The dental industry has changed rapidly in recent years.

As dentists and as business owners, it’s more important than ever these days to focus on running an effective dental business and spend energy where it’s going to produce the best results and drive performance.

You may be doing this by measuring certain Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), but these tend to give us a result after the fact.

The other kind of indicator it’s important to track is your critical drivers, which are the activities that lead to the desired results.

If the KPI is the effect, the critical driver is the cause.

For example, let’s consider if you were monitoring your cholesterol. Your cholesterol levels might be the KPI’s – they can help you measure it and whether you’re on or off track, but won’t give you any information or means to change it.

However, the critical driver you need to focus on in order to shift your cholesterol, would be your diet.

In business, we can get caught up in the KPI’s, but we also need to focus on the causes, the critical drivers.

The results will take care of themselves if you’re spending your energy on the right causes/critical drivers.

In a more practical example, you might have a KPI for “new patients per month.”
A corresponding critical driver in this instance would be “how many times we ask for a referral.”

Focus on executing consistently on the critical drivers, and you’ll find the results and the KPI’s take care of themselves.

This might beg the question, how do we identify critical drivers?

We use the 80/20 rule. Critical drivers are those activities that take 20% of our time and energy but create 80% of our results.

They also tend to fall under three categories; marketing, case presentation or operations/delivery.

If you want to figure out your own critical drivers, it’s important to ask yourself “If I’ve had a good month financially, what was present and happened consistently throughout the month?”
“When you’ve had a poor month financially, what did I not do that I should have done? What did I do that I shouldn’t have done?”

That will give you a clue to determine the critical drivers for your practice – which is a game changer in terms of focus, execution, and results.