1.19.07 - Issue # 254 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Where is Your Magic Wand?

A McKenzie Management Case Study

Dr. William Francis - Case Study #117

Dr. Francis, general dentist, 21 years in practice and suburb practice, was experiencing the same frustrations and struggles as many of our McKenzie Management clients.

  • Declining production and collections
  • Increasing overhead
  • Not enough new patients
  • General burnout and a feeling of hopelessness

“How committed is my client to CHANGE?

Remember that law about “an object in motion stays in motion”?  Dental practices are no exception.  The direction of the practice will not change until some outside influence applies force to cause it to go in a different direction.

It is McKenzie Management’s objective to determine what type of force needs to be applied ,as well as, properly train the employees that are affected by these changes, and to monitor the results of the changes over a period of time.  As Sally McKenzie always says, “Never make a system change if you don’t have a way to monitor the effectiveness of change.”

As I worked with Dr. Francis’ team, I could see the enthusiasm in their responses to the information I was sharing with them.  They had good attitudes and were always receptive to new ideas and system changes because it was going to improve their productivity and efficiency.

Julie, the Schedule Coordinator who had worked with Dr. Francis for over five years, came to me at the end of the first day before I left for dinner with the doctor. 

“Nancy, I so appreciate your willingness to help us but we are all afraid that he won’t change.  When we come up with a good idea and we all agree to do something – he never holds up his end of the agreement.”

Should this comment surprise me?  I knew that I was the 4th consultant that had worked with him!  Is he looking for that special consulting firm that has a magic wand that fixes everything?  Hmmm.

How discouraging this is for a team that wants to be motivated and wants to make changes for practice improvement and they can’t get the doctor on board.

At dinner, Dr. Francis shared with me his primary concerns regarding his experience with previous consultants.

  • His vision wasn’t accomplished
  • His team didn’t follow through
  • His team didn’t have the right attitude
  • His team didn’t like change

“Dr. Francis,” I interrupted, “what was YOUR attitude toward the changes and follow through?”  Amazingly, his response was, “The issues with my practice are all related to changes that need to be made at the front desk….it isn’t about me!”


Doctors, It is ALL about you!  You are the leader of the team.

Your attitude, your sincere interest and your participation in the changes that need to take place to change the course of your practice, set the tone for your employees and how well they accept and implement change.

If you aren’t present during training sessions, this sends a signal to your team that you don’t care or you don’t feel it is important enough to spend your time being there.  Failing to conduct morning huddles when your staff thinks it is a great idea tells them that you don’t care about what they think or feel.  Not having monthly meetings when they see the benefit reflects an “I am not interested in doing anything different that might help” attitude to them.

Dr. Francis was so fortunate to have such wonderful team members who truly cared about their practice and they cared about him as a dentist and as their employer.  I made it clear to him how lucky he truly was to have a dedicated support staff.  However, their candle will start to flicker and will eventually burn out if he doesn’t support them and show enthusiasm and determination in his purpose for the practice.  They can’t do it alone….and he is way too heavy to pull along!

Recommendations for Achievement:

  • Mentally prepare to accept change
  • Be inquisitive and thought-filled
  • Maintain notes and ideas
  • Participate along with your team when learning new systems
  • Remain enthusiastic and positive
  • Implement YOUR part of the system changes
  • Keep the team motivated and on track
  • Work as hard as they do in making change – you set the example
  • Stay dedicated – be a leader

Change is difficult.  Try folding your arms across your chest and then folding them again in the opposite direction.  You have to think about it because it is not “normal”.  However, if you performed the task repetitively, you will change.  The same theory holds true in your practice.

Dr. Francis is still learning to fold his arms in the opposite direction but he now has a much better attitude and is staying determined and focused, because he realizes that it is his practice and he has to work as hard as his team.  He discovered that there is no magic wand for change!

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies….. email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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