12.28.12 Issue #564 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Sally’s 7 Resolutions for a Successful New Year (Part 2)
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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Take a deep breath and get ready to leap into 2013. Like every other New Year, this one brings at least 365 opportunities to make positive change. Are you ready to make the coming year your best yet? Read on. In last week’s article, I shared three of my Top 7 Resolutions for a Successful New Year: 1. Lose Weight, 2. Reduce Debt, and 3. Spend Less Time Working. Below are the remaining four on my list.

4. Learn Something New
Maximize your time, your talent, and your staff. Give your employees the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Provide necessary training to prepare your staff to perform procedures that they are legally allowed to carry out in your practice. If you do not have the confidence that your assistant or other team member can handle the additional responsibility, even with proper training, then s/he should be replaced. They will hold you and your team back in the new year, just as they did in the past year.

5. Help Others
Start with your staff, in the form of performance reviews and ongoing constructive feedback. Too often dental practices are staffed by employees who are simply trying to find their way, with little to no direction or understanding as to what course they are on. They just drift along, seriously in need of a compass. The compass I’m referring to doesn’t point North, South, East or West. Rather, it is a performance measurement program, and it guides everyone on the team in the same direction toward specific goals.

The vast majority of employees want to deliver a quality work product. They want to feel that they are part of a clearly directed team that not only enjoys working together, but also is committed to succeeding together. And they want to feel that they are rewarded based on their individual ability to achieve what is expected of them.

6. Get Organized
It’s a classic case of everyone is working hard but no one is working smart. The focus is on dealing with whatever problem has to be managed right now and not on addressing what caused that problem and what can be done to prevent it in the future. Doctor and team are in perpetual crisis mode, dealing with the same issues over and over, and it is all starting to feel a lot like burnout. The worst part, there is little to show for all the stress that you and your employees are under. Practice productivity is teetering precariously between the “sorely lacking” and “barely good enough.” Why? There’s no analyzing, no planning, and very little real communication taking place.

Tackle it in 24 hours. Schedule a two-hour meeting each month and bring a genuine commitment to making real productive change during the coming year. This is dedicated, uninterrupted time in which doctor and staff commit to continuously improving the practice and transforming an office locked in a seemingly perpetual state of crisis management or lackluster success into one of superior efficiency and productivity. Here’s how:

  • Create an agenda with input from the entire team.
  • Include all areas that impact the profitability/success of the practice, such as: number of new patients, recall patients, collections, treatment acceptance, production, accounts receivables, unscheduled time units for doctor and hygiene, uncollected insurance revenues over 60 days, overhead, etc.
  • Assign each member of the team to report on the area for which s/he is responsible.
  • Designate the amount of time you will spend discussing each issue and avoid getting bogged down on unrelated topics.
  • Encourage team members to come prepared to participate in the discussion.
  • Delegate responsibilities and establish deadlines for completing tasks identified during the staff meetings.
  • Share ideas during staff meetings for improving the work environment, the patient experience, and the efficiency of the practice.
  • Hold meetings at least once per month, more frequently if you are implementing several changes.

7. The final and perhaps most important resolution has three parts, but each is dependent on the other two: Peace of mind. Reduce your stress. And enjoy life more. If that sounds like the kind of resolution you want for the New Year, click HERE or call (877) 777-6151.

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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Nancy Haller, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Goal for 2013: Strive for Less
By Nancy Haller, Ph.D.

It’s the end of another year and many bright, successful people are making resolutions and setting goals. In all likelihood the ‘theme’ of those proclamations will involve doing or wanting more. You see, we live in a world that defines success by more. More money. A more luxurious car. More expensive clothing. More extravagant vacations. When most people think about success, they think about adding things to their life.

The problem with that way of thinking is that you begin to believe that true joy and satisfaction comes from things outside yourself. But the fact is that your ability to succeed and be happy is in direct proportion to your willingness to let go and stop striving. Although it sounds contradictory, this is absolutely true. Case in point - have you ever tried to find something you misplaced, only to be maddened by your inability to find it? In exasperation you finally give up looking - you stop striving - only to find it shortly thereafter. It’s a truth of the universe. When we try too hard we lose connection with our most creative self. Our brains shut down. We wear ourselves out.

The notion of success comes from simplicity and clarity. You can do it all. You just can’t do it all today and you can’t have it all right now. There is never enough time. You won’t always be right. Perfection does not exist. Mistakes are inevitable. You don’t - and can’t - know everything.

These are tough realities to admit. Unfortunately many people refuse to accept reality because it conjures up vulnerability and fear. And so foolishly and naively people buy more, eat more, try to control more…only to fall farther and farther away from the very thing we really want more - peace.

A controlling nature may be destroying your initiative as well as the initiative of others on the team. Lighten up on the load you put on yourself and your employees. Face your fears. Think about what you really love. Think about some of the things you value deeply. I doubt those are ‘things’ but more likely people and intangibles.

The 20th century American theologian Reinhold Niebur wrote an untitled prayer that has been adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. You don’t have to be in recovery to let it guide you. In fact the 27 words of The Serenity Prayer outline a peaceful way to live life.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

So as we enter 2013, consider the following actions of doing less and gaining more:

  • Say no to that second helping of food or dessert
  • Make fewer excuses
  • Spend less time complaining
  • Shorten the time between making a mistake and apologizing
  • Reduce the temptation to create more debt and deny immediate gratification
  • Talk less and listen to what others have to say
  • Stop regretting
  • Let go of behaviors that were successful in the past and are no longer working

When you engage in what seems like ‘less’ you actually create ‘more’ opportunity to get what you really want - your dreams. That’s when less is more. That is when you become more.

Have faith in this seemingly paradoxical model for living. Have faith in yourself. Let go of all the daunting thoughts about things that need doing so you can make space for being. It is then that you will find peace on Earth and good will to others.

Wishing you, your family and your staff many blessings throughout the coming New Year.

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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Scheduling In Advance May Be Deceiving
By Jean Gallienne, RDH BS

When offices book each patient six months in advance for their next hygiene appointment, they may be deceiving themselves into believing that the hygiene schedule is full. As a result, when they look ahead at the hygiene schedule they may see it is solidly booked for a month or two in advance and there is no place to put patients trying to get in for their hygiene appointment. This can cause a knee jerk reaction, resulting in the idea that more hygiene appointments are needed. The doctor may hire another hygienist, or have the current hygienist add time to their schedule in order to accommodate patients. Front Office Training

The next thing you know, the hygiene department has a lot of open time and profitability has gone down. Patients are canceling because they are sick, have to work, are going on vacation or even worse, are no-shows to the appointment all together. The scheduling coordinator and the recall coordinator work their fingers to the bone dialing for dollars trying to fill the schedule, which is harder to do when the cancellations come at the last minute.

I wish I could tell you how to eliminate any open time in hygiene. Although there is no golden answer, there certainly are ways to reduce the amount of open time in the hygienists’ schedules. Here are a few of them.

1. Having a recall coordinator may be priceless, as this person’s sole responsibility is keeping the hygiene schedule full. When there is a cancellation or change in the schedule, it is the number one priority for the recall coordinator and the scheduling coordinator to work on filling the schedule for that day.

2. Creating lists to use if there are changes in the schedule is extremely important. Have patients prepared to move forward if there is a change in your schedule, or if time permits, get a patient in that does not have an existing appointment. If there is limited time and the hygienist needs a last minute high production block filled, look through the future appointments for a root planing patient and see if they may be able to come in sooner. The scheduling coordinator should have already asked the patient when they made their initial appointment if they would be interested in being moved forward if there is a change in the schedule, and what times may work for them.

3. Calculating the amount of hygiene time that is needed for your practice is valuable. Just because your schedule appears to be full does not mean you need to add an additional day of hygiene. Many offices have more hygiene time than they actually need, and this leads to having more open time than there should be.

4. Setting up your schedule based on past history will help also. This means scheduling appointments in order to optimize the hygienist’s time, allowing them to reach their daily goals. Get out of the mindset of filling holes in the schedule with any appointment, and instead schedule the optimum hygiene schedule. You may want to have blocks placed in your schedule based on the past history of the hygiene department, allowing for the patients to get appointments in a timely basis. Your practice needs will make a difference as to what the blocks may be for, whether they are new patient blocks or high production blocks. 

If the hygiene department sees new patients first, then you want to allow time to be blocked out for new patients. This will help prevent the new patient from calling and not being able to get in immediately. If the doctor sees the new patient first, you may even want to consider having blocks for new patients in the doctor’s schedule. The last thing you want is an entire day of all new patients and not one high production procedure in the doctor or hygienist schedule.

How many blocks do you need for new patients? This depends on how many patients on average are seen each month in your practice. This is the reason why you need to look at your past history before just randomly putting blocks into your schedule.

How many high production blocks do you need to schedule in each day? Is a new patient block considered a high production block in your practice? What appointments count as a high production block in your practice? This will vary depending on the hygienists’ goals, what the appointment consists of, how much time is allowed, and the cost of each procedure done.

The main thing to keep in mind is that just because your schedule appears full today, it may change first thing in the morning when the front office comes in and gets the phone messages. Patients do get sick and have emergencies that happen. Being prepared on how to fill open time in order to meet your offices goals is a key plan in scheduling.

Interested in improving your hygiene department? Email hygiene@mckenziemgmt.com and ask us about our 1-Day Hygiene Training Program or call 877-777-6151

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