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1.23.09 Issue #359 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Reducing Stress—A Business And Personal Goal For 2009

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old one leaves. —Bill Vaughan

We are all hoping that 2009 will be a better year with changes in the government, bailouts to help the economy and help for struggling homeowners. A pessimistic attitude about everything that happened last year must not undermine efforts to put our best effort forward to develop a great dental team and to serve our patients in new and better ways. Balancing a busy life in the dental practice with a fulfilling personal life is a priority, but sometimes it is not easy to do without direction and help.

Have you thought about personal or business resolutions for the New Year? Are they in writing? Writing them down and then asking for support from family and friends can certainly help get you going in the right direction and stay on track. Give a copy of your resolutions to people that agree to support you so that they can check on your progress at a given time during the year.

Here are some steps to help you reduce stress in the dental business arena and help direct you toward a better new year.

Set realistic production goals for the practice. Exceeding last year’s production goal may be more of a challenge in this economy. With the downturn of the economy hitting many areas of the country, it is unlikely that you will not be affected to some degree. In the best of times our goal is 15% growth each year. Make a goal to at least equal last year’s total for production by each provider’s statistics. (This does not include a yearly fee raise, which is recommended because costs of doing business rise accordingly.) During the first team meeting of 2009, set the goal and together decide how each person will contribute to make it happen. This would include examining the performance of each system in the dental practice, such as Recall, Scheduling, Treatment Presentations, Insurance/Financing and Hygiene.

Update job descriptions for the entire team with areas of accountability, feedback and performance measurements in place. The days of “we all do what needs to be done” are over because a lack of systems causes a tremendous amount of practice stress and just doesn’t work. Without well-defined job descriptions, there is no accountability and no way to measure whether tasks are being performed to goal. Without formal job descriptions, one person can easily blame another if things are not getting done because it is everyone’s job and yet no one’s responsibility.

Surround yourself with positive people and teammates who are motivated and value the practice ideals and goals. Slackers and negative people should not be tolerated in your dental practice. In most communities, there are many well-qualified people looking for work so job competition is at a record high. No longer do you have to grab any warm body to fill a position because of the lack of applicants.

Become active in social/business networking groups. Networking is not just good for the practice but also good for the participant. Getting out and socializing helps to decrease stress. Encourage the doctor to join the local Chamber of Commerce or other community groups. The doctor can attend the meetings or send the Business Coordinator/Manager as a business representative. Communicating the values and services of the practice with these groups can be very beneficial. Become an active member in your local dental society and support your dental community through fundraisers or educational programs.

Stay physically active and introduce an exercise plan for the team. The best stress buster is exercise. Start a lunch time walking group or get a treadmill or exercise bike for the staff lounge. Find a series of exercises that can be done at the desk or in the break room that are low-impact and involve stretching and toning. Encourage a stress-reducing break every couple of hours and support each team member in the process.

Make a list of your personal and professional accomplishments. Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back. Building self-esteem is ongoing and important to decreasing personal stress.

Post a picture of a place or thing that makes you feel good. It could be something you already have or something that you have always wanted. Perhaps you’ve always wanted a red convertible or maybe a vacation to an exotic port like Tahiti. Cut a picture out of a magazine or travel brochure and put it up where you can see it every day. Not only is it a stress buster because it reminds you that there is more to life than work, but it also helps you focus on tasks at hand because you will visualize a future goal that is exciting.

Sign up for some continuing education or other training classes to improve your job skills or to learn new skills that will benefit you and the practice. Set a goal to get updated on the latest in your computer software and teach the other members of the team.

Write a personal/business plan for meeting your goals within a time schedule. You cannot reach a goal without a plan and a timeline. Stay focused. If something happens to throw off your schedule, don’t get derailed or give up. Never give up.

Want help with business goals and training that will get you results? Sign up today for Advanced Business Training at McKenzie Management and start the New Year right.

For more information about McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training courses, email, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our website at

Interested in having Belle speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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