12.21.12 Issue #563 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Sally’s 7 Resolutions for a Successful New Year
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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At long last, the day has arrived. It’s December 21st, and doomsday predictors are likely to be disappointed when they wake up to a world that is still spinning and stockpiles of canned goods that will remain untouched for the foreseeable future. It’s probably fair to say that the only apocalypse you’re going to encounter is the one you’ve created for yourself, something much closer to home than a meteor from a distant galaxy. This would be the cataclysm that comes with the closing of your practice’s budget year.

Although turning over a new leaf with the start of a new calendar may not be an option for the Mayans, the good news for you is that 2013 is just days away and you will have another 365 rotations of the Earth to see to it that next year ends not with fear but with celebration. To ensure that 2013 brings you a host of new opportunities, consider implementing my Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for the dental practice.

1. Lose Weight - Starting with the Dead Weight in your Practice
Perhaps this is the employee you inherited when you took over the practice. Or you hired her because she had “experience.” You thought she would be great. She knew how to schedule. She knew the computer system. She was going to take care of things, and she is. She’s taking care of causing trouble. She’s taking care of warming the chair and increasing overhead. She’s taking care to call in sick on more days than you can count.

Problem employees cause angst-filled days and sleepless nights. They also are a primary source of conflict among the staff, increased patient cancellations, low treatment acceptance, costly mistakes, and the list goes on. Take charge. Clearly define job responsibilities. With job descriptions, employees understand their responsibilities and your expectations. Moreover, they know who is responsible for which systems and who is accountable for those systems. Additionally, establish clear standards for professional office conduct. Do not tolerate poor attitudes or destructive behaviors among employees. Take a close look at your own personality and make a conscious effort to expand communication with your staff. If they are working against each other and exhibiting poor attitudes and poor performance, they may not be getting enough direction and feedback from you, the doctor.

2. Reduce Debt
Take a close look at production, starting with your hygiene department. It should account for 33% of your total practice production. If the hygienists receive guaranteed salaries regardless of their production, the expectation must be that they produce three times their salaries. To determine how much the hygienist is producing, divide the hygiene salary for the past year by her/his production. If production is falling short, take a careful look at the schedule. The hygienist must be scheduled to produce at 3x her/his daily wage. Achieving that requires you adjust your supply to meet demand and allot the right number of hygiene days - enough to keep patients happy and not having to wait an inordinate amount of time for an appointment, yet not so many that the schedule is riddled with holes and hygiene salaries tip above the 33% benchmark.

3. Spend Less Time Working
Too often dentists and their teams are stealing minutes here, working on borrowed time there, and feeling that achieving the work/life balance is a virtually impossible tightrope trick. Do this: First, consider what the practice needs to produce to meet your financial goals and obligations. How many hours per day and days per week do you want to work? Identifying your practice’s financial demands and the amount of time you want to spend in the office enables you and your team to understand the importance of scheduling to meet daily production goals.

Scheduling time should be communicated clearly to the scheduling coordinator. This basic yet commonly overlooked detail ensures the person in charge of making or breaking your day isn’t forced to guess how much time a procedure will require. Avoid the tendency to engage in “wishful scheduling” in which more time is reserved for the doctor’s “ideal” treatments than the practice has a history of delivering. Rather, calculate the number of crown and implant units or other procedures over the last six months and divide by the number of days worked. Then you can reserve time in the schedule based on the number of units actually performed.

Next week, Part 2 of Sally’s 7 Resolutions for a Successful New Year.

For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
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