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  Sally McKenzie's
 Weekly Management e-Motivator

 5.9.03 Issue #63

Financial Perk or Pothole?
Employee Motivators

Sally Mckenzie, CMC
McKenzie Management

"Top Obstacles To Achieving The Ideal Practice"

     This week ... one of the barriers likely to be interfering in your ability to reach your goals. Next week I’ll discuss proven solutions.

“What do they want?” You’ve got that befuddled look on your face again, doctor. The sighs, the groans, the cold shoulder, the rolling eyes – it’s baaaaack. The dreaded employee ATTITUDE. The happy

holidays came and went; bonuses were given and have long been spent. Now staff are looking at you like, “You want me to do WHAT!?” As if according to some secret schedule, the employees’ warm, fuzzy feelings for you and the practice as well as their enthusiasm for doing their jobs have all but disappeared, packed away until next year when bonus time rolls around again.

You’d think that whopping financial perk you dole out once a year would buy you more than a few months of good feelings and productivity, wouldn’t you? Actually, if you were able to purchase increased productivity and positive attitudes, you were probably pretty lucky. It may come as a surprise, but financial perks won’t buy what you need from employees. In fact, they could be creating more potholes in your professional road and your pocketbook than you have time or resources to fill. Believe it or not, your staff doesn’t necessarily want your money –not that a little extra cash isn’t a nice plus when you can do it. But what they do want is often far more difficult to part with than the annual “giving of the green” – if you can imagine that.

Employees crave appreciation and recognition for a job well done on a daily basis – not an annual basis. Acknowledgment and recognition from the supervisor is cited frequently as the number one staff motivator. Financially, it costs you nothing yet staff recognition has the potential to yield a tremendous return in both job satisfaction and financial gain. When employees feel appreciated, they work harder, they produce more, they have better relationships with fellow employees and patients, and overall success of the practice is significantly improved.

Like you, they are looking for challenge, responsibility, and a positive, stimulating environment. In addition to acknowledgement for a job well done, another recognized staff motivator is the opportunity for professional growth. It’s time to get past money and to the heart of what really matters to your staff.

Next week, the proven staff motivators.

Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
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Building On The Theory

How An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
“Digital Chaos” Part 6

Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management


Technology Tool Box

Hygiene- Foundation and System

Last week I discussed your recall/hygiene business system as an integral part of your business foundation and why it is so important to get it organized appropriately before automating the process [see article]. To review, I separated

the responsibilities of the recall coordinator and the hygienist in order to establish clear accountability and eliminate negative team dynamics. This issue focuses on your hygienist(s) responsibility to the business system and ways to leverage your technology platform.

Your hygiene/recall system – its individual foundation

Job description – The written, discussed, and agreed reason for employment
Expectations – The performance you expect from this one “system”
Goals – Clearly attainable performance objectives in support of your vision
Responsibility – Who is ultimately responsible for this particular business system
Reporting mechanisms – Which reports they run to measure their performance
Accountability – Presenting the reporting results to the owner and the team
Statistical performance reviews – Compilation of reports for the business system(s) under the responsibility of a particular team member

Your hygienist(s) should be responsible for maximizing her productivity every day. Your hygienist(s) needs to track and report ....

  1. Production per day
  2. Production per week
  3. Production per month
  4. Interceptive periodontal therapy production
  5. Interceptive periodontal therapy as a percentage of overall production
  6. Hygiene production as a percentage of total office production

If this business system foundation exists in your practice, here are some ways you can use your technology to leverage this solid business system.


Chairside clinical computing requires its own article series which I will address in future issues. There are literally dozens of ways a hygienist can leverage chairside computing power for the betterment of the dental practice. With that said, let’s take a look at some things they can do with almost any dental system without having a computer in their operatory.

  1. The business of hygiene will be improved by entering individual time units needed per patient. Not every patient requires 60 minutes for their recall visit. Check your software for the capability of entering the number of units needed for each patient. Update the patient record. We have observed through our in-office consulting the addition of two additional patients per day to the schedule. It also staggers traffic flow to and from the front desk, which inevitably reduces bottlenecks. If you employ a hygiene assistant, they will appreciate the smoother workflow during the day rather than the spike/valley workflow created from consistent appointment times.
  2. The business of hygiene will also be improved if your practice management software can manage multiple recall “tracks”. An example would be a patient who needs a 4910 every 6 months and a 1110 every six months. Entering these specific tracks will organize your hygiene coordinator perfectly. They will know exactly “why” the patient needs to come in. If it is set up at the beginning, the system should require no alteration until the treatment regimen changes in the future. In other words, set it up right once and make everyone on the team more efficient, more effective, while providing a higher level of service to your patients.
  3. In some cases, when the hygiene coordinator is newer to the office, the hygienist should be required and paid to review the overdue recall list with the hygiene coordinator once per month until the hygiene coordinator has been with the practice for 6 months. The hygiene coordinator is responsible for preparing the list. It should take less than an hour for the hygienist and the hygiene coordinator. Their goal is to share information about individual patients. They should discuss the patient’s history with the practice, their perceived value of the recall visit, their tendencies, and even the best way to contact the patient.
  4. Last bitewing, panorex, and full mouth series dates “should” automatically calculate through your practice management software. Check for these important dates. Update them from the paper chart (or your old system) if you have changed practice management software in the past 24 months. Updating these dates tells the hygiene coordinator what needs to be done at the next visit. This will allow the appropriate time in the schedule. This will keep your schedule on time. The result will be a comfortable and accurate patient flow, more efficient processing at the front desk, and better patient service.

Next week we will discuss your collections system and advanced ways to automate those processes.

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

Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?

Dreaded Performance Reviews


Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To Day Issues

Dear Coach,
Help! The troops are surrounding me and lining up for employee reviews. Why do I hate them? Is it because they take a long time to prepare, a lot of thought and creativity to judge an employee

that I don't work knee to knee with, or is it because I can't see any room for improvement and can't afford a raise, or I can see too much room for improvement and don't know where to start, and not be too critical or negative? Are there any short cuts, or standardized forms, one for hygienists, one for assistants, and one for front desk assistants? I hate confrontations and I hate to be too critical, or negative but the whole concept of reviews twists up my stomach. Can you help?
Dr. Peter Peptabismol

The Coach Replies:
Performance reviews are important to your staff. The staff always wants to be appreciated for their work and wants to know what you really think of them. Are you concerned about telling them the truth? Your entire question assumes that you do not like the performance of at least some of them and fear telling this truth.

There is much to be learned in your use of the phrase "surrounding me". Being surrounded, implies you have no options. This is simply not true, but it feels like it, apparently. You do have options regarding who you like and who you dislike, and you do have options regarding who you keep and who you release.

There is much to be learned in your use of the phrase “I hate them.” Such a strong emotional expression begs that there are other personal issues going on than performing the task of regular performance reviews.

Time spent in analysis and creativity while performing a review are activities that the mind enjoys as a general rule; however, being placed in a position to analyze and judge others is obviously not comfortable for you; however, it is an expected responsibility as you are the leader of the company. Do you dislike managing a team for success? This might also be an aspect of the problem.

Do you know how your practice is being run and do you care to know? Inadequate management skills leave you vulnerable to all kinds of performance problems. At a minimum, you should be aware of how your office manager feels (if you have one) about each individual that she works with on a daily basis. Can your office manager be a source of information that would make this task easier? Probably not, because the problem is not the review, but rather the position of power that you must accept in order to perform your obligation to the staff.

No doubt, you may feel that the staff holds you hostage. When you state “can’t see any room for improvement, can see too much room for improvement”, "Oh my, what if they want a raise?" All of these concerns are typical management issues that require some action on your part… Are you up to the challenge of taking action?

Your avoidance of this responsibility betrays your own reluctance to become involved in your own business. In all business, there is always the challenge to be liked by your staff verses being disliked and talked about. You are apparently aware of this delicate balance and are concerned about being disliked…. But isn’t there an option of releasing the people whose performance is inadequate and avoid the disliked feeling for the long-term? Build a team that you like and the problem goes away.

The Coach

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I haven't seen you in a while because I have been too busy making money to come to any of the big meetings. Since our last visit with your consultant in my office, our production has risen to over 20% per month. Last month I quit working Friday's, and come in 30 minutes later. Thanks for the help. Hope to see you this year at some meeting.

David Black, DDS
Roanoke, VA


How To Reward Your Dental Team?

How To Reward Your Dental Team

by Sally McKenzie, CMC

Learn when and how to reward your staff. Understand why saying "thanks" can mean more than dangling a financial carrot. This book is full of checklists and questionnaires to help you determine what rewards are best suited for each of your team members.

You will understand when to use non-financial versus financial rewards, when to use group versus individual rewards, plus how important it is to set performance goals so you know when to give a reward. You will learn the difference between rewarding employees for outstanding performance versus paying them a bonus for simply doing their job.

Price $47


"From 1-10, I would rate my training at The Center a 20! I now have confidence that I can make a difference in the practice and the knowledge to implement all of my new skills. I know that I can make immediate changes and it feels good to have tangible tools to show for my time away from the office. The instructor was willing to go at my pace even if it meant working late. I highly recommend The Center if you are tired of running your office the old fashioned way. Anyone who actually wants their office to run smooth and make money should go through this training."

Leslie H.
Office Administrator


Advanced Business Training For:
· Office Managers
· Financial Coordinators
· Patient Coordinators
· Scheduling Coordinators
· Treatment Coordinators
· Hygiene Coordinators

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For a FREE Educational Video

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team
Absence of Trust
Trust is the confidence among team members that their peer's intentions are good and there is no reason to be protective.
Fear of Conflict
It is ironic that so many people avoid conflict in the name of efficiency because healthy conflict is actually a time saver: avoiding conflict actually dooms themselves to revisit the issue over and over.
Lack of Commitment
There is nothing that is certain in life; a decision is better than no decision at all; better to make a decision boldly and be wrong and then change direction with equal boldness rather than to waffle in many cases.
Avoidance of Accountability
The most efficient means for maintaining high standards of performance on a team is peer pressure. There's nothing like letting down your teammates that motivates people to improve their performance.
Inattention to Results
It is injurious to the team to care about something other than the collective goals of the group. There must be an unrelenting focus on specific objectives and clearly defined outcomes. Every successful dental practice specifies what it plans to achieve in a given time.
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