1.27.12 Issue #516 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Stop Making Excuses; Chart a New Course
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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“If my staff would get their act together, we would probably be okay.”  “My employees are gossipy.”  “They simply won’t do things the way I want them done.”  “Staff bring their personal problems to work.”…and the list goes on. Doctors that are not satisfied with the performance of their practices commonly blame their teams. It’s human nature to claim that others are responsible for our problems.

It is particularly true for those dentists that have been clobbered by the recession. Many would rather complain and blame others and external forces than address the real issues - which, more often than not, are of the doctor's own making. If that is your choice, then stop complaining and lie in the bed that you have made. If, however, you are ready to make some changes, see some improvements, and start enjoying walking into the office every day, consider if your own behaviors are the ones that need to be addressed. Read on.

You Look the Other Way
When “Carole” starts complaining that “Kathy” isn’t doing her job, you brush it under the rug. When Kathy is complaining that Carole is trying to boss her around, you dismiss them both with a wave of the hand and a nice, trite; “Let’s all just get along.”  Yet, there are no job descriptions to clearly spell out who is responsible for which duties, so when frustrations arise and critical details fall through the cracks, there’s no accountability - only finger pointing. When employees gossip about each other, the patients, or the doctor - thereby damaging the reputation of the practice - the behavior is ignored. There is no employee handbook that spells out the professional code of conduct in the practice to make it expressly clear that such activity is prohibited and grounds for disciplinary action.

You Aren’t Comfortable Passing Out Praise
“Nancy” is one of the best treatment coordinators you’ve ever seen. She can present treatment plans in great detail, answer all of the patients’ questions, and have them eager to schedule ASAP. You are very impressed, but you don’t want to say anything because you wouldn’t want Nancy to get the idea that maybe she’s so good she could make more money with the doctor down the street. So, you keep the kudos and positive comments to yourself. After all, you reason, she’s just doing her job the way it should be done.

You Give Away the Farm
Your brothers, sisters, in-laws, cousins, nieces, and nephews all are getting free or nearly free care in your practice. Yet, you are lamenting the fact that collections were way off last year. “Angie” can’t follow the established collection policy because you continue to randomly set your own, depending on who you want to give a “break” to on any given day. Doctor, your generosity is honorable, but it’s undermining your collections staff from keeping you and your practice solvent.

You Don’t Hold Staff Meetings
Instead, you hold lecture sessions. You put together the agenda and you report on each area. No one else is invited to report on what is happening in their area. You don’t like these so-called “staff meetings” because they are way too much work for you and the only reaction you get from the team is defensiveness, complaints, angry questions, and second guesses.

Your Salary Procedures Look More Like “Let’s Make a Deal”
Everyone on the team knows how it works. There are no performance reviews because those make you uncomfortable. There are no established policies for how raises will be determined or when they will be given because you prefer to have “flexibility.” So periodically it’s shakedown time. A staff member will request a meeting, present their request for a pay raise, offer something that looks like a well reasoned argument and you say you will look into it and get back to them. You don’t know how to say “no” so you agree to that “little” raise with virtually no understanding of how it will impact the budget and practice overhead. Go here for my Salary Review Form.

Are you tired of the frustrations? Are you ready to create the practice that you once envisioned? Do you want a team that you respect and respects you as well? Certainly, change is difficult. We all resist it. We all make excuses for why we can't achieve it. But when you've had enough, when continuing to do what you've always done brings you more frustration, more anxiety, and more financial troubles than you can handle, stop making excuses, CALL ME, 877-777-6151, and chart a new course.

Want more of me? Click here to visit my blog, The Lighter Side, for more Dental Practice Management info.

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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Nancy Haller, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Insanity: Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results
By Nancy Haller, Ph.D.

We’re “celebrating” Groundhog Day on February 2nd. This is the day that a woodchuck in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania comes out of his burrow on Gobbler's Knob to predict the weather. If he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not, there will be an early spring.

 The event is humorously portrayed in the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. He plays a weatherman who has been assigned to cover the occasion but then gets caught in a snowstorm. Forced to spend the night in the small town, he finds himself trapped in a time warp living the same day over and over again. When he does nothing different, circumstances repeat themselves as they were on the original day. But as he changes his behavior, people respond to his new actions, opening up all kinds of possibilities.

So what does this comedy have to do with leadership? The majority of the time we do the same things on any given day. We see the same people, eat the same foods and even engage in the same types of conversation. And we do this month after month, year after year, with very little change.

Marshall Goldsmith, world renowned leadership coach and author of the #1 best selling business book - What Got You Here Won't Get You There - addresses the fundamental problems that hold people back from where they want to be. He notes that success actually prevents ambitious people from being more successful. And since high flyers commonly believe it is their own contribution that accounts for great results, not those of their team, they rarely see themselves as the obstacle. They just continue to do more of the same.

Here are his 20 habits that hold successful people back. How many apply to you?

  1. The need to win at all costs, even when it doesn’t matter
  2. The overwhelming desire to add your two cents into every discussion
  3. The need to rate others and impose your own standards on them
  4. Making destructive comments
  5. Starting with ‘no’, ‘but’, or ‘however’
  6. Telling the world how smart you are
  7. Speaking when angry
  8. The need to share negative thoughts even when you weren’t asked
  9. The refusal to share information in order to gain advantage over others
  10. The inability to praise and reward
  11. Claiming credit you don’t deserve
  12. Making excuses
  13. Clinging to the past
  14. Playing favorites
  15. Refusing to express regret
  16. Not listening
  17. Failing to express gratitude
  18. Punishing the messenger
  19. Passing the buck
  20. Exalting your faults as virtues simply because “that’s how I am”

The fact is that as successful people become more successful, the more their problems are behavioral. The most difficult challenges you face in your office have little to nothing to do with your technical skills as a dentist. The problems are more likely due to your behaviors. It is only when you accept this reality that you can create the change you want. Leadership Training can help.

If you're not sure where to start, then ask the people around you - at the office and at home.

“I want to improve my skills as a boss (or husband, wife, friend). Give me 2 or 3 suggestions that would help me to be a more effective boss (or husband, wife, friend).”

As you listen, take notes. No matter what people tell you, just say thank you. Don't argue. Don't explain. Just say thank you. Then think about what you've heard.

The only real change that will ever be possible must happen within you. Stop repeating the same old behaviors and expecting different results. Like Bill Murray's movie character, empathize with other people and the way they see you. Like Murray did in the film, create a routine that betters yourself as a person. Do something new each day to expand your competency as an effective leader.

Be aware of how you impact people rather than wandering through each day mindlessly. Be willing to breakthrough, to transform what you do. Be willing to learn and to grow. There is no ‘going back’ but there always is ‘going forward’. I urge you then to make Groundhog Day matter - whether Phil sees his shadow or not.

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at coach@mckenziemgmt.com

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

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Jean Gallienne RDH BS
Hygiene Consultant
McKenzie Management
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Really, It's Not "Just A Cleaning"
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

When working with offices all around the country, I cannot even begin to tell you how many times a day I talk about building value in the minds of patients when it comes to a hygiene appointment. There are many ways to do this, and here are a few.

When you are working on a patient, tell him/her what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what your findings indicate. One of the very first things we do once a patient is seated is review their health history. This is a time where you may have the opportunity to educate your patient about the correlation of periodontal disease, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and preterm births - particularly if the patient in your chair has any of the above-mentioned systemic problems and or periodontal disease.

If they don't have periodontal disease, it is still a perfect time to explain how having periodontal disease may put them at a higher risk of having cardiovascular disease, because of the inflammation link, and how it is great that they have been keeping their mouth healthy. If they do have periodontal disease or cardiovascular disease, then it is even more important that the patient be educated about the increased risk they have.

Not only is it recommended to educate your patients on the correlation of periodontal disease, but it is also important for the entire staff to know as much as possible and be comfortable talking about the links. When a patient calls to cancel an appointment, if the person taking the call notices in the patient's medical alerts that they have periodontal disease or a systemic problem, they can mention how concerned the doctor or hygienist is going to be because of their higher risk and having to postpone their hygiene appointment or periodontal treatment.

Once the patient is laid back in the chair and the hygienist is ready to perform an oral cancer exam, it is recommended that the clinician inform the patient of what is being done and explain that they will be checking for any unusual lumps, bumps, and growths. Once the hygienist is done, even if all the findings are within normal limits, tell the patient what was observed in their mouth. For instance, linea alba, fordyce granules, or even tori. You know as well as I do that people may have these all of their lives and never notice them, until one day they end up in your practice for a limited exam asking what is wrong with them.

Once the soft tissue is checked, the hygienist may check for any suspicious areas, large fillings that are breaking down, or missing teeth that need to be replaced. Again it is recommended that the patient be made aware of what the clinician is looking for. Otherwise, they do not have a clue that anybody even checked. As far as they know you are “just doing a cleaning.” Even if nothing is found, the hygienist may want to inform the patient of what they see. This may be as easy as saying, “Tom, I looked at your teeth to see if there was anything suspicious going on, and I observed that you have a lot of large fillings. They appear to be alright at this time, but the larger the filling is the more likely it may crack, and sometimes if a filling cracks, the bacteria will get underneath and cause a cavity underneath the existing filling.  So, I will be checking these at your future appointments.”

This tells the patient that they are at risk for a problem, and that it is important to have their teeth looked at regularly. This note about monitoring the large fillings should be put as the last entry under a category of “next visit.” That way, if the patient calls to cancel their appointment, the person answering the phone has the knowledge that the hygienist is monitoring something and they may mention to the patient, “Tom, I’m sorry you have to cancel your appointment today. I see here that Sandy is monitoring some large fillings that she is concerned about possibly cracking. We will want to get you in as soon as possible, because if they did crack we do not want you getting a cavity underneath that filling.”

These are just a few things that may help to increase value in the patients' mind when it comes to their hygiene appointments. The reason for doing this is to help reduce cancellations and no-shows, because it is not just a cleaning

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program.

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