Self-Sabotage Doesn't Make for a Successful Career
That’s it. You’ve had it. Enough is enough. You are not going to put up with this any longer. As soon as you can, you are going to march in and tell the doctor exactly what you think of this place and the “crew” running it… And so begins your not-so-warm welcome to the world of self-sabotage.
We see it time and again. Employee frustration and stress can reach the point where an individual or an entire team has a major blow-up. In many cases, the lack of effective practice systems creates an environment in which problems perpetuate and conflicts fester. Nonetheless, there are those whose behaviors continually have them at odds with others, on the outs with the boss, and often looking for the next job a mere couple of months after starting the one they are in.
So the next time you are ready to let your co-workers or your boss “have it” maybe you should take a good close look in the mirror and consider what have you done to create the situation. Conduct what I call an inventory of self-sabotaging behaviors. Here are my top 4.
#1: Toxic Thinking and Toxic Behaviors
#2: Putting Yourself Before the Patients and the Practice
#3: Always Having to Prove that You Are Right
#4: Believing that You Are Entitled to Something
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How to Achieve Your Collection Goals for the Year
Would you like to increase your production? Of course you would. One of many systems that the consultants here at McKenzie Management advocate is the necessity of having production goals. Let’s take a short walk through the process of determining how to establish your practice goals.
There is more than one approach to setting an annual goal: keeping your team’s gross wages within the normal range of 19-22% of net collections, an overall 10-15% increase or simply some dollar amount that “feels good” to you. Whatever theory you apply is fine, always assuming first that your team salaries are in line.
Step 2 - Review your adjustments report to see how much you wrote off of your production last year, such as bad debt, insurance adjustments, cash courtesies. This percentage of your total production must be factored into your collections goal in order to determine your production goal.
Step 3 - Here is the formula: collection goal / inverted adjustment % = gross production goal.
Example: collection goal is $1,000,000. Your production adjustments last year were 5%. $1,000,000 / 95% = $1,052,632 for your new production goal. I know that you may be thinking, why don’t you just add $50,000 to the collection goal? Because $1,050,000 - 5% = $997,500 and not $1,000,000. I don’t want you to short yourself $2,500!
Monthly vs. Daily Goals
Here are the potholes relative to this approach:
Here is a systematic and organized method of achieving your annual goal:
Step 4 - You must determine the annual hygiene goal first. There are basic guidelines such as 3x their daily salary or 1/3 of the practice production. It can also vary depending on the practice. Let’s keep it simple here and base it on their daily salary x3. Daily salary for each hygienist is $250/day x 3 = $750/day as their goal. The adjustments were already factored in, so this is the amount they should produce daily. Multiply this amount by the # of hygiene days you have per year.
This means that if you work 200 days and you have 2 hygienists that work the same days as you, then you have 400 days of hygiene. So 400 x $750 = $300,000 for the hygiene department goal.
Step 5 - Your goal! Your new production goal is $1,052,632 - the hygiene goal of $300,000 = $752,632 since you are the boss and you must produce the rest! If you want to work smarter and not harder, you increase your hygiene goal and that will reduce your goal!
If you are working 200 days for the year, $752,632 / 200 days = $3,763 is your daily goal.
Step 6 - Every morning at your morning meeting, review the production for each provider for the previous day to see if everyone met their daily goals. Celebrate if you did, and discuss what could have been done differently in order to meet the goals.
At the same meeting, also review everyone’s schedule for the day to see if they are on track to make goal. If not, determine why. Also make plans for tomorrow if there is time.
Schedule Coordinators vs. “Hole Fillers”
It is fine for your hygienists to schedule their own appointments, as long as they also understand the importance of scheduling their day to goal. I can guarantee that if they have a day of 8-10 patients and only 2-3 need radiographs and there are no scaling and root planing patients, they will NOT make goal. This is why allowing the computer software to simply go out 6 months + 1 day is the kiss of death to a hygiene schedule. If they make goal today, they will not make goal 6 months from now with the same patients.
Reaching Annual Goals as a Team - One Day at a Time
Now, go celebrate each day when you and your team reach your daily goals.
Keeping Pace with Communication Styles
With the many generations that frequent the dental office, the modes of communication need to be varied to suit their requests. Instead of face-to-face or phone conversations as the main mode of communication, we now have the younger generations and the not so young that prefer texting or email. Email is not limited to the PC or the laptop, it is now instant on the smart phones, Droids, iPhones etc. Land-line phones are declining in usage and more and more patients are requesting that we contact them by cell phone or email/texting.
In the past, the telephone has been the standard way that patients have contacted dental offices to ask questions about insurance, financing and services offered. Now, however, this same information and more can be found on the website without speaking to anyone. Forms can be filled out online and appointments scheduled without speaking to the scheduling coordinator. All the more reason to have the best website design available, with continually updated and enhanced information! Don’t have a website? Then you will not be considered as technically savvy or as skilled as the dentist who does have a well designed website.
“We believe in a more personal approach to our patients” says Betty, who has worked in the same office for twenty some years and calls all of the patients to confirm their appointments. This is great for some, but not for all. Email and text are considered personal to those who receive this communication, and since the patients are the ones requesting email communication, it is important to give patients what they want despite personal opinion.
Email communication lacks the emotion of vocal tone, but often emotion is read into email. All caps in text is considered “shouting.” Short, terse sentences can be considered as “I don’t have the time to talk to you right now.” Phone etiquette dictates that we take the time to listen to patients and connect on a personable level. Applying this concept to email is just as important, and it often takes more time to think about what you want to say in text versus the easier flow of conversation on the phone.
Email is permanent and can be read over and over, but the details of conversation are often blurred as we remember only about 20% of what we hear. Using proper email etiquette is as important as learning how to correctly answer the phone. Make sure words are spelled correctly and that you are writing complete sentences and not using confusing abbreviations. Don’t exchange funny, political or religious information - even though it may seem harmless. Every mode of communication must represent the professional image of the practice.
The information highway is to our advantage, but also can be the highway of truths and falsehoods. Sites that are designed for people to post reviews of dental practices are great if you are surveyed in a positive light. However, if you weren’t at the top of your game for one day, an unfavorable review could be posted for thousands to see or the system can be manipulated so that these reviews come up first when your name is placed in a search engine. One dentist reported to me that it took her three weeks to get an unfavorable review off the internet.
Monitoring these communication styles is more time consuming, because in addition to checking phone messages we are checking email messages and we may have a program running that does internal marketing and appointment confirming that we need to check also. Most people are not inclined to give you their email address in the dental office, so remembering to ask for it is another task on our daily list.
Facebook is the place to be these days for personal and business communications. More and more people sign up daily to keep up with friends, family and business connections. Being on Facebook is important to a dental practice as it adds a friendly, approachable feel to the practice and again, it is to be monitored in a professional manner. With so many ways to stay connected, there isn’t an acceptable excuse to not be accessible to your patients and people who are researching to find the dental practice that meets their needs.
Need help designing a website and building marketing tools for your exceptional practice? Contact McKenzie Management’s marketing department today at 1-877-777-6151
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