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Archive for month: August, 2017

How to Create a Happier Team in 4 Easy Steps

How to Create a Happier Team in 4 Easy Steps

Team dynamics have a profound impact on practice success. If your team is miserable, you’re probably going to be miserable, too.

Over the years, I’ve met more than a few dentists who had an adversarial relationship with their staff. Some doctors resent the whole idea of having a team, and that resentment shines through in their interactions with staff members, many of whom eventually leave. Those who stay are disgruntled, which makes the dentist resent them even more. Eventually, everyone in the practice gets pulled into an endless vortex of negativity.

Fortunately, most dental practices don’t suffer from that kind of toxic culture. But, on the other hand, many dental teams aren’t operating at optimal levels either.

There are always opportunities to improve the environment in your practice. What can you do as the practice leader to build a better team and a better workplace? Here are some suggestions:

1) Listen More

Your team is largely running the practice. They see what’s working and what can be improved upon. Their ideas can be the catalysts for positive change. Not every suggestion is going to be a home run, but listening to their input shows that you value their opinions. People are more engaged in their jobs when they believe they can make a difference.

2) Empower Your Team

If a team member has a suggestion for improving the practice and it’s a project that you agree with, give the employee the authority to make it happen. Saying “yes” is a powerful tool for gaining “buy-in” from staff members. Obviously, you can’t say “yes” to every idea, but when you can, you should.

3) Share the Vision

Do you have a practice vision? It’s a written document that is your projection of where the practice will be in 3–5 years. If you have one, share it with the team. This will inspire them to move the practice forward and achieve challenging goals. It also helps turn a group of individuals into a cohesive team. If you don’t have a practice vision, it’s time to create one.

4) Surprise Them

Predictability can be good. Everybody knows what to expect and things run smoothly. Yet if the days are too similar, people can become bored. Lead the fight against complacency by surprising your team every now and then. Once a quarter, take your team out to lunch… throw a party… hand out gift cards to a local eatery. Do something out of the ordinary that makes working in your practice a little more fun.

Conclusion

Building a good team is difficult, but keeping them together is even harder. Use these four steps to engage, empower, inspire and surprise your staff!

 


Additional Resources

Read “3 Strategies for Hiring the Right People. 

New Seminar: Learn more team-building strategies at Dr. Levin’s upcoming seminar “The Mid-Career Plateau: How to Avoid It, Overcome It, Get Out of It” on Oct. 6 in Indianapolis.

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The CEO Mindset – Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

The CEO Mindset – Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

CEOs in real-world businesses manage and lead by taking risks. You always have to be looking for ways to innovate. What can be improved? What new service or product can be introduced that will generate new revenue?

Dentists should be thinking along these same lines. How can I make the practice better? What services will patients want in the next year or five years? How can I ensure my practice will continue to grow?

As in business, creating a growing practice also requires a certain willingness to take risks. You can’t just sit back and expect your practice to grow simply because it has in the past.

Many dentists are micromanagers who fear making any mistakes. Due in large part to your clinical training, you may find the idea of making mistakes seems nothing short of terrible. However, the pathway to increased success is often built by appropriate risk-taking.

No CEOs have grown and developed in their roles without making mistakes. Many dentists struggle with this concept because they can’t make a conscious distinction between clinical mistakes and practice management mistakes. As much as the former are to be avoided, the latter must be accepted as part of the job.

Smart dentists look at mistakes as learning opportunities. They recognize that errors are part of owning and operating a dental business. Nobody gets everything right the first time. Those who are willing to innovate, take risks and learn from their mistakes have the potential for tremendous growth and development.


Additional Resources

If you liked this rule from Dr. Levin’s e-book, 43 Rules to Increase Practice Production, read another excerpt here. 

Read “3 Habits of Happy Dentists.

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6 Steps for Overhauling Your Schedule

6 Steps for Overhauling Your Schedule

Your scheduling system is the core of your practice. It drives production. If you create an excellent schedule, you’ll be able to focus your resources more effectively… and grow practice income.

Revamping your scheduling system takes quite a bit of planning. Following are several basic guidelines that will ensure the best results:

  1. Conduct procedural time studies. Conditions in any dental practice change over time, such as the experience levels of you and your clinical staff, new technologies, new governmental regulations, etc. For this reason, you should measure how long it takes to perform various procedures and tasks. The timing process is relatively simple, and it can make a huge difference in how patients are scheduled.
  2. Use 10-minute increments. Most practices have already shifted from 15-minute units to the more precise 10-minute increments for planning appointments. If you haven’t done so yet, you can easily make the switch when you have the results of the time studies in hand.
  3. Structure an “ideal day” template. What’s your idea of a perfect daily schedule? The only way to make it happen is to define it, explain it to your team and train your scheduling coordinator with scripts that guide patients into the ideal schedule openings.
  4. Use scripting to control all aspects of scheduling. You can’t put together an efficient daily schedule without patient compliance. Write scripts to ensure that most practice-patient interactions about scheduling achieve the desired results.
  5. Schedule new patients within 7–10 days. In today’s more competitive dental market, you can’t afford to keep patients waiting for their first visit to your practice… because they might change their minds.
  6. Update your confirmation process. Modern communications technologies offer better ways to confirm appointments than the old postcards-and-phone-calls approach. Review the various techniques and services now available to dental offices and put together a more effective methodology.

Conclusion

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to creating a scheduling system that will decrease stress, reduce rushing and downtime, and enable you to increase production without working longer hours.


Additional Resources

For a more in-depth discussion of revamping your schedule, check out Dr. Levin’s popular how-to book, Power Cell Scheduling.

Learn more about our training course on Scheduling by going here.

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Re-evaluate bulk ordering.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering. Although bulk ordering can mean discounts, it locks the office into a set of purchases and may end up costing more than if the office had ordered supplies as needed. Some practices have supply closets overflowing with unused (and sometimes unusable) inventory. Look at your current inventory to see if adjustments should be made to the practice’s ordering protocols.

Additional Resource: Check out Dr. Levin’s popular book, 100 Ways to Increase Your Ortho Practice Profitability, for other overhead-reduction ideas. Save 25% with code TOD25.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering. Although bulk ordering can mean discounts, it locks the office into a set of purchases and may end up costing more than if the office had ordered supplies as needed. Some practices have supply closets overflowing with unused (and sometimes unusable) inventory. Look at your current inventory to see if adjustments should be made to the practice’s ordering protocols.

Additional Resource: Check out Dr. Levin’s popular book, 100 Ways to Increase Your Pedo Practice Efficiency & Profitability, for other overhead-reduction ideas. Save 25% with code TOD25.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering. Although bulk ordering can mean discounts, it locks the office into a set of purchases and may end up costing more than if the office had ordered supplies as needed. Some practices have supply closets overflowing with unused (and sometimes unusable) inventory. Look at your current inventory to see if adjustments should be made to the practice’s ordering protocols.

Additional Resource: Check out Dr. Levin’s popular book, 100 Ways to Increase Your Practice Profitability for other overhead-reduction ideas. Save 25% with code TOD25.

 

Re-evaluate bulk ordering.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering. Although bulk ordering can mean discounts, it locks the office into a set of purchases and may end up costing more than if the office had ordered supplies as needed. Some practices have supply closets overflowing with unused (and sometimes unusable) inventory. Look at your current inventory to see if adjustments should be made to the practice’s ordering protocols.

Additional Resource: Check out Dr. Levin’s popular book, 100 Ways to Increase Your Practice Profitability for other overhead-reduction ideas. Save 25% with code TOD25.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering.

Re-evaluate bulk ordering. Although bulk ordering can mean discounts, it locks the office into a set of purchases and may end up costing more than if the office had ordered supplies as needed. Some practices have supply closets overflowing with unused (and sometimes unusable) inventory. Look at your current inventory to see if adjustments should be made to the practice’s ordering protocols.

Additional Resource: Check out Dr. Levin’s popular book, 100 Ways to Increase Your OMS Practice Profitability, for other overhead-reduction ideas. Save 25% with code TOD25.

4 Lessons from Star Wars

4 Lessons from Star Wars

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first Stars Wars film, A New Hope, and life hasn’t been the same since. That one movie kick-started a billion-dollar industry of movies, merchandise, books, comic books and games. It’s estimated that Star Wars has generated $42 billion and counting in revenue.

I don’t consider myself a Star Wars geek, but even after four decades, that first movie still resonates. Populated with such iconic characters such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, A New Hope was not only a thrilling sci-fi adventure story, but it was also the best film ever made about dentistry. Just kidding. As you know, there’s not a dental mention in the entire movie, though Jabba the Hutt could definitely benefit from a couple of implant-retained dentures.

Still, there’s plenty of wisdom in A New Hope for dentists. Here are four Star Wars quotes to guide your practice by:

1) “Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them.´– Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi

Your practice can seem to be doing well. There can be a general sense of busyness, which gives the impression that your office is growing. But you can’t gauge performance by appearances alone.

Look at your practice’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Your office could be super-busy, but if you’re not collecting enough, then you got a problem. Your schedule could be poorly constructed, making it seem that you’re busier than you are, even though production is declining.

As a practice owner, you need to use a variety of tools to monitor performance––not just your eyes and your gut, but also the numbers.

2) “Traveling through hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops, boy!” – Han Solo

With Imperial warships bearing down on the Millennium Falcon, Han is trying to set the coordinates for the jump to hyperspace while dodging enemy fire. The inexperienced Luke offers some unsolicited advice when Han snaps back with this salty retort.

The point here is that there’s experience and then there’s experience. All the dental school training in the world can’t prepare you for everything you will face as a practice owner. It helps a lot, but there are some things that you won’t find in any textbook. Fortunately, other resources are available, including study clubs, seminars, books and articles, training courses and consulting programs.

3) “Stay on target.” – Gold Five

A squadron of rebel X-wing Starfighters attacks the Death Star. Their mission is to blow up this powerful enemy ship. Their goal… an exhaust vent that leads to the ship’s reactor core. If they hit this target just right with a torpedo, the massive Death Star will implode.

Hopefully, nothing that dramatic is going on in your practice. But staying on target is critical as we enter the last four months of the year. Stay focused on hitting your annual targets. Watch out for the obstacles and the distractions. If you run into performance issues, make adjustments to get back on track.

4) “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, Empire Strikes Back

I cheated a little on this one. The first three quotes are from the original movie. But how can you talk about Star Wars quotes without referencing Yoda, the master of twisted grammar and the wizard of nonsensical wisdom, who doesn’t appear until the second film?

Over the years, I’ve met too many dentists who said they were in the process of doing something––renovating their office, implementing new systems, adding new services, etc.––but little, if any, work had been done on these projects. If you’re gonna do something, you eventually have to get to it. But I understand, too. Big projects take time, planning, and resources, including money. Still, if you’re not happy with how things are, find a way to make changes––even incremental ones––can have a huge impact over time.

Conclusion

That first Star Wars movie was about trying to make the universe a better place. That’s one of the reasons George Lucas titled the film, A New Hope. Use these four quotes as inspiration to do the same for your practice.


Additional Resources

Read “Where Are You Going? And How Will You Get There?” 

Need help with your epic practice journey? Check out consulting resources here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »

Remove “No” from all conversations with surgical patients.

Remove “No” from all conversations with surgical patients. Double-check to see if “No” occurs in any scripting your practice uses, and eliminate it. That word sends a negative message, in more ways than you may think. When the doctor or a team member says “No” to a patient, it can seem that your practice is uncaring, unwilling to help, or more interested in enforcing rules than meeting the patient’s needs.

Additional Resources: All scripting books are 25% off at the Levin Group Store, including Essential Scripts, PowerScripts and What to Say. Save 25% with code TOD25

Go and get grab your copy now!