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a blog by Chris Barrow

Why team members leaving your newly-acquired practice is probably a good sign

There's a pattern of behaviour that I have witnessed many times over the years.

  1. Young dentist(s) buys practice from older dentist;

  2. Existing team are informed after the deal is done;

  3. Existing team resent lack of information and are anxious about the likelihood of change;

  4. Former practice owner has let things slip prior to sale - supervised neglect of patients and the team running things their own way;

  5. New owners introduce their own standards of performance and behaviour;

  6. Existing team are resistant to change and full of reasons why "that won't work with our patients", "we never used to do that on a Tuesday";

  7. New owners insist that change takes place;

  8. Existing team members strengthen their passive resistance - "maybe if we keep ignoring them it will go away?"

  9. New owners get tough on the team, after having tried all the nice ways of communication;

  10. Existing team either sign off on "work-related stress" and/or resign.

This story has been played out so many times that it has almost become tedious to see it happening to a client - here we go again.

However, my job is to console, explain and then support the new owners and to reinforce their determination not to give way to the resistance they will encounter.

I wish that new buyers could be issued with a health warning when they complete their first sale.

"It is going to take you 2 years to:

  • get the patients back into a state of oral health that will allow you to start upselling treatment

  • get the team on or off the bus and replace those who decide to disembark

Prepare for the toughest 2 years of your business life."

p.s. If you want to make matters worse - keep the former owner on as an associate - continuing to supervise their neglect, draining profits out of the business and quietly fermenting discontent with the team.

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