3.1.13 Issue #573 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Do You Love Your Job?
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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We’ve recently marked the annual Feb. 14th celebration of Valentine’s Day - hearts, flowers, candy, and of course, love. For many successful dentists, their greatest love is their profession. They went into dentistry to help people and they are enjoying the rewards. They strive to be excellent at what they do, and they benefit from the success that comes with that distinction.

For others, when considering their profession, the word “love” doesn’t enter their minds. Certainly, they did at least like it in the early years when they were new to dentistry and it was exciting, before they had to be concerned about overhead, staffing, customer service, collections, insurance, and the like. They went into dentistry, what they got was a business. They would love to love their profession again, but for now it’s a job that must be endured.

What separates those doctors who love what they do and those who don’t? For starters, 20 practice management systems. The fact is, most dentists sincerely enjoy providing dental care. That is their passion. It’s where they want to focus, yet the frustrations of being a small business owner, managing a team of seemingly perpetually discontented staff, and dealing with the challenges and frustrations of setting themselves apart in an increasingly competitive dental marketplace have become overwhelming. Each can wear on a practitioner to varying degrees, but almost without exception, those facing the greatest level of discontent with their chosen careers are the doctors that struggle with staff. Nothing is more critical to the success of the practice and the satisfaction of the dentist than the team which s/he hires.

As some of you may know, in 2006 we unveiled Talent Management Testing for Dentistry, which was developed for McKenzie Management in partnership with the Institute for Personality and Ability Testing (IPAT). It is an objective test that measures dental practice applicants against a profile of the “ideal” candidate for the specific position to be filled. It provides a statistically valid and scientifically-based hiring assessment tool for dentists.

Recently McKenzie and IPAT completed a research study that analyzed more than 1,600 test results. Using a Multivariate Analysis of Variance, a complex statistical technique, some common behavioral patterns were identified among dental staff:

  • Dentists are significantly less extraverted and self-controlled than the other three groups - assistants, hygienists, and business staff.
  • Hygienists are significantly more stress-prone than the other three groups.
  • Dentists and business personnel are significantly more independent than clinical assistants or hygienists.
  • Dentists and business personnel are more open to change and new ideas than clinical assistants.
  • Business personnel are more independent than clinical assistants.
  • Clinical assistants and business personnel are more organized and self-disciplined than dentists; business personnel are also more organized than hygienists.

What does the above mean for you and your staff? Read on. The findings show, for example, if dentists are less extraverted, this may impact their treatment presentation skills as well as their ability to lead employees. This will likely contribute to weak case acceptance and disgruntlement among the team fueling team conflict.

Business employees can be highly organized and independent, which is good unless their strong behaviors are dominating the direction of the practice. It’s not uncommon in struggling practices to find doctors and/or staff who are afraid to recommend changes or improvements to specific business systems for fear of reprisal from the office manager. These doctors are unhappy and often feel that they are working for the employee(s). Business personnel are more organized and self-disciplined, which is why they, not the hygienists, should be managing recall.

Clinical assistants that resist new ideas and change may be less inclined to pursue continuing education opportunities that would enable them to increase their value to the doctor and the practice. An undertrained clinical assistant limits the doctor’s ability to focus on higher value production. Hygienists inclined to greater stress may be resistant to instituting an interceptive periodontal program, thereby limiting the practice’s financial potential and the hygienists’ potential to grow and learn.

However, just because there are patterns in behaviors doesn’t mean that those behaviors cannot be managed. Knowing that the patterns exist enables dentists and their teams to pinpoint where staff and doctor training would be most effective. Additionally, they can leverage this knowledge for greater productivity and profitability.

Next week, Love your practice again.

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