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  Sally McKenzie's
 Weekly Management e-Motivator
  9.05.03 Issue #80

Breaking Down the ‘I Quit’ Barrier

Sally Mckenzie, CMC
McKenzie Management

   Turn that two-week’s notice into your blueprint for a practice improvement strategy. When an employee walks out, it may be difficult to recognize amidst all the initial turmoil, but opportunity has just walked in. Take advantage of it. Follow these 10 steps.

Assess the systems before you bring in a new or additional employee. Maybe the business manager who just quit was averse to change; consequently, systems
became desperately inefficient. Shake it up! Don’t tolerate the status quo. Create the environment that is going to attract the employees you want and enable you to practice dentistry as you choose. This is your opportunity. Seize it!
Plan to provide training. Success or failure of both the employee and the systems they are accountable for hinge on this. Professional training ensures that systems are integrated into the practice that establish the means to monitor and measure employee performance and results.
Take 15 minutes and think about what you want the person in this position to do. Do you want someone to warm the chair and collect a paycheck? Or do you want an accountable, ambitious, individual willing to learn new things?
Update or write a job description for the position, so it is tailored to attract the kind of employee you are seeking. Include the job title, job summary, and specific duties. This clarifies what skills the applicant must possess and explains what duties they perform.
Advertise smart. The employee you are looking for is probably not looking for you. They are successfully employed but perusing the ads to see what’s out there. Use a yearly salary range to get their attention. Money doesn’t just talk, it screams. Ads that do not include salary are ignored by 50% of job prospects. Keep the copy simple but answer key questions – job title, job scope, duties, responsibilities, benefits, application procedures, financial incentives, and location. If possible, direct prospects to your website to learn more.
Read between résumé lines. Highlight those qualities that match position requirements. Look for longevity in employment. Be careful of those that only note years, such as 1999-2000. Flag résumés with “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe.” The “Yes” candidates are the first to be considered.
Pre-screen applicants via phone interview. Address your most pressing concerns up front. If there are gaps in employment history, now is the time to find out why.
Check them out - references and work histories. This step can yield tremendously helpful information and will save you from multiple hiring horrors.
ShowTime! Conduct interviews using a written set of standard questions for each applicant. Ask follow-up questions based on the responses. Gather facts about their experience that can be verified. Take thorough notes during the interview and jot down personal details to keep track of who’s who.
Pay Attention. The candidate is likely to be on their best behavior in the interview. If they don’t impress you now it will not get better after they are hired.

The next time an employee gives you two weeks notice, relax, take two aspirin and the 10 steps to hiring success.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie at

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

Building On The Theory

How An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
“Digital Chaos”

Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management

Technology Tool Box

Clinical Computing – Part 1

Last week, I discussed business staff turnover and steps you can take to make a negative into a big positive for your dental practice [see article]. This week, I want to begin a whole new journey for our readers – clinical computing. Part of my motivation for doing so has come from reader email response. Many of the

questions asked revolve around transitioning into the treatment rooms with computers. Our reader survey [take survey now], tells us why. The vast majority of responses show excellent use of business management features of your software, while only 30% of you use your practice management system in the treatment rooms.

Clinical Computing – Welcome to the Jungle!

The title isn’t meant to scare you. There are many, many benefits to clinical computing. But, as with any benefit – there should be a plan. Before you venture into this new dimension, I want to express some realities along with some possible solutions.


  1. You are effectively doubling (or even tripling) the number of human beings entering data into your computer system. With this reality comes the need for professional training and specific team/data responsibilities.
  2. The total transition from complete neophyte to clinical computing expert should take no more or no less than 90 days.
  3. Clinical computing requires MORE database preparation than when you prepared the database to run your business.
  4. Clinical computing requires specific attention to ergonomics. The placement of your keyboard/mouse combination along with the viewing angle of the monitor is more important in the treatment rooms than it is up at the front desk. This is not to say that the comfort of your clinical team is more important than your business team. The reality is that your clinical team is far more mobile in their duties than your business team. In addition, your clinical workstations need to be viewed by more people than just the assistant – they will at times be viewed by the patient as well.
  5. Each team member will find new ways to positively or negatively impact a different team member during this transition. The information processes in a dental office can cross job description lines. The impact (whether positive or negative) is not necessarily intentional. It is however, predictable.


  1. Do not even consider going into the treatment rooms with your computers unless the business functions are running smoothly, understood by the entire team, and are creating predictable results. Never add new humans to the process without first assigning user names and passwords to each user. Use the audit trail reports to monitor use/mistakes throughout the transition.
  2. 90 days is an achievable goal to complete your transition. Any longer and your team will lose interest. Any shorter, and it most likely means you did not prepare your database properly to make clinical computing as efficient as it should be.
  3. The solution here is time. For instance, adding default clinical notes to specific ADA codes can take a lot of time. The time investment is well worth it because later on down the road you will be able to post a 3330 and have a 200 word clinical narrative automatically appear. You must plan the time to prepare your clinical database before implementation. It’s not hard, it’s just time.
  4. Since proper placement can only be determined on-site by a professional installer of digital dental technology, I strongly urge all of you to seek the wisdom and guidance of those most experienced at doing this right the first time. This one step (reality) can make or break a successful transition into the treatment rooms.
  5. In whatever team meeting format you have, allow 20 minutes of time to review how each team member is using the new clinical tools in the computer system. Your business team will notice the impact on them first. They’ve been using the computer system a lot longer than anyone on the clinical team. Let the business team present the positives, negatives, and recommendations for change. The changes need to be understood, agreed upon and adhered to by every clinical team member.

Next week, we will dig a bit deeper into training, preparing your clinical database, and the first stages of implementation. If any of you are contemplating this transition, you might want to print these each week and keep them together. You can also email me for a consolidated copy in MS Word.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at

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

See Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec. 10th in La Jolla. For more information email or call 1-877-900-5775

Getting The Cold Shoulder


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

The Artist verses the Businessman

For this week's column, I would like to address the attributes that I find so prevalent in the field of dentistry when doing executive coaching.

Every industry attracts certain types of men and women, and the attraction is by no means due to chance. In coaching, we are always encouraging our clients to use their natural talents to express themselves. This principle of natural talents for self expression is very powerful, because the experience feels natural to the mind and body. The ability to perform this way is not something that is taught in school but is naturally felt to be part of a person's personality and represents the most efficient way to move forward in life.

While it is reasonable to accept that everyone has their own individual profile of natural talents, there are some general skills and talents that are common to the people attracted to dentistry. This particular column is specifically addressing the Dentist.

Eleven Attributes Dentists Share In Common.

Tenacity: the ladies and gentleman who pursue the postgraduate world of dentistry are making a statement. They express their commitment to beginning the process and seeing it through to the end. They are persistent and unwavering in their commitment to achieving their professional goal as well as their personal goals. If left un-thwarted by the uncertainties and reactionaries of life, these ladies and gentleman always achieve their goal.

Attention to detail: in order to do this kind of work, the ladies and gentleman who are attracted to the field of dentistry have a longer attention span. They also have an added sensitivity to the detail necessary to be precise and address the smallest incremental unit of a project in an effort to do a good job and create a masterpiece. This commitment to the details of their profession makes them an artist in every sense of the word.

Dependability: the ladies and gentleman who commit to an education beyond college are knowingly committing themselves to a long term process of education and learning. These people have taken it upon themselves to take pride in their ability to commit to the process. They are reliable and dependable to themselves and others. By achieving their own goals and fulfilling the expectations of those people with whom they work, they can be counted on to show up and complete the job that is necessary.

Appreciation for Knowledge: people in this profession have committed their time, energy, and resources to acquiring the knowledge necessary to relieve the suffering of their patients. It is this commitment to the accumulation of knowledge that makes them very special contributors to the overall success of the profession, the success of our species as a whole, and to their own personal satisfaction with their choices and achievements in life. It is knowledge that separates us as individuals and it is knowledge that makes dentists special.

Accuracy: there is a very deliberate behavioral trait that consumes the people of dentistry. They deliberately seek the truth of the event or problem. They go out of their way to make correct decisions and to solve problems with correct methodology. Even when there are mistakes made, their inherent desire to be correct and accurate drives their commitment to solve the problem. This is a trait that carries over from the practice of dentistry to the business of dentistry; however, more often than not, the desire to be accurate in finance is often evasive to the average artist.

Initiative: there are many people who will take a risk because they believe the payoff stands to benefit them personally. There are those whom will take a risk because the adrenaline rush makes them feel good for the moment; however, they have no commitment to the long term success of the initiative. The professionals in dentistry knowingly begin a process that is long and arduous. They accept and agree with an understanding that their ultimate success is not assured. Their ability to believe in themselves and the goal of eliminating human suffering is essential to their personal definition of purpose and direction. They are willing to take the steps and begin the process unsure if such an altruistic goal will be realized.

Next week I will continue with Dentist’s Most Common Attributes

Want your issues answered? Ask the

Don’t miss The Coach’s workshops on Oct. 8th, Office Politics …The Enemy Within, on November 8th, Taking Your Practice Back – Leaderhip Development for Dentistry. For more information email or call 1-877-900-5775

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How To Hire The Best Dental Employee
A Dentist's Guide to Effective Interviewing

- Developing a Job Description
- Advertising-Sample Ads Included
- Reviewing the Resumes
- Telephone Screening
- The Application- ReadyTo Use
- Questions for Business,
- Assistants, Hygienists
- Testing Applicants and Tests
- Checking References

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Sally's Mail Bag

I’m interested in your opinion on how to handle a new patient in the office?
Does the dentist see the patient 1st for exam and consult before going to hygiene? Does the hygienist take them first and then you do a comprehensive exam after the cleaning? What do you think works best?
Dr. Thompson

Hi Dr. Thompson,
Having 24 years of consulting with dental practices, this is one area of practice that is dependent on the philosophy of the dentist. But, if I may...I'd like to share with you what we find with the practice's new patient statistics and patient retention using both philosophies. The practices that have the patient see the dentist on the first visit have a lower number of new patients coming into the practice from the initial telephone inquiry than those patients who are scheduled for what they ask for. Of course this is normally, "a cleaning". I can only assume the reason is that you have a customer who wants to buy something and the store is telling them they can't buy that at their store the way they want to buy it. We also find that those practices where the doctor sees the NP first and an exam is done and the amount of treatment is presented on the first visit has a lower percentage of retaining that patient to come back for treatment. This again makes reasonable sense when you look at the patient's registration form and see their reason for coming was "cleaning and check-up" and a treatment plan was for $1,000 or more. You now have a patient that has had no time to build trust and rapport. This is pretty easy to investigate. Simply go back and look at new patient records from more than 60 days ago and you will probably find some that came in for that first visit and never came back.

Offices where the doctor sees the patient on the first visit are strong believers in that method and comprise a lower percentage of doctors than those that give the patient what they ask for on the first visit. If you want to know for sure, try both and then do your own statistical analysis. I can confidently say that after 24 years of consulting with dentists that no matter which system is used, the majority of offices have no statistical proof as to which works best. The proof is always in the numbers.
Best regards,

Are you wondering if your hygiene department is producing what it could be?

Dr. Allan Monack's hygienist produces $1231 a day seeing
1 patient an hour with a
prophy fee of $70.

What's your hygienist producing?

Dr. Monack is the Hygiene Clinical Consultant for McKenzie Management. He can help you produce the same results.
To find out more about the Hygiene Clinical Enrichment Program [go here], contact us at or call: 877-777-6151

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

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The Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl St. Ste. 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

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Sally McKenzie, President
This issue is sponsored
in part by:
The Center for Dental Career Development
San Diego Workshop Series
Fall/Winter Schedule
 Date Seminar Instructor(s)  
 Oct. 3
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Oct. 8
 9:00 - 4:30
Office Politics ... The Enemy Within    
 Oct. 31
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Nov. 7
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Nov. 8
 9:00 - 4:30
Taking Your Practice Back - Leadership Development for Dentistry    
 Nov. 14
 9:00 - 4:30
Unleashing Your Team's Potential & Optimizing Clinical Efficiency Risa Simon, CMC.  
 Nov. 19
 9:30 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Dec. 5
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Dec. 6
 9:00 - 4:30
Office Politics ... The Enemy Within    
 Dec. 10
 9 - 12pm
Boosting Your Hygiene Department Allan Monack, DDS FAGD
Hygiene Clinical Director
McKenzie Management
 Dec. 10
 1 - 4
Using Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management
 Dec. 17
 9:00 - 4:30
How to Recover the Lost $$$$ in Your Practice Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
To Register 877-900-5775 or

For more information, email
or call 1-877-777-6151

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