08.04.06 - Issue # 230 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague
Boss Type
McKenzie Case Study
Start-Up Marketing

Would Your Team Hire You or Fire You?
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Just when the Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley, had all but disappeared into obscurity and Dabney Coleman’s sexist, egotistical character, Mr. Hart, from the classic flick Nine to Five had been retired to the cinema vaults, in walks Miranda Priestly. She’s the boss you love to hate in the recently released movie The Devil Wears Prada.  Low and behold, boss-bashing is back in style.

Contests are running in newspapers looking for the juiciest bad boss tale. Even the AFL-CIO challenged abused employees everywhere to share their best bad boss story for prize money. An entire website is devoted to helping employees cope with bad bosses. Unfortunately, there is plenty of coping to be done, as there is no shortage of bosses characterized by their employees as just plain bad.

A 2004 survey conducted by badbossology.com revealed that many people with difficult bosses would fire them versus taking less drastic action. In fact, 48% said they would fire their boss if they could, 29% would have their boss assessed by a workplace psychologist, and 23% would send their boss for management training. Some management experts assert that at least 55% of managers in America are incompetent. And in dentistry where practitioners are trained to be excellent clinicians and typically must learn their leadership and management skills from the school of hard knocks, it’s easy to understand why many struggle when it comes to the role of “boss.”

What type of boss are you? Good? Bad? Depends on the day? Not sure?
Step back and honestly consider this question: Would you want to work for you? While most bosses bring a host of both positive and negative qualities, when it comes to “bad bosses,” the negatives far outweigh the positives.

The “hands-on” boss, more aptly described as controlling, cannot restrain him/herself from becoming involved in even the most insignificant details of the practice. Members of his/her team can make very few decisions without his/her input. If the hygienist is ordering a supply of flavored topical fluorides, Dr. Total Control has to see the order form to make sure Screamin’ Strawberry is on the list.

Delegating is virtually impossible for him/her. This boss can’t even allow the assistant to explain post operative procedures. Rather than guiding his/her team and helping them to problem solve independently he/she simply takes over. However, as much as he/she must have control, decision-making is not his/her strength. In fact, most of civilization evolved in less time than it takes him/her to choose between option A and option B. He/She’s so afraid of making the wrong decision that he/she becomes trapped in a state of paralysis of analysis.

Then there’s the perfectionist boss. No one can meet Dr. Perfectionist’s standards. Highly obsessive, Dr. Perfectionist is convinced that he/she is the only competent person in the practice. Chances are very good that he/she is also highly controlling, but unlike Dr. Total Control, this doctor knows exactly what he/she wants, when he/she wants it, and how he/she wants it.

Dr. Perfectionist will not seek staff input in resolving problems. No, no, no. He/She feels that all practice decisions really must be made by him/her. He/She will tell staff exactly how any given issue should be addressed, and if Dr. Perfectionist is wrong, don’t expect any acknowledgement of that mistake. As you might expect, this doctor isn’t particularly good at giving positive or constructive feedback to employees either.

There’s also the “I want them to like me” boss, better known as Dr. Spineless. He/She means well, really. When a problem arises, he/she waits for it to disappear on its own for fear that addressing it could result in hurt feelings. If one member of the team is routinely coming in late, he/she’s making excuses for him/her even though it’s affecting the entire practice. If another member is not providing necessary reports for monthly meetings, he/she’s quick to say, “No problem, we’ll just cover it next time.” Next time never comes. 

And you can forget constructive feedback, if performance reviews are even conducted they are so smothered in sugar no one really takes them seriously.  No spine in the doctor, no accountability in the team

There’s also the blamer, the screamer, the backstabber, and the politician, to name a few more. And then there is the boss that all leaders should strive to become: the team builder. Next week maximize your strengths to become a true team builder boss.  

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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A McKenzie Management Case Study

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management
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This case study illustrates how important it is to implement your practice strategies and to track your success.

Drs. Bowman and Jones’ Follow-up Story:

Two years ago, 2004, Dr. Bowman called me and was stressed!  “We have three employees at the front desk and nothing seems to get done.  Cheryl, one of the three, is our office manager.  She doesn’t seem to really know what the other two are doing.”  “We never know if tasks are getting accomplished.  We communicate our concerns to her so she can address them with others but we don’t see any improvement.”  “We realize that she is busy scheduling patients and answering the phone but she IS the office manager!”

Office Facts:

  • 2 dentists, 2 hygienists, 4 assistants, 3 business staff
  • Practice over 40 years old
  • Dentists also owns small apartment complex
  • $300,000 in outstanding insurance claims
  • Only 4 days of hygiene
  • Low production by all

Recommendations to Drs. Bowman and Jones:

  • Office not large enough for an office manager
  • Needed to departmentalize the business office:
    • Schedule Coordinator – Cheryl
    • Financial Coordinator – Janet
    • Hygiene Coordinator – Kathy
  • Job descriptions for all 3 positions
  • Each coordinator was to report at the monthly meeting on the performance of their own department with statistics relative to their job descriptions by using McKenzie Management’s Methodology.
  • Hire a part-time bookkeeper to manage Accounts Payable and the apartment complex.

Results 2 years later- 2006

5 days of hygiene to 9 days of hygiene because they changed their old way of doing recall and implemented the McKenzie Recall System.

Outstanding insurance over 60 days went from over $100,00 to less than $1,500 because they embraced the concept of Job Descriptions and empowered the Financial Coordinator to take responsibility of insurance follow-up.

Collections from $83,542/mo average to $136,000/mo average because of implementing financial option plans and tracking “over the counter” collections as part of the job description for the Schedule Coordinator.  Again, holding staff responsible for certain tasks.

Accounts Receivable Ratio went from almost 6x their monthly net production to an average of 1.6x because the systems were implemented and monitored for success.

Collection to Production % from 88% to over 100% because they are still collecting old debt and outstanding insurance claims!

Enough of the statistics…you get the picture.  And allow me to say that this practice is not any different than any other practice.  They are still struggling with the need for more new patients.  The doctors are only producing a little more than $500/day more than they were two years ago so don’t think that this is a “unique” situation.

What is the difference, you ask?  These two doctors realized that what they were doing before McKenzie Management was not working and something needed to change.  As I have mentioned in my previous articles, change is not easy.  It is difficult for the doctors and the staff.  Even more difficult than the change in the IMPLEMENTATION in order to create the change.  These two doctors were willing to “make it happen” and they did.


If you are going to invest in a practice management program, there is no magic wand.  It takes hard work and dedication from the entire team in order to implement the new systems and monitor the changes so you know how you are doing.  If you don’t have a goal to shoot for, how do you know when you make it?  When do you celebrate your achievements?

These doctors were kind enough to share their success with me today when they called to tell me that they have completely remodeled their “tattered” office with the increased revenue as a direct result of implementing the systems that McKenzie taught them.  They enjoy coming to work now and the response from the patients has been remarkably favorable.

They are now celebrating their achievements and you can too!

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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Give Me Five!! Strategic Marketing for the Start-Up Practice
McKenzie Managementís Advanced Training Instructor

Belle M. DuCharme
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 “Build it and they will come.”  Is this a quote from your “Field of Dreams” vision for your new dental practice?  Yes, all of the latest and greatest technological devices along with granite counters and new paint palettes.  You “wowed” them at your Grand Opening with your promises to deliver highest-level standard of care.  Is that going to make your phone ring?  Well, it’s a start but there is more work to be done to insure growth of your new dental practice.

As Instructor for McKenzie Management’s Dentist Start-up Program I bring to the table a vast wealth of “tried and true” marketing methodology from working in many dental practices over the last thirty-five years.  After receiving Certification in Creative Marketing from the University of California, San Marcos this year, I have an updated outlook on what makes a successful marketing mix.

A STRATEGIC MARKETING PLAN must be developed before opening your dental practice.  Clarity of these key points must be addressed:

  1. Clarify the services and products you will be delivering.
  2. Clarify your objective in the delivery of these services and products.
  3. Clarify your target audience or in relation to dentistry, your target patient base.

With clarity you can proceed to the Five Key Issues of your marketing plan.  We call these the 5 Ps of Marketing.

  1. Product or Service
    What could you do to improve the quality of our service/products in the eyes of our patients?  What additional services or products could you offer that you don’t offer now?  What is the latest “buzz” in products and services that you could learn about and offer to your patients?
  1. Price or Fees
    What could you do to cut your overhead but not the quality or service that you deliver?  What offers or incentives could you offer without hurting your quality to encourage patients to try your office for their dental care?
    Should you look at your fees to determine whether you are competitive in your market place?  When is the last time you raised your fees?
  1. Placement or Location
    What could you do right now to help your patients and prospective patients better access to your services and products?  What new approaches can you try to reach different patients or retain your existing patients?  Is access to your office a hindrance to our growth?
  1. Promotion or Public Relation
    What could you do right now to improve communication with your patients and the community about your office?  What new types of communication could you explore to help your practice to grow?  What ideas could you expand upon to” get the word out” about your office in a new and exciting way?  What is your Mission Statement and what does that mean to you as a dental practice?
  1. People or Patients
    What could you do to make your patients feel more enthusiastic and thankful toward us?  What could you do to increase your motivation and enthusiasm to thoroughly enjoy what you do?  Have you reminded yourself that this is a business of people not “cases”?

Now you have the keys and the 5 Ps you are ready for more work.  Marketing is an area where many dentists and their staff are perplexed as to where to start and how much to spend.  It is an area where you can “roll the dice” and try different types of marketing to see what works for you.  This is typically expensive and does not attract the kind of patient that you want.  Many marketing pieces that give away your services as an incentive can be detrimental for future growth if not designed with careful thought.

What is marketing all about?

  • Knowing patients and why they will buy from you
  • Maintaining lasting patient relationships
  • Understanding the trends that affect your practice
  • Knowing your competitive strengths and weaknesses
  • Having the right services and products at the right time
  • Building and maintaining your “niche” in the community
  • Being profitable

Want to learn more?  We have only just begun. Even if you are an existing practice that wants a NEW START, McKenzie’s Advanced Training Programs may be what you need to get energized for a new beginning.  Our quality team of dental experts is at your service for a more rewarding practice so call us today!

For more information on McKenzie’s Start-Up Program email training@mckenziemgmt.com.

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