned to them, but they can only land one plane at a time.
Extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus. -Gary Keller, author of The One Thing.
The book opens with a Russian proverb, thus: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” Meaning is simple: Focus on one thing to achieve success.
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"’Going small’ is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus."
--- GARY KELLER - The One Thing
Hedgehog Concept: Where the 3 core strengths of your practice overlap.
Take These 3 Assessments
- First, it can understand what its people are genuinely passionate about.
- Second, it can identify what it does better than anyone else.
- Third, it can determine where it's good at generating revenue.
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3 Assessments to Finding Your One Big Thing
Step 1: Understanding Your Passions
What are you deeply passionate about? The good-to-great companies focus on those activities that ignite their passion. The idea here is not to stimulate passion but to discover what makes you passionate.
Step 2: Understanding What You Can Be Best At
Step 3: Understanding Your Economic Engine
Step 4: Evaluate the overlapping areas and review your strategies. Develop an understanding of the sweet spot where all three area overlap. Then focus on the overlapping area - that is the Hedgehog concept of your practice.
Strategy did not separate the good-to-great companies from the comparison companies. Both groups had strategies, and there is no evidence that the good-to-great companies spent more time on strategic planning than the comparison companies. Developing your hedgehog ultimately leads to clarity with your team, yourself, and your patients. That clarity translates into focus; the focus on what to do and who you are is what makes your practice GREAT. Your focus tells you what does not contribute to your journey from good to great; you must limit or eliminate your energies in those areas.
The Hedgehog Dental Practice
Understand that developing your Hedgehog concept is not a linear process. Formulating your Hedgehog circle takes time, experimenting, testing, researching, and receiving mentoring. Don’t expect one pass to be enough to discover it. In fact, each of the three circles can take some time to complete. In Good to Great, Collins notes that it took four years on average for the good-to-great companies to get a Hedgehog Concept.
What are you passionate about?
You may already have discovered what you are deeply passionate about. For example, you may be passionate about:
• Smile makeovers employing ceramic veneers.
Your passion does not have to be treatment centric; you may be passionate about:
What can you be the best in the world at?
What skills have you and your team mastered?
Identity of your Practice
What is something about your dental practice identity that is unique in your community, your region, the world?
What atmosphere can you deliver that is uniquely yours and is the best in the world, your region, or community?
All-On-4® Dental Implant Restorations
Is your practice the best in your region at providing All-On-4® dental implant restorations?
Can you become the best at creating a comfortable, inviting environment for your patients?
Are you the best at creating financing options for your patients?
Maximizing Insurance Benefits & Budgets
Is your practice the best at maximizing insurance benefits and working within patients' budgets?
Maximizes Treatment Plan
Is your team the best at creating an environment that maximizes treatment plan acceptance?
Best At Same-Day Dental Resotorations
Are you the best at an aspect of digital dentistry, like same-day dental restorations?
Are you an expert using a dental Intro Oral Scanner (IOS) like Itero, 3M TrueDefinition, 3Shape Trios, PlanScan, CareStream CS-3600, or Cerec?
Don’t assume you know your competitive difference. When business leaders are asked why people choose them, their answers don’t always match client answers. Involve your patients and team to discover your practices’ strengths and weaknesses.
What can be economically viable? What is your market?
- What is the economic status of your local community?
- How can you position your practice to match your market?
- Is your market a cosmetically driven "Hollywood Smile" market or more budget and functionally driven?
Who are your potential patients? What is your geographical reach?
Are you strictly oriented to your local community or do you reach or desire to reach regionally or even internationally?
- What is your business model? Is it a 5-star service atmosphere that sees one or two full mouth rehabilitation patients a day at a premium fee, or is it oriented to higher volume and lower fees, maybe catering to patients with insurance coverage or payment plans?
- Will you self-finance or use a healthcare payment system like CareCredit?
- Do you promote doctor time with your patients and charge for it, or do you delegate and get more volume with a higher margin?
What services are your most profitable?
- Do you offer same-day restorations milled in-house on a Cerec or Planmeca PlanMill?
- Are single tooth dental implant restorations your profit center?
- Do you offer Direct Composites, which could be very profitable for you and cost-effective for your patients?