The game has changed

By Eric Roman, Founder, DSO Coach

The great boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

You thought you had it all figured out – growth plans, talent acquisitions and revenue targets. All you had to do was execute the strategy. And out of nowhere, you got punched in the mouth. And it wasn’t just you – we all got punched. Don’t act like you saw it coming. Now that it has happened, things will never be the same.  

So, what do we do?

Your game has changed.

Imagine that it’s the World Series of Poker. You know your hand, and you have a good sense of the hand everyone else is holding because you are a pro and you know how this game is played. You know who is in the best position, and you know who is about to fold. Your plan is refined and it’s so good. All you must do is wait your turn.

But out of nowhere, the dealer picks up his cards and reshuffles them. He informs everyone that it’s going to be a new game – a game that no one has played before. Everything you thought you knew about your status, your plan, your winnings and your place at the table, has changed. Now, it’s once again anybody’s game. 

You can panic, or you can plan. 

The ones who panic are freaking out. They had one good plan, and now that it’s out the window, they are ready to fold their cards up and go home. The planners, on the other hand, are hard at work learning the nuances of the new game. How it’s played. How you win. What you can control.

When we are stuck in panic mode, we can’t see the opportunities. But when we shift into planning mode, the opportunities begin to appear. Just because your original plan is dead, that doesn’t mean plan B, C or D won’t work. It’s time to finish the process of grieving your original plan and move onward and upward into your new reality.  

You can position your group to capitalize on the greatest talent redistribution in the history of our industry. But, the most fundamental topic relative to your success and the cornerstone for every outcome in your group practice will always be leadership.

‘You are what you eat’ is rule one of leadership in crisis.

This isn’t dietary guidance – though my teams have often heckled me for my frequent dietary and biohacking experiments. While I believe that what we put in our mouths is critical to our ability to lead, in crisis we need to be most attuned to what we are consuming with our eyes and our ears.

Right now, we’re consuming massive amounts of information through the media, news, peers, family members and neighbors. Even worse – we have instantaneous access to literally thousands of real time updates.

Ask yourself: What can I control? 

What are the things that you can do in your practice right now to create maximum positive outcomes? Moreover, how does the information that you are consuming affect your emotions, your perspective and your confidence? These events require our absolute greatest degree of leadership. You are a professional leader and your teams need you consuming only the information that is critical.

What happens now is up to you.

Welcome to a brand-new game. My hope is that our industry responds through constant adaptation and innovation. This event can be the greatest opportunity of your life, if you make it so.  

Regardless of your cards, it’s a new game, and it’s anybody’s to win.

Eric Roman is an executive coach, strategic advisor and industry thought leader for dental management groups, software companies and high performers via