Dental business coach – we need to stop using the word ‘crisis’

Chris Barrow highlights how ‘crisis’ has become overused in the media, and how we need to start replacing it with ‘cycle’.

I wanted to talk a little bit about a much overused word in the media at the moment. That word is ‘crisis’.

Everything is a crisis. All day, every day.

I looked up the dictionary definition of ‘crisis’. It says: ‘A time when a difficult or important decision must be made.’ So, I kind of get it.

Is dentistry facing a crisis?

If we look at what’s been going on inside dentistry at the moment, we’ve got a Covid crisis. The reason for that is because there are areas of the country where dental practice is being disrupted. This is due to either the isolation of either patients, patients’ children, or team members themselves. So, it’s still hanging around even though most places you go it looks as if Covid has been cancelled by popular consent.

We’ve got now a cost of living crisis. And I don’t need to tell you about the media lambasting us every single day of the week with stories of our energy bills, our food bills, and other bills going up. Somewhere in the back of all that, the Bank of England is telling us our interest rates are likely to rise as well.

Everywhere you look

We’ve got a recruitment, retention, remuneration, and robbery crisis.

Retention because someone is leaving your place of work to go somewhere else. This is also because people are leaving dentistry after finding that it’s too hard for them, and seeking their fortune elsewhere.

We’ve got a recruitment crisis because it’s very difficult to get people to answer any advertising or networking offering positions in your practice. We’ve got a remuneration crisis because nurses’ wages are going up and up and up all over the country. It won’t be long before other team members are asking to be treated in the same way.

Equally, of course, we have self-employed clinicians, and even employed clinicians, knocking on the door and querying the amount that they have been paid over the last five or ten years.

I suppose you could argue we also have a NHS crisis because people are finding it hard to reach their 95% targets. They’re also finding it hard to swallow the fact that they might even carry on being connected to NHS dentistry.

So, it’s everywhere you look. I could probably think of some other crises if I put my mind to it.

So, what’s the message of this vlog?

I want you to start replacing the word ‘crisis’ in the communication you have with your team members and your patients.

I’d like you to start replacing ‘crisis’ with the word ‘cycle’. This is because what we’re in is a series of cycles.

I’m old enough to have lived through six recessions. The next one will be my seventh.

It’s an economic cycle. I’ve seen interest rates rise as high as 19% in my working life. Of course I’ve also seen them down to flat-rate zero. These are cycles.

I’ve seen employment figures come and go, I’ve seen multiples of EBITDA come and go. Things move cyclically – they are either going up or going down.

One thing is for sure: when they’re going down, they are never going down forever, and when they are going up, they are never going up forever either.

My message is simple: stiff it out. Ride the cycle. Keep your nerve. Keep going.

You’ll be okay.


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