Are You On Autopilot

August 2, 2020
*This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase from these links we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

A pilot climbs into the cockpit and goes through a pre-flight routine.  It includes plugging coordinates into the navigation system and going through an exhaustive checklist.

When ready, the pilot guides the aircraft down the runway, takes off and eventually climbs to cruising altitude.  All of this requires countless hours of study, training, practice and most of all FOCUS.

Once at cruising altitude, the pilot can turn on “autopilot” or turn controls over to the co-pilot and relax a bit.

What happens when bad weather or some other disturbance pops up on the radar?

The Pilot takes back control and makes the appropriate adjustments to the flight path.

By now, you hopefully appreciate the metaphor.


The challenge is that the radar isn’t able to tell you just how big the storm is.  You have no idea what it will take to navigate around it.  The radar also can’t tell you the intensity of the storm, so you don’t even know what you might need to do to, or even if you can make it through it.

What’s worse is that the clouds are closing in, preventing you from using, what has been your most reliable tool, your vision.

This is the predicament dentists now face.  We have no reliable data that can predict size or intensity of the storm. We’re inside and can’t see the horizon.

We’re also so intent on helping our patients and staying aloft that we’re spending most of our time working IN the business, providing care.  So, we keep the AUTOPILOT on.

Yet, we’re still flying blind and the GPS is no longer helpful or accurate because we don’t know how long it will take us to navigate through this.


Take back the controls and shut off the autopilot. That means, get on the intercom and let everyone know that you’re in control and that everything will be OK.

The next thing to do is STOP DOING AND START THINKING.

Einstein said that; ”If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask…for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

Here are a few questions you might ask yourself:

  • What instruments do you have at your disposal?
  • What systems do you have that need to be adjusted during this storm?
  • What metrics are important to keep your eyes on NOW?
  • Which can give you the most accurate picture of how the practice is performing and where it’s heading?  (Most look backwards and that’s no longer helpful)
  • What adjustments to your heading should you make?

Want to talk about the right questions for YOUR PRACTICE?

Schedule a 20-minute strategic session at:

To your excellent clarity and success,

Michael, Laurie and the PPS team

P.S., if you act NOW, after attending a free consultation, you’ll receive the Practice Checklist (valued at $197), so like a pilot, you too can perform a pre-flight routine that accelerates success.

Practice Success Insights

Sign up to receive insights into building a successful practice via email with the free Practice Perfect Pearls Newsletter.
Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

Book a FreeStrategy Session

Latest Articles

How to Stop Cancellations... without spending more.

Learn how successful practices ensure their appointment slots are filled... and their patients keep coming back!


The Proven Way to
Reboot Your Practice...

Increase profitability, decrease stress and achieve your goals with proven ways to ensure your practice thrives


From Hello to Hugs

Get the sensational book on how to turn callers into raving fans. A guide to making MORE from LESS in your dental practice.


Join Michael LIVE for the FREE Monthly Coffee With the Coach Webinar

Invite your entire team and get expert advice from an industry expert on a new, timely topic every month that you can implement in your practice right away.