for Mediocrity or Pushing for Performance?
You can build a fantastic, state-of-the-art office.
You can offer the very best dentistry available. And you can WOW
your patients with so much amazing technology that your operatories
look like the inner workings of the space station, but if you don’t
have the team to back it all up...you have nothing!
ever there were a topic that could cause sleepless nights and angst
filled days, it’s s-t-a-f-f, the five-letter word that will
bursting with pride or clenching with aggravation.
Dealing day-to-day with employees who need direction, guidance,
and occasionally discipline is often a major challenge for even
the best practices. Let’s face it, dentistry is what the doctor
does best, and having to venture into what you perceive as messy
personnel matters likely feels more like a run with the Pamplona
bulls than a routine business task. Yet you rely on your employees
to keep your practice functioning smoothly. You want to trust that
they can and will operate in the best interests of the patients
and the business. All the more reason you need to look
carefully at your team and ask yourself if you really do have confidence
in them. Do they uphold the standard of excellence that you have
committed yourself to?
Or has your practice become the final resting place for
the ever-popular Matron of Mediocrity. She’s been
there a long time. She’s comfortable. She knows the routine.
She doesn’t go out of her way to impress you or the patients,
and she hasn’t had a performance review since … well
who can remember those things. While we’re on the topic of
average performance, Ms. Mediocrity probably isn’t alone.
She likely has a following. They are the Mediocre Minions. But here’s
the wake-up call, it’s not necessarily that they choose to
do a poor or average job, it’s more likely that they have
not been challenged to perform at their best.
easy to just shake your head and tell yourself “good help
just can’t be found,” but if you look closely, muscle
up a couple of key systems, you may just discover that you have
an excellent team just waiting to show you a thing or two. Most
employees sincerely want to perform well. They want to be challenged.
They want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Next week five steps to shape your perfect team.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing – Part 2
Last week, I discussed some realities and solutions of treatment
room (clinical) computing [see
article]. This week, I promised to discuss training
requirements, clinical database preparation, and the first stages
Chances are, your assistants, hygienists, and dentists are all excited
but quite possibly afraid of this transition. It is also reasonable
to assume that there would be varying degrees of fear among the
clinical team. You may have one clinical team member who loves the
idea of using the computer because they may be younger and have
been around computers their whole life. On the other hand, some
of us “not as young” people could be intimidated at
first. The answer here is training. My rule of thumb is
6 hours of training per clinical team member. So, if you
have a solo general practice with one assistant, one hygienist,
and one dentist – you will be best served by planning for
18 hours of professional training. If your team is larger, you “can”
consolidate some of those hours. I hesitate to say that (if you’ve
read my articles – you know why), but certainly I have seen
5 hours per person work out quite well with larger teams.
The training will no doubt begin with database preparation (see
below). After all, you can’t fly if you don’t have wheels,
wings, and a propeller on your plane. Once your trainer teaches
you database preparation, you need to all agree to a timetable
and individual assignments to get the database preparation
Once your trainer has shown you the database preparation, I recommend
practicing a “start to finish” new patient experience.
Many trainers use the trainee’s own record in the database
for practice. Your goal here is to recognize the “steps”
and “flow” of information entry. Everyone’s
hope is that you will begin to see a direct parallel between your
old paper chart and the way the information goes into your computer
Will you be ready to begin clinical computing on live patients the
next day? NO! You haven’t prepared your database yet.
Clinical database preparation
Database preparation in the clinical area can take as long, or longer,
than what it took to prepare the database to run your business.
Ninety percent of the database preparation revolves around the entry
of clinical notes (both restorative and soft tissue) For every ADA
code, you should have the opportunity to have one default clinical
note if not multiple choices. These all need to be typed
into the database BEFORE you go “live” with actual patients.
Once you get the hang of it, you will do a lot of “cutting
and pasting” to make the data entry more efficient. The other
10% of the database preparation will be centered around “personalizing”
each workstation for how the user (team member) likes to work. Another
area of setup will be centered around your exam sequence for both
new and established patients. Training your voice activation software
(if you have that feature) requires significant time during setup.
With voice activation, training the human who is going to use it,
isn’t the main issue. Voice recognition systems need the user
to speak into the system so it recognizes each individual’s
voice commands. In this case, you are actually “training the
computer”. It’s not hard but it does take time. And,
like so many other things in the technology world – the
more time you take to set it up properly, the more time it saves
you down the road.
Initial stages of implementation
The most successful transitions have invested the time to have “practice
day”. Practice day is a scheduled series of hours where the
whole team works on each other. Examinations are done, treatment
is planned, treatment is completed, notes are entered, financial
arrangements are made, next appointments are booked. The key here
is to practice, practice, practice. But, take the heat off of everyone
and practice on each other. The atmosphere will be a lot less stressful.
Actually, it can get quite fun! One added recommendation is to have
your trainer there with you on practice day. Yes, I know
it means having the trainer back into the office again. But, if
you adhere to the 5-6 hours of training per person rule –
your trainer will need to be there on multiple days anyway.
Next week I will discuss “Day One!” What to
expect, how to handle it, and some ways to accelerate your progress
through the transition.
you have any questions or comments, please email Mark Dilatush at
in having Mark speak to your dental society or study club?
Mark's Technology Workshop titled Using
Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues on Dec.
10th in La Jolla. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-877-900-5775
The Cold Shoulder
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
Artist verses the Businessman
week’s article addressed the attributes that I find so prevalent
in the field of dentistry when doing executive coaching. While
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 column continues with the attributes commonly
shared by dentists.
Eleven Attributes Dentists Share In Common ... continued
Cautious: people in the field of human services
are often very aware of the possible negative consequences of their
efforts and good intentions. It is this awareness of the negative
consequences that leads to a deliberate attempt at minimizing the
impact of illness and age. Their cautious nature helps them to move
slowly and deliberately toward the goal of relieving suffering through
an approach that is deliberately intended to permit the other people
involved in the process to gather their own information. Such deliberate
behavior permits them to feel good and responsible for the ultimate
success of their efforts.
Independence: many people attracted to this profession
are also committed to working independently and without the supervision
of others. This propensity to work without supervision is sometimes
a type of rebellion, however, from a positive perspective, it is
a reflection of confidence and competence in their abilities to
do good work without the oversight that is often necessary for people
of lesser ability and talent.
and Focus: the ladies and gentleman of the profession of
dentistry also possess an ability to see what they want from their
careers, their business, and their patients; however, even more
important, they make a substantial effort to understand and appreciate
what others want from them. Their ability to focus in on the problem
at hand and the ability to clarify the solutions, not only for their
clients, but also for the staff, helps to keep everyone engaged
in the process and feeling like a part of the solution.
Dignity: people who are drawn to dentistry understand
that they are tying their identity and their definition of themselves
and their purpose in life to their daily vocation. Who we are in
life is as much a reflection of what we believe as what we do. Committing
ourselves to a personal definition allows others to identify us
in a crowd. Many of the ladies and gentlemen I meet in dentistry
are often excessively proud of their association with other givers
of human services and exceptionally proud of their personal contribution.
this final attribute represents the integration of all the time,
effort, and personality that the professionals of dentistry take
upon themselves in their own self-interest and the interest of their
patients. They have successfully integrated their education with
their desire to express themselves to the world through their commitment
to business. A dentist’s integrity is perhaps the most complex
element of this list. Because integrity can be defined so differently
by so many people, it is often lost in the assessment of what really
matters. Dentists are people who serve others and direct every action
toward relieving someone else's suffering in the name of a greater
good. This greater good feels natural and provides direction for
their efforts. The integrity required to make such decisions often
ART OF COACHING is about helping clients to discover and
analyze these 11 essential traits in their life and work. Coaching
is about finding these natural attributes and raising them to a
level of awareness that allow the practitioner to feel good about
their decisions, their accomplishments, and their goals to date
and beyond. It may seem unrealistic to believe that there are people
who do not appreciate or recognize their natural talents, but the
truth remains that the people who require the services of coaching
the most are exactly those people who do not see their own value
and contribution to the larger picture of their life, their family,
their staff, and their patients.
is about helping to raise the awareness of the world around the
professional who finds themselves to be shut down and isolated from
the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from a career and life
well lived and freely expressed. Coaching is about teaching
a client to acknowledge the importance of their world, the contribution
they make to the world that they share with the rest of us.
Want your issues answered? Ask the email@example.com.
miss The Coach’s workshops on Oct. 8th, Office
Politics …The Enemy Within, on November 8th,
Your Practice Back – Leaderhip Development for Dentistry.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-877-900-5775
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