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1.9.09 Issue #357 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague
McKenzie Mgmt. Holiday Party
Start-up New Practice in 2009
Consultant Case Study

Doctor, We’ve Locked Sally in the Closet …
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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We interrupt this regularly scheduled e-Management Newsletter to bring you a report from the McKenzie Management Corporate Team. We’ve tied Sally up with garland and temporarily locked her in the closet. No, this isn’t a practice management coup d’état, and yes we will let her out in time for the New Year. But the McKenzie Management team – Belle, Kerri, Crystal, Emily, Wes, Thom and Jenny – wanted to take a few minutes to let those of you who read this newsletter in on what things are like on our side of the computer screen, specifically during the holidays. We hear that some dentists and their teams could use a few new ideas to shake up the annual holiday celebration, so we thought we’d share our most recent experience.

Hiring Wrong People?

Now as you might imagine, there is never a dull moment if you work for Miz M. and with every new employee orientation comes a case of Jolt because it’s the only way you’ll be able to keep up with the boss, particularly when that very special day of the year comes along for the McKenzie Management Holiday Party. 

Crystal here – I am usually answering the phone, so feel free to call me any time. This was my second McKenzie Management Christmas party. Actually, it’s really more than a party; it’s an event. And when we are participating in this “event” people walk up to us and want to know where we work because we are having so much fun. But we never know what to expect until the fun begins.

This year we were told only that the party would start at 11 a.m. and would not conclude until that evening around 9 p.m. At the appointed hour we all filed out the door and were greeted by a chauffeur in a stretch limo. We knew immediately this was going to be a very good day. First on the agenda was lunch at a great restaurant then it was off to the local mall.

It is here that the games began. Sally gave each of us a gift bag and specific instructions. In the bag was $210.10 in crumpled small bills and change. We had 80 minutes to figure out how much money we had to spend and dash through the mall to find seven items as described on the instruction page. For example, one item had to go around in a circle and make noise; another item had to be something a ballerina would want. And just in case anyone had any illusions that this task was going to be easy, we then learned that we would have to purchase the items at different stores. It doesn’t stop there, the person who spends closest to or equaling the amount in the bag gets $100 extra bonus. Go over the amount and you’re disqualified.  We are one competitive group, so each of us set out to win.

Kerri here- I am the McKenzie Management product and seminar coordinator. This was my first holiday party with the MM team. In a word – WOW! Doctors if you’re looking to really build team camaraderie and loyalty keep reading.

Crystal summed up part one of Miz M’s magnificent adventure, but it didn’t end there. Once our tired feet could take no more and we’d spent our wadded up cash on the seven items, it was back to the limo to relax, sip champagne and cool off … until we learned there would be round two. The next activity on the adventure involved more shopping. Everyone was given another bag with wadded up cash and change in the amount of 68.06. Similar concept as the first, although by now we’d drawn names and our charge was to purchase four gifts for a team member in four different categories, such as something in red, yellow, and green. No food, no gift cards allowed. This was no small challenge and we had just 40 minutes to get the job done. It was a blast.

The typical holiday party in most offices is lunch or dinner out. But there was so much creativity and effort that went into the adventure. It wasn’t about the gifts it was about having fun together, enjoying each other’s company, and doing something completely and totally different.

Emily here – I’ve worked for Sally for four years. Each year as December rolls around we start talking about what might be in store for the annual celebration. Whatever it is, we know it will be a great time. I think what makes us appreciate it so much more than the standard holiday party is that Sally, like every CEO, like every dentist, is extremely busy. The fact that she puts so much energy and effort to make sure that everyone has a great time says a lot about who she is as a leader and how much she appreciates us. We don’t talk about work; we just go out and have fun together. It definitely brings us all closer as a team. Everyone really feels like they are a part of a great organization, and, most important, Sally takes the time for us.

We wrapped up our day of adventure with a go-cart race challenge and a fabulous dinner at an excellent restaurant where we all showed off our purchases and enjoyed great food and great times with a great team and a great boss.

So the next time you’re looking for a way to thank your team for a job well done do something out of the ordinary. They’ll never forget it and they will always appreciate that you really tried to make them feel special. I know we sure do.

Happy New Year to each of you from the entire McKenzie Management Corporate Team … better let Sally out of the closet now.

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Belle DuCharme CDPMA
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Starting Up Right In 2009

Thinking of starting up a new dental practice in 2009?  Opening a new dental practice for the first time can be daunting. Starting with your dream and a blue print to back it up, the journey is only beginning.

McKenzie Management offers a Dentist Start-up Program that delivers a complete program for learning  the right way to look, listen and act to avoid mistakes often made by dentists who do not get the help and advice they need to lay a successful foundation for their practice. Before you make a final decision on the location of your practice, consider the following questions:

What kind of dentistry do you want to do? Do the demographics and psychographics of the area support the kind of dentistry that you want to do? Have you had a demographic and psychographic survey done on the area where you intend to open your practice? (The Community Overview report is included in McKenzie Management’s Dentist Start up Program)  For instance, if you want to do high end cosmetic dentistry, are you in an area where people would be interested in this type of dentistry? What is your plan to do the dentistry of your dreams?

Do you want to specialize? What is your long term goal?  Do you see yourself going back to school to study endodontics, orthodontics or another specialty?

Do you want to create a niche practice?  How do you want to stand out in your community?  Do you want to be just another dentist on the block or do you want to create a memorable experience for patients in your practice.  What is the competition doing?  How can you set yourself apart from the competition? What is it that you can provide that the competition doesn’t?

What kind of patients do you want to treat?  Do you want to treat children?  Do you want a family practice? Do you want to serve the poor or the affluent? Is your focus high end cosmetic services or basic dental care?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years and in 10 years?  What are your vision and your mission statement for your practice? Write them out and share them with family, friends and team. Have you a written professional business plan with goals of achievement outlined?

If you have already purchased or leased your practice, McKenzie Management can direct your marketing efforts and guide you into setting up all of the business systems to manage your practice the best way possible.

What do you need to do next? There are many things to do before you can open your doors. Here is list to assist you in that direction. This list will vary from state to state.

Licenses (vary from state to state):

  • State Dental License
  • Anesthesia and analgesia permit if applicable)
  • License to prescribe drugs
  • Controlled substance license

Professional Association:

  • Join local, state and national associations


  • X-ray registration
  • Waste management
  • National Provider Identification NPI

Local Requirements

  • City of village occupancy permit
  • Zoning Board
  • Building Permit
  • Infection Control and OSHA
  • Job safety and health protection
  • OSHA compliance


  • State Department of revenue


  • IRS tax ID number


  • Disability income / office overhead expense
  • Life /term and universal
  • Medical/Health
  • Professional liability
  • Workmans Comp
  • Employee fidelity bond


  • License required and verified
  • Vaccines and immunizations
  • Employee policies
  • Employment Eligibility (i-9 forms)
  • Federal and state labor law posters
  • American with Disabilities Act

Supplies and equipment

  • Dental manufacturers and supplies
  • Dental Lab 

Sign up for McKenzie Managements Dentist Start-up Program today to guide you to developing the practice of your dreams and making 2009 the best year ever.

For more information about McKenzie Management’s Advanced Training courses, email, call 1-877-777-6151 or visit our website at

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

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Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
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Do You Meet Your Team's Clinical Expectations?

Dr. Joe Griffin – Case Study #146

As a part of practice management consulting, consultants find themselves with “sensitive” information shared to them by the team about their employer and by the employer about the team. These unresolved issues can and often create conflict in the practice. 

For Dr. Griffin there were two situations causing conflict in his practice:

  • The team would “question” his treatment but not discuss their concerns with him. Instead, they talked among themselves at lunch about what they would see or hear…and this gossip was not positive.
  • Dr. Griffin was unhappy with the performance of his assistants and hygienists but they were unaware of his expectations.

None of the team was willing to share their clinical concerns with Dr. Griffin. Dr. Griffin did not want to take the time or be direct about his expectations. His pent up frustrations eventually boiled over in a tirade.

Don’t assume that your clinical team knows what you know. Years of experience in the field does not always equate to the level of knowledge you need. Due to the differing temperament types of employees, many assistants and hygienists are non-confrontational and are hesitant to inquire about questioned treatment rendered.  As a result, they formulate their own opinions about what they see-right or wrong.

 Train your team to see what you see and why you formulate your treatment plans and deliver your treatment as you do. If you are thinking, “Why do I need to explain anything to my team?  It is this mentality that creates the stress in your office and breaks down teamwork. Once a month, during the scheduled team meeting, dedicate 10 minutes to discussing a treatment case with your team.  Explain what was done and why.

In addition, when you implement new technology, new techniques and new materials, educate your team as to what you expect from them in order to perform this new procedure.

Doctor - Express Expectations

As you work with your team, clinical and business, there are times when you witness a behavior that is not acceptable. It is important that you discuss your concern with him/her privately. It is not effective to disclose your observation at the morning meeting to the group because the person that you need to address may not recognize that you are directing it to them.  Afterward, if you feel that it would be helpful to share the information with the team, do so, without mentioning names. Employees do not like to be “singled out”, as they find it embarrassing and hurtful. If you continue to operate with your “head in the sand” the behavior will be repeated until the situation creates an emotional tirade from you, the frustrated dentist.

The Team Should Ask Questions

 In order for your team members to feel comfortable asking questions, you must encourage them to do so. You should see the question as an opportunity to educate not as a personal criticism.

Here is an example of some dialogue:  “Dr. Griffin, I noticed during the procedure with Mrs. Jones that you did_____________.  So I can have a better understanding of why you did that, would you explain it to me?”  Dr. Griffin’s response would be, “Mary that is a great question.  Let me explain.”

If you don’t have a format in which your team members can ask questions without reprimand, you will be the hot topic at the lunch table. “You are not going to believe what I saw Dr. Griffin do this morning with Mrs. Jones.  Can you believe this_____________?”  And the conversation goes downhill from there.

The delivery of dentistry frequently changes. Attending CE courses yearly maintains your level of excellence. How many of these courses are attended by your clinical team?  It is your responsibility to relay what you learn to your assistants and hygienists (and business team when applicable) so you and your team are always “on the same page”.

If you want a strong, supportive, educated team, invite them to learn more and expand their knowledge of dentistry. Your patients will notice a difference. How nice is it to hear from your patient, “Gee Dr Griffin, you and Suzie work so well together. You don’t even have to talk to one other. She just seems to know what you need.”

Knowledge is power.  Share your knowledge and encourage your team to ask questions so they can increase their power.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Practice Enrichment Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email

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