Down the ‘Meet’ of the Issues Barrier
If you cringe at the thought of “wasting”
away valuable production hours stuck around a table pretending that
you’re holding a high level staff strategy session, then it
sounds like it’s time for you to get to the “meet”
of what makes the meeting a profit builder rather than loss leader.
input from each employee determine the specific areas each team
member is expected to report on at the meetings and what those reports
will involve. For starters, assess the current performance
of key systems, and
barriers that may be interfering with the ability of those
areas/systems to achieve their goals. Use the collective problem
solving skills of the group to develop strategies to address those
Be mindful of the meeting fundamentals to ensure team input and
keep the process running smoothly. Follow these 15 practical steps.
Develop an agenda with input from the entire team.
Distribute it in advance of the meeting.
Encourage team members to come prepared to discuss topics
on the agenda.
only what is on the agenda
a facilitator/leader, other than the doctor, to “guide”
the group in reaching consensus.
input from everyone.
questions such as, “How do you feel about this? What is
your reaction to that? As the patient, how would you react? What
are the advantages of this approach? What are the potential disadvantages?”
Delegate responsibility and establish deadlines
for completing tasks identified during the staff meetings.
Create an environment where team members listen objectively to
other’s comments and feel valued for their contributions
to the meetings.
Share ideas during staff meetings for improving the work
environment, the patient experience, and the efficiency
of the practice.
Determine how much time you will spend discussing each issue and
avoid getting bogged down on unrelated topics.
staff meetings off-site in a conference room with a conference
consensus from the staff as to the best time to hold staff
meetings; meetings scheduled outside normal work hours
should be paid.
Hold meetings at least once per month, more frequently if you
are implementing several changes.
Evaluate the quality of your planning meeting by answering the following
questions. Were the discussion topics known prior to the meeting?
Did co-workers have an opportunity to contribute to the meeting?
Was the meeting environment comfortable? Did the meeting start and
finish on time? Did everyone have a voice in the discussion? Did
anyone dominate the meeting? Were minutes distributed after the
meeting to document what was discussed? Were recommended actions
given deadlines for completion? Was each topic given adequate time?
Were there outside interruptions?
clear plan and solid focus will turn every meeting into positive
exchanges the entire team will not only participate in but will
genuinely look forward to.
you have any questions or comments, please email Sally McKenzie
in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club?
Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?
An Ailing Business Foundation Can Cause
VP Professional Relations
Computing - Part 8
More Patient WOW
Last week [see
article], we discussed exposing your patients to the “hidden
value” in breadth and scope of your diagnostic routine. This
week, I received an email from another practice management/technology
lecturer in England.
want to share what he said, give him proper credit, and explain
Mark, Here are a couple of our top wows
1. Every call the patient makes to the practice has notes recorded
about it in the same place. This way we can ensure information flow
between all team members so that no matter who answers the phone
you are informed about the patients situation. To the patient we
therefore appear not only in control but as though the person on
the phone is THE most important person to call that day.
Mark’s response ...
Fraser is explaining here are the benefits of the team being prepared
and on the “the same page” with each patient. Specifically,
he is using the patient note, contact processor, or contact notes
feature of his software. Different software vendors in the U.S.
have different names for basically the same feature. If you do not
currently store the results of these conversations – start
doing so immediately. One of the keys is to get everyone
to use it. The second key is getting everyone to “view”
the patient notes when the patient calls, before they arrive, before
they are seated, before they are examined, before they are treated,
and before they are called by your office.
2. Scanned documents - all incoming paper mail is scanned and
shredded. If a patient asks about anything relating to their specialist
while in the chair, two mouse clicks bring the relevant documents
up on screen.
This is the same concept as the patient notes. The key is centralized
(efficient) access to routinely viewed information. Rather than
typed notes from a conversation, document imaging allows
the user to “view” pieces of paper much like
viewing pieces of paper in a traditional paper chart. In the U.S.,
insurance cards, HIPAA releases, medical history forms, referring
provider reports, etc., are all wonderful examples of information
you would scan into your practice management software.
Thanks for the weekly articles, as someone who lectures on Dental
IT here it is always great to read your column and see how much
convergence there actually is between practices in our countries.
Thank you Fraser. Your email is a wonderful reality check for all
of our readers. Dentists all over the globe are just beginning to
tap the true potential of their technology. I am sure our readers
have gained confidence by reading your results.
Everyone…..stop by to see Sally and I at our booth
#5883 at the ADA!
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
Cat's Away & The Mouse Plays
Giving Dentists And Their Staff Different Perspectives On Day To
I bought this practice two years ago and was fortunate to find,
what I thought was a very good
loyal team. Unfortunately, I have found out to the contrary and
want some advice on what to do. You see, I went away for a week
to a continuing education course and I decided to keep the office
open with assigned tasks for my receptionist, hygienist and assistant
to do while I was gone. I guess it’s the old adage, ”While
the cat’s away…the mice will play.” Well it wasn’t
my entire team that decided to play but my receptionist. She left
early on two days (like 3 hours early) and didn’t come in
on Friday. Well, I assumed they were all here 40 hours that week
and paid them as usual. The assistant, hygienist and myself were
in the lab today and the hygienist happened to mention that maybe
all of the charts would have gotten purged if Mary had been there
the whole week. Well, I said “What?” and she proceeded
to tell me about her absenteeism. Well, now I feel betrayed. I feel
I can’t trust her and I know I have to confront her but I’m
not sure what to say. She has been a very good receptionist, i.e.,
keeping my schedule full and very valuable to business but what
do I do now?
Dr. Torn in Half
There are three key issues in this question. The first is stealing,
the second is doing the right thing, and the third is the parent-child
dynamic present in your dental office.
employee stole from you. This not only demonstrates a dishonest
personal value system, but it also betrays a sense of
disrespect for you as the employer, contempt for the other people
on the staff, and arrogance regarding her work obligations. I
will tell you that her corrupt personal value system and the accompanying
problems were present in the office long before you went away.
While you describe her as a “very good receptionist and
very valuable” I think it bears consideration that there
are things about her that you did not know or refused to acknowledge.
Perhaps you are not aware of your team’s personal dynamics
and perhaps you deliberately choose to ignore them. Regardless,
you are responsible to know your team. Any signs
of conflict, resentment, or jealousy are simply negative events
in the making for a bigger event.
Her arrogance is not only evident in that she takes off six hours
out of an 8 hour work day, but then she takes off a whole day.
I ask myself what does she think of you and the other
staff members that she can flagrantly do as she pleases.
And she does this in front of the staff. What is she thinking?
Does this bother you?
her mind, she has a very good reason for disrespecting you and
the other team members. However, she is probably not aware of
it. Therefore, asking why is a waste of time.
If she felt that she could steal from you and that there were
no repercussions or consequences, or that she knew the repercussions
and consequences and didn’t care, or she knew the repercussions
and consequences and wanted to test you, then this problem was
effectively just waiting to occur and had been
in the making for a long time.
Telling this woman that you are very disappointed in her and that
she violated your trust communicates nothing that she doesn’t
already know. She knows that she was stealing from you,
she knows that she violated your trust, and she must believe that
she has a good reason.
would also encourage you to look at your other employees. They
did the right thing and were not ashamed to stand up to her. They
defended your honor, and in defending your honor,
they brought a lot of heat down on themselves. In telling the
truth and confronting the problem, they were protecting you.
How do you feel about having the staff defend you?
It is likely that there has been an imbalance of personality and
job responsibility on your team for a long time. If you were not
aware of any anger, resentment, or jealousy then you missed
the telltale signs that something was wrong with your
It is important that you not let go of the situation and give
up control. You are the one person who can determine
exactly how it plays out. If you keep her employed, do not let
the staff fight it out. This decision or tactic just betrays the
fact that your team is a boat without a rudder.
It is essential that the consequence of her behavior be sufficient.
Deducting the day’s pay is simply taking back what was yours
to begin with. There is no punishment here. It is critical that
you voice your feelings accurately: you stole from me. Do not ask
why? The answer is of no consequence.
I will offer you that the seeds of this problem were around
long before you went away. Your absence was an opportunity
to vent some anger and resentment not only upon you but upon the
team, as well.
responsibility is to make clear what you expect in the form of behavior.
They may be technically proficient, but as a person, they are dishonest.
You have the power to keep her and accept responsibility for her
dishonesty, but why would you undermine the loyalty of your other
Finally, I want you to understand that her dishonesty is
negative energy, and if you tolerate the presence of her
negative energy, you will send a message to the rest of the team
that dishonesty and disrespect of the leader is acceptable. The
team will lose respect for you and you will have more problems in
By-the-way, I do not think the assistant who stole from you will
quit; she is a child and has been reprimanded and punished (sort
of) as expected. However, the greater danger is that you may lose
some of your other staff because of your lack of consistency, strength,
and integrity, at least in their eyes.
Want your issues answered? Ask the email@example.com.
miss The Coach’s workshops on November 8th, Taking
Your Practice Back – Leaderhip Development for Dentistry.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 1-877-900-5775
to know why your employees act and interact the way they do?
this book is for you!
Understanding How Personality Types Can Affect Practice Success
in dental offices are caused by a breakdown in communications
due to different personality styles. Understanding your employees'
personality traits can help to better match your staff with the
work they are likely to do best.
on the Myers Briggs Temperament Type, each job position in dentistry,
business, clinical and hygiene is discussed as to which personality
types are best suited to fill those positions. Dentists will learn
how their personality affects their ability to successfully manage
the business and its employees. Included is the book Please
Understand Me which provides the personality test and scoring
The Lost $$$
In Your Practice
and recover money that your practice is losing because of
operational ineffectiveness. Money, waiting to be found is
all around you. It’s in your hygiene department, at
your front desk, in your recall system, in your treatment
room and throughout other areas of your practice. You’ll
learn how to develop and implement a ‘results proven’
plan to improve your operations and prevent the problems from
OCT. 31, 2003
Call today to reserve for
this and any of our other
GOALS IN 2003?
us help you and your team establish an overall business plan
for the upcoming year. Achieve your goals with our two day
Team Building Retreat!
your time in La Jolla, we also encourage you and your team
to take advantage of some of La Jolla’s incredible activities:
golf, surfing, professional
sports, wine tasting, horseback riding and a whole lot more!!
I am sick of paying the bills. Every weekend I am working on checking
lab bills, dental supply invoices and it’s so time consuming.
I am thinking of delegating this to one of my two business employees.
What do you think?
I don’t think that’s a good idea and I would not recommend
it. I realize this is a time consuming procedure that has to be
done but it does not bring in business or generate revenue for your
practice. You want your business employee being proactive making,
for example, 5 to 10 calls a day on unscheduled treatment plans
or past due recall patients that brings in business, not paying
bills. We have also found that this confidential information becomes
a bit much for some employees to handle emotionally and sometimes
have not kept the information confidential. My advice is to get
an “outside” bookkeeping service, perhaps a referral
from your accountant to handle this for you.
you wondering if your hygiene department is producing what it could
Allan Monack's hygienist produces $1231 a day seeing
1 patient an hour with a
prophy fee of $70.
your hygienist producing?
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 email@example.com
or call: 877-777-6151
Center for Dental Career Development
Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street,
La Jolla, CA 92037