The Importance of Policies

Although policies generally have a tendency to be interpreted as authoritarian in nature, if well designed, policies provide guidelines that are vital to the success of a dental practice and the satisfaction of a group of people working together.   Policies represent an integral part of an overall management system. 

Policies provide structure.  Policies serve to operationalize the values and aspirations of a practice in necessary and pragmatic ways.  This includes defining expectations related to individual and team job performance that are necessary to realize a healthy and productive work environment. 

Although it should be expected that team members comply with policies, it should also be understood that policies serve as guidelines which can be improved upon to better meet the evolving needs of a practice.  It is important that teams maintain a constant view towards modifying and improving policies when necessary.

It takes time to learn and implement practice policies.  Mistakes and errors will occur as part of the learning process for all team members.  In order to accommodate for the learning process, it is important that team members adopt an approach that involves a balance between:

  • Strong adherence to complying with practice policies and systems.
  • High tolerance and flexibility for learning and mistakes.


Policy noun

1. A plan or course of action, guiding principle, or procedure considered expedient, prudent, or advantageous.

2. A plan or course of action intended to influence and determine decisions, actions, and other pertinent matters.


The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company.