12.29.06 - Issue # 251 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague
Team Rewards
Leader Not Boss
Hygiene Promoting Tx Plans

Staff Gratitude and Staff Attitude
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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Well, isn’t it a relief! Finally, the holidays are nearly over. All that staff appreciation, patient appreciation, everybody appreciation stuff is done, and off the to-do list. And for another 365 days you don’t have to even think about spending another dime to show your appreciation, your gratitude, or your thanks to another soul. Everyone on staff received his or her crate of handpicked oranges, maybe a little holiday green, and a full lunch hour to accommodate the annual celebration. They’re happy, even if they don’t really act like it, and they know just how special they are for another 12 months. Yessirree, that alone is reason enough to toast a New Year!

It would be anyway, if the whole appreciation thing were that simple and you really could wrap up a year’s worth of gratitude and hand it out annually and be done with it. Unfortunately, no one seems to really appreciate your efforts to show appreciation.  And you’re wondering why? If your idea of thanking the staff is a perfunctory exercise that you undertake once a year, it’s no wonder they lobbed the oranges like hand grenades at your new BMW.  Next year, save the produce for the juicer and protect both the Beemer and your pride.

I’ve got a plan in which your gratitude will pay off big in staff attitude. What’s more it’s practically FREE(practically, but not completely). You don’t have to spend a dime; however, you will have to invest your time. “Time? Who has time”?, you say. You’ll have more of it than you want if you don’t take a little to demonstrate to those who directly affect your success or failure that you sincerely value their contribution to your team.

First, consider what we know about most dental employees. Number one: they crave appreciation and recognition for a job well done, on a daily basis, not an annual basis.  Acknowledgement and recognition from the supervisor is cited commonly as the primary staff motivator.

Financially, it costs you nothing, yet staff recognition has the potential to yield tremendous return in both job satisfaction and subsequent production improvement for the practice. When employees feel appreciated, they work harder. They produce more. They don’t have to be replaced as often, which in and of itself will save you a fortune. Particularly, when you consider that replacing just one employee typically costs three-to-five times their annual salary. They have better relationships with fellow employees and patients, and overall success of the practice is significantly improved. Yes, there is a lot to be said for making people feel valued. 

While there is a place for gifts, avoid the temptation to give everyone the same thing – crates of oranges, bottles of wine, book club memberships, whatever. In addition, consider spreading the gifts out throughout the year. There’s no rule that says you have to spend a fortune and give gifts during the holidays.

Consider recognizing a different employee each month. You could choose their birthday or anniversary month. During this time, you write the employee a personal note recognizing their accomplishments and their dedication to the practice. Read it to the entire team at the staff meeting. In addition, you give them a personal gift that reflects their interests. For example, a gift certificate to the running store for your marathon-running employee, spa day for the maxed-out mom in your office, tickets to the theatre for your performing arts lover, etc. 

The beauty of this approach is that it allows you to recognize each employee individually, without putting a serious strain on the end-of-year budget. Everyone has their opportunity to feel valued for their individual contribution.

In addition to personal gifts, professional perks are widely appreciated as well including opportunities to receive training, paying dues for professional organization memberships, and subscriptions to professional journals.  Not only does it demonstrate to the employee that you value their contribution to your team, you want to help them excel in what they do.

Next week, eliminate the end of year appreciation burden entirely.

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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Dr. Nancy Haller
Dentist Coach
McKenzie Management
coach@ mckenziemgmt.com
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Goal for 2007: Be a Leader, not a Boss

The boss drives his/her team; the leader coaches them.
The boss depends upon authority; the leader depends upon good will.

The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.
The boss says, "I"; the leader says "WE."

The boss assigns the tasks; the leader sets the pace.
The boss says, "Get here on time"; the leader begins on time.

The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.
The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how it is done.

The boss makes work drudgery; the leader makes it a game.
The boss says, "GO"; the leader says, "LET'S GO."

                                                                                                    - Author Unknown

To transition from a boss to a leader begins by taking a close look at where your practice is and where you want it to go. It requires an accurate assessment of important leadership competencies. It starts with you, the decision-maker, but it includes your staff.

The first step is to identify and isolate the forces holding you back from the success you want. Although not exhaustive, this evaluation tool lists ten important skills for contemporary leaders. Rate yourself. Then ask your employees to rate the practice. A comparison of responses should give you insight and direction - on your strengths as well as on specific areas of your performance that need improvement.  

For each topic area, circle the number that best describes where your dental practice is now, and then rate where you want it to be. Use the number ‘10’ as the highest rating, and ‘1’ as the lowest.

Vision:  The mission of the practice is clear to staff and patients.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Planning: Employees agree on processes to achieve practice goals.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Accountability: Employees understand their specific duties and responsibilities.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Measurements: We have specific measures to know we are on track.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Communication: Information is shared consistently about decisions, plans & activities.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Employee Development: Delegation is effective and broadens employees’ skills.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Relationships: Employees have respect for one another.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Team Structure: We have the right people, in the right roles, assigned to the right tasks.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Conflict: Solutions are negotiated for cooperation and collaboration.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Culture or Climate: Employees appreciate and enjoy working here.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we are now
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Where we should be

Use this tool as a discussion guide with those you lead. Compare similarities and differences. In what areas do you agree? Where are the gaps in perceptions? Then jointly define ways to increase effectiveness and growth.

Determine specific steps you will take to enhance your own leadership. Talk with a colleague, mentor, or coach. After three months, complete the evaluation again to determine how your actions affected team performance. 

Here’s to making it a more successful, productive and profitable 2007!

If you want to move from being a boss to a leader, contact Dr. Haller at coach@mckenziemgmt.com.

Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Is Hygiene Promoting the Doctor’s Treatment Plans?

Your patient is in the hygienist’s chair with uncompleted treatment diagnosed a year ago.  The patient is scheduled for their regular recall appointment.  What will your hygienist do?

Unfortunately, many hygienists are not comfortable with talking to the patient about the treatment that has been diagnosed and why they need to have it done. What can a hygienist and doctor do to make this a more comfortable situation for the hygienist in order to have the patient accept the treatment? Work together.  Share wording that has worked in the past and create new wording for the future.

It is pertinent that the hygiene department be comfortable with discussing what treatment has been diagnosed and why the patient needs to have it done. Therefore, existing conditions should be noted in the chart in addition to what treatment is needed.  In order to make the information easy to find by the operator, it is helpful if this information is placed in the same location. Routing slips, generated from the computer, supply the hygienist with the patient’s treatment and can be reviewed at the beginning of the day meeting so the hygienist is mentally prepared for seeing the patient.

When promoting treatment plans to the patient, the hygienist or any team member should use wording that is very easy for the patient to understand. For instance, if a root canal needs to be explained, a great analogy is: “Remember when we were kids and we would put a tiny hole in an egg and remove the inside of the egg. Well, this is very similar to a root canal except you are hollowing out a tooth. Remember how easy it was to break that egg once it was hollow? Well, this is the same with a tooth. That is why a crown is needed after root canal therapy has been done.” This is just one way to explain what is done during a root canal and why a crown is needed.

The doctor and hygiene team should also discuss the treatment the doctor recommends based on existing condition, size of filling, and restorative materials that the doctor prefers to use.

Anime(one word- Anytime) a hygienist can pre-evaluate a patient’s mouth before the doctor walks in, it will help with patient acceptance and help reduce the amount of time the doctor spends in the operatory doing the periodic exam. Once the hygienist has checked the mouth, inform the patient of the findings. “Mr. Jones, you have a couple of large, old fillings that appear to be breaking down in the upper right. When the doctor comes in we will have this area checked to see if you need to have crowns diagnosed.” It is best if notes are made in the chart prior to the doctor entering the room and a conversation happens with the patient present. The hygienist may say, “Dr. Smith, I noticed that Mr. Jones has a couple of large fillings that are breaking down in the upper right. Would you please check this area to see if he needs to have crowns diagnosed?

 If the patient has a large filling that is getting old and may need to be replaced, just mentioning this to the patient  before the doctor enters the treatment room will help with the diagnoses process. Then when the doctor walks into the room, the hygienist may want to go over his/her observations with the doctor. “Doctor Smith, in the upper right there is a large filling that needs to be looked at. It looks like it may be breaking down and in need of a crown”. The doctor will then determine if it needs to be fixed sooner than later or if it is all right for now and will be checked at the patient’s next professional hygiene appointment.

Let’s review this conversation:

  • The hygiene appointment has become more than “just a cleaning.”
  • If the tooth does need a crown, the hygienist is a second opinion that something may need to be done with that tooth.
  •  If the tooth does not need treatment immediately, the doctor has built trust with the patient that nothing will be done until it needs to be done..
  • If the tooth does need treatment in the future, the patient  will aleady be aware that it was a possibility and what the treatment would be.
  • The next hygiene appointment is more important because there is something that is actually being monitored in addition to “just a cleaning.”

The hygiene department is a key player in promoting the doctor’s existing and future treatment plans.

Interested in knowing more about how to improve your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com.

Interested in having Jean speak to your dental society or study club Click Here.

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McKenzie Management
A Division of The McKenzie Company, Inc.
3252 Holiday Court, Suite 110
La Jolla, CA 92037
Email info@mckenziemgmt.com
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