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Dentistry According to the Rolling Stones

Dentistry According to the Rolling Stones

What do Mick, Keith and the boys know about running a dental practice? Actually, more than you might think, judging from some of the songs in their catalogue. Let’s dust off a few classics as well as a few deep cuts and see what practice management lessons can be gleaned from the world’s greatest rock’n’roll band…

Start Me Up (from Tattoo You)

Kick off your day with a brief morning meeting. This keeps your entire team on the same page about what will be occurring in terms of new patients, patients with unaccepted treatment, patients who owe money, openings in the schedule, etc. The meeting should last 10 minutes or so. If you’re experiencing some customer service issues, the morning meeting is a good forum for reviewing practice policies, creating new scripts if necessary and role-playing different scenarios.

Miss You (from Some Girls)

Patients aren’t as loyal as they once were. They’ll jump to another practice if they see a coupon for a new patient exam or they’ll stop coming in for regular care for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s economic. They changed jobs and they no longer have dental insurance. Sometimes, it’s something you or your staff did. Your front desk coordinator was curt or you had an emergency and couldn’t spend much time, catching up with them.

Treat your patients like VIPs. Pretend your patients are actually the Rolling Stones or whoever your favorite musical artist is. Make every patient visit to your practice a special one.

Stop Breaking Down (from Exile on Main Street)

When systems are old, they constantly break down. When systems aren’t documented, team members don’t know what to do. When team members aren’t trained on the systems, things don’t get done the right way.

Practicing with outdated systems is like trying to run a marathon with 20-pound weights tied to your ankles. You’re going to expend a lot of energy trying to accomplish the simplest tasks. As those systems continue to age, those weights get heavier and heavier.

So, you have choice… tolerate old, inefficient systems or replace them.

Gimme Shelter (from Let It Bleed)

Some days, it’s hard being the boss. There are times when you’ve got to interact with unhappy patients, upset team members and difficult colleagues. As the practice owner, the buck stops with you. Of course, you should delegate all the small, non-clinical stuff to your team. But the big stuff still falls on your shoulders. And that makes it incredibly challenging to leave the job behind when you go home for the day.

To be an effective CEO, you need time away from the practice and you need to protect that time or else you end up working 12–14 hours every day, which isn’t good for you or your family.

What’s the point of owning a practice that produces $2 million a year if you have no time to enjoy your success and no one to enjoy it with?

Every dentist needs a life outside your practice. That means spending time with family and friends. That means pursuing hobbies and taking vacations. That means having down time, where you do absolutely nothing. Owning a dental practice can be all-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Time Waits for No One (from It’s Only Rock’n’Roll)

Your practice may have been doing great five years ago. But not so much right now. Dentistry is in a constant state of flux, and you have to keep up. Your once-new systems five years ago are now outdated. They don’t perform like they used to. Your practice has changed in terms of services, technology, software, goals and personnel, yet you’re still trying to force those old systems to do things they’re no longer capable of doing.

Change is a constant in business and life. If you do nothing to keep up, you will eventually be passed by. Your practice is the best investment you ever made, but it’s an ongoing investment. You can’t expect a plant to grow if you never water it. The same is true for your practice. To grow your practice, you need to invest in it… that means new technology, equipment, software, training, systems, décor, etc. Maybe not every year, but not once every 10 years either. You don’t want to be the owner of a fixer-upper practice. That’s a hard way to practice, and in the future that will be a hard practice to sell.

Satisfaction (from Hot Rocks)

Are you happy with your practice and your career? While a certain amount of dissatisfaction acts as fuel for making positive changes, you don’t want to dread waking up and going to the practice every day. That’s no way to have a career and, most important, that’s no way to live.

If you are unhappy about how your practice is performing, make a list of everything you’re dissatisfied with. Examine the list. What do you have in your power to fix? Go for the low-hanging fruit first. Don’t like how the doctor’s office is set up? Stay late and rearrange it. Once you get the easy stuff done, move to the more challenging fixes.

If you don’t have the skills or the know-how to improve the situation, get help. Have a tax issue? Call an accountant. Want a new business structure? Seek the advice of a dental-knowledgeable attorney. Need help with your management and marketing systems? Get the assistance of an expert consultant.

Aftermath

Taking advice from the Rolling Stones may seem a little far-fetched, but how many musical acts have been as successful as the bad boys of rock’n’roll? The next time your practice is giving you the blues, crank up your favorite Stones album… you’ll not only get to enjoy some in-your-face rock’n’roll, but perhaps also some relevant practice management advice as well.


Additional Resource

Need an Emotional Rescue? Read a free excerpt from Dr. Levin’s popular book, Get a Life and Keep It, by clicking here.
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Consistent Behavior Gets Consistent Results

Consistent Behavior Gets Consistent Results

Inconsistency is the watchword for me in 2016 when it comes to practice management.

Last year, Levin Group analysts crisscrossed the country to perform hundreds of business analyses of general and specialty dental practices. As they look for what’s inhibiting growth, they have often discovered inconsistency in daily operations.

Specifically, most struggling offices lack documented management systems and scripts to guide team members in how to use such systems. As a result, their owners experience plateaued growth, declines in production and profit, and losses to the competition.

In many cases, doctors who were doing well until the past couple of years now feel confused and frustrated… and typically don’t understand that inconsistent performance of administrative and marketing tasks, due to a lack of proper systems and scripting, is the root cause of their troubles.

Creating smart new systems, writing step-by-step documentation, translating the documentation into scripts that are then used to train staff—this is the process Levin Group consultants rely on for turning practices around.

It works so well because it not only establishes the correct protocols for reaching the practice’s performance goals but also ensures that those steps are carried out consistently, patient after patient, day after day.


Additional Resource

To find out how you can benefit from an expert analysis of your practice as a business, click here for your free download of Dr. Levin’s whitepaper, How to Increase the Income from Your Practice.

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Today is Team Appreciation Day

Today is Team Appreciation Day

How do you get your practice team and others around you motivated? The answer is simple. Start appreciating them… and let them know it!

Most dentists would say they appreciate their teams. If you feel that way, answer these questions

  • Do you express your appreciation to every team member every day?
  • Do you notice the little things and try to see things from each individual’s point of view?
  • Do you find many ways to compliment team members… about what a good job they’re doing, how fast they’re learning, that they’re making a difference?

These are the techniques great leaders use to motivate their team. They know that when you show your appreciation, team members feel better about themselves and will be self-motivated to perform better.

Additional Resource

For more team-building advice, view Dr. Levin’s video, “Building the Best Possible Team.

Attitude is Everything

Attitude is Everything

In the introduction to my book, Get a Life and Keep It!, I discuss how important it is to have the right attitude. For those of you who haven’t yet read the book, here’s an excerpt:


Leaders lead by example, and a dental team is always watching the doctor. If your outlook is not positive, you will find it difficult to motivate others and many won’t find you believable or persuasive.

Enthusiasm and great attitudes equal credibility in the minds of others.

If you want people to trust you, you will need to display an astonishing level of enthusiasm through an extremely positive attitude.

Do you want to have a great attitude? If the answer is yes, and I certainly hope it is, then all you have to do is make up your mind that a great attitude is what you want.You decide that from now on complaining, excuses or whining will not characterize your life. You will not react to circumstances with a “why did this happen to me?” mentality.


I wrote this a number of years ago, but it resonates more now. There will always be setbacks, challenges, bad days and long nights, but overcoming these obstacles usually starts by having a positive attitude.

Additional Resource

Dr. Levin’s book Get a Life and Keep It!, which focuses on the Levin Group mission of “improving the lives of dentists,” is available here. Click the “Read an Excerpt” button to read a sample.

Worth Repeating

Worth Repeating

Everything seems to be getting more complicated these days. I’m reminded of some of the advice I gave dentists in my book, 43 New Rules for Increasing Practice Production. Here’s an excerpt:

Rule #32 – Simplicity is Key

One of the key principles taught by Chris Zook, author and leading business strategist, is that businesses get in trouble because they gradually become more complicated and bureaucratic. Zook talks extensively about the importance of simplicity and repeatability. I have observed thousands of dental practices that ran well when they were smaller but became chaotic and stressful as they grew.

One of the major reasons for this is that they did not have the right step-by-step systems in place. As I have often said, systems must be up-to-date and documented. In addition, systems must be simple, so they can easily be used correctly. Dentistry keeps getting more and more complicated, with new materials, procedures and technologies emerging continuously—all the more reason to implement systems that simplify practice management.

As you work to grow your practice in 2016, keep your systems in mind. Are they helping or hurting you? If they’re impeding rather than supporting growth, it’s time to replace them.

 

Additional Resource

Read a free excerpt from the 43 Rules for Increasing Practice Production by going here and clicking on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

Go and get grab your copy now!