02.13.09 Issue #362 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Team Building McKenzie Style
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Those of you who are familiar with McKenzie Management realize that we are always looking for new ways to help dentists get the most out of their practices. And if you read this newsletter regularly, you also know that we are strong advocates of solid practice systems as well as having a clear vision and specific goals for every dental office. Over the years, we have become firmly convinced that for dentists to achieve the level of success that the vast majority is truly capable of, they must have strong, unified teams. Unfortunately, this is where otherwise healthy practices often struggle, and the typical continuing education programs available just don’t offer much to help practices in this area.

Certainly the major dental meetings around the country offer very good information on many topics, but none of these meetings focus on building the total team. We decided that needed to change. So last fall, we held the first McKenzie Management total team building retreat, called “California Cruizin’.” The idea: Invite entire teams to La Jolla, CA for two days of team training devoted to motivating and educating every single team member, including the dentist. And, most important, make it FUN. I’m pleased to say it was a huge success, with just the right mix of great speakers and, yes, plenty of good times.

We had Risa Simon, CMC, RDA, CDA on hand educating assistants about their essential role as chairside ambassadors who have considerable influence on patient perceptions. In addition, she offered step-by-step techniques to guiding more patients to say “yes” to treatment.

Mike Moore, attorney and director of Human Resources for McKenzie Management, spoke to the doctors on the 7 Elements of an Effective Employee Relations Policy. Dr. Nancy Haller, Dentist Coach, directed the front office team, assistants and hygienists on mastering Effective and Essential Communication Skills with patients and with each other. They learned how to identify their own communication styles as well as examine the barriers to effective communication.

Nancy also led the teams in a dynamic workshop focused on developing the skills that turn conflict into cooperation and personal differences into mutual respect. Everyone was laughing, interacting and learning exactly how to use communication skills to achieve their best.

Also during the weekend, we helped teams learn how the hygiene department can excel using a coordinated team effort and how each person contributes to retaining patients and reducing holes in the schedule. I had the pleasure of guiding dentists on Being the CEO of a High-Performance Practice using strategies and techniques to help doctors go beyond being good dentists to being truly excellent leaders as well.

But it didn’t stop there! Like I said, this wasn’t going to be a dry, dull meeting for dry, dull dental teams. Everyone was there to learn and have FUN, which began with the opening night wine and cheese social. On Saturday night, we had a BIG poolside party, with fabulous food, music and prizes for the Best Bonded Team, The Best Team Dancers, The Best Team Spirit and The Best Team Photo! I can honestly say that everyone had a fantastic time and, as you’ll see from the comments below, they also learned a thing or two about becoming highly functioning and effective teams.

With the recent economy, we’ve seen our production fluctuate and that was one area in particular where I really wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. I can say things over and over to the staff like a nagging parent, but when they hear it from someone else that really helps. And it was fun the way Sally ran it; she was able to get the different offices to engage in some friendly competition, which everyone really got into. The staff really enjoyed it and I think one of the most important aspects was how well the team bonded. Dr. Bennett Jeong, San Dimas, CA (Best Team Spirit).

It was really good, well organized, fun and the team loved it. I really appreciated the psychology part and how important it is to understand personality. It’s not like anything else you’ve been to. It wasn’t so stuffy. I would definitely recommend this to other dentists and their teams. Dr. Kathleen Ellsworth, Saranac, MI (Best Team Dancers).

At the time we felt we needed a team building meeting because we had a couple of new staff. The hygienists loved the hygiene session. I liked the discussion about achieving more efficiency and looking at practice numbers. There was a lot of talk during the course about different personalities and how everyone has different styles; we have learned to be a lot more patient and understanding of each other. It’s really helped us just in dealing with our day-to-day communicating. And the competitions, those were a big motivator. We’ve never been to anything where we could strive to get an award or a prize as a group. We are very proud of it and it’s in our reception area. Debbie Mitchell, Office Manager, Dental Expressions Team, San Diego, CA (Best Bonded Team).

Plans are underway for the next California Cruzin’ event November 6 and 7 in San Diego and you won’t want to miss it. I promise it will be even bigger and better than the last. Click here and see all the fun pictures from last year and to register for this year.  Take advantage of the early special price reduction. And…if you want to watch the DVDs of some of last year’s speakers….they’re now available for purchase.  Each speaker is 1.5 hours which would be great to show for your team meetings.  Go here. I do hope you will set goals and make plans to be with us this year.  I’ve got more awards I want to give out, like the Happiest Team Award, Most Fun Team and the Hula Hoop Award!  Now I’ve got your attention, huh? Hope to see you there.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com.

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

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