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3.31.06 Issue #212


Dread Going to Work but Love to Work?
A McKenzie Management Case Study

Nancy Caudill
McKenzie Management
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management

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This case study is an illustration of dental practice that may be similar to yours. The names have been change to protect the guilty!

Case Study #106

Wow…now this is an oxymoron, isn’t it?  But there are many of you in the field of dentistry that feel this way.  Ever wonder why?  Maybe these two examples will shed some light for you.

Dr. Jim Jarrett’s Story:

Dr. Jarrett contacted McKenzie Management for many of the same reasons that other dentist owners do:

  1. Increase profits
  2. Lower overhead
  3. Less stress
  4. More time off

His requests all appeared to be “within normal limits” until the investigation began!


  • Dr. Jarrett had just purchased his practice from the retiring dentist
  • The existing employees were retained
  • Dr. Jarrett was a non-confrontational, kind man who wanted everyone to “just get along”

The statement that uncovered the discovery was this:

“In the mornings on the drive to work, I always hope that the traffic lights will be red.  It keeps me from walking into my office for just a few more minutes!”

Dr. Anne Ferrell’s Story:

Dr. Anne Ferrell contacted McKenzie Management after reading remarks posted on DentalTown.  She felt it was time to take her practice “to the next level”.  This is also a common request from dentists, even though there is no clear understanding of what the next level is!


  • Dr. Ferrell had been practicing in the same location for 20 years
  • Her production had leveled off and hygiene production had diminished
  • Most of her staff had been with her for over 10 years

Her profound statement that uncovered her truth was:

“I am bored with my practice and dentistry.  I am not enthusiastic anymore.  I am not motivated to pursue challenging cases.  I feel stuck.”

The Discovery!...

Without boring you with the intricate details of these two practices, here is the good news!  Both of these dentists were able to enjoy going to work again and had a renewed interest in their patients and team members.  As a result, profitability increased, stress was reduced and they were happy humans again!

What was the common denominator?  An employee!

Don’t let yourself fall into this trap too, by allowing a staff member to make your life miserable to the point that you don’t want to go to work.  Chances are, they don’t want to be at work either, so you are both miserable.  Someone needs some relief and it should be YOU!  YOU are the employer and in order for you to provide the quality of dental care that you are capable of, you must be in a work environment where:

  1. The hygienist/s are excited about helping you to grow the practice.  They have the same vision that you do.  You actually like these people and enjoy working with them.
  2. Business employees are open to new ideas and a different way of performing their daily tasks to improve their aspect of the practice.  They are working for more than just a paycheck and are enthusiastic about their roles in the office.  You look forward to saying, “good morning” to them each day.
  3. Clinical Assistants that want to work hard so you don’t have to and enjoy the responsibility.  They know what you need before you know what you need!  They make your life easier in the office. You can’t imagine being as productive without them.

The most challenging aspect of owning your own business, whether you are a dentist, a baker or a candlestick maker, is working with the right people.  It is like marriage – the chemistry must be right and you know it if it isn’t.  The working relationship never worked from the first day but you thought things would miraculously get better, or; it was a good fit initially but you grew apart over the years and started driving each other crazy.  Either way, do yourself a favor and MAKE A CHANGE.  You will be glad you did and will wish you had done it a long time ago.

“Now, go do the right thing!”

For more information on how McKenzie’s Practice Enrichment Program can help you email

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