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  Sally McKenzie's
 Weekly Management e-Motivator
  11.28.03 Issue #92

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year … or Not

Sally Mckenzie, CMC
McKenzie Management

   The holidays bring with them the potential for teams to celebrate the close of what you expect (and hopefully know) will be a highly productive and profitable year. Ideally the team has been carefully monitoring the systems in the practice, has been modifying and adjusting along the way to address problems within the systems, and as the year comes to a close, the entire team knows exactly how much “celebrating” the practice can actually afford to enjoy this year. Meanwhile, the doctor has been showing his or her appreciation of the team

throughout the last 11 months. Unfortunately, as is often the case, the ideal and the reality are about as far apart as Southern California and the North Pole.

Typically, instead of visions of sugar plums dancing through the doctor’s head he or she is seeing red and it’s not that lovely poinsettia perched in the reception area. Not to sound like Scrooge himself, but too often the holiday season is synonymous with stress for a number of reasons. Compounding the worry of “how’s the practice going to finish the year,” doctors are lucky to get one solid work week out of the staff from mid November until after the New Year. Patients are canceling or not showing for appointments because they would rather spend that money on gifts than dental work.

And many doctors feel pressured to deliver with no less than a spectacular bang a year’s worth of thanks and gratitude to the team in the form of one whopping big bash, cash bonuses, and/or expensive gifts, I’ll reward all ‘my ladies’ with diamond necklaces. They’re women and every woman loves a diamond –right? They will instantly know how much I appreciate them, and they won’t think a thing about working through the lunch hours when we need to.” Yeah, right, too much eggnog for you, doctor!

Indeed, often doctors use this season of giving in a desperate attempt to make up for the long days, 15-minute lunches, lack of direction, and near total absence of team appreciation that is SOP the rest of the year.

So, it’s quite a shock when those fancy holiday “rewards” are handed out to employees and the response is an ice cold winter wind blowing through. Don’t they realize you had to stay up pretty late to catch the QVC diamond dazzler special, just so you could purchase 10 of the exact same necklace for every one of the “ladies.” Then you put each in an individual, little holiday gift bag and actually included tissue paper this year!

Now why in the world wouldn’t Tammy, who enjoys field hockey and Monday night football, appreciate that little bauble? After all it’s pretty likely she doesn’t own one. Or how about Jackie who is a single mom and is struggling to make ends meet, gee why do you think she didn’t look impressed by the sparkler?

Next week, giving the Perfect Holiday Gift and avoiding the Holiday “Chill.”

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 13
More Patient WOW

Last week [see article],I discussed two commitments to our patients when you implement computer systems into the treatment rooms. This week, I am going to continue by examining the process involved with referral relationships.

A patient of ours should expect us to coordinate treatment professionally and efficiently (electronically) with those to whom we refer.

We have general dentists and specialists reading our columns each week. This specific patient commitment will have two separate explanations – one for the general office and one for the specialist office.

A general practitioner can refer patients to one or more specialists. There are two key areas of improvement (benefit) when you use your computer system properly to co-manage patient treatment. They are business efficiency and clinical efficiency. From the business perspective, you definitely want to store who you referred this patient to and when you expect them to return to your practice. Someone (most likely the scheduling coordinator) would be responsible for monitoring the “expected back” report on a weekly basis. The follow up is simple. Call the business administrator at the specialist office and inquire on the status of the patient’s treatment IF you don’t already know. You can call, call and email, or just email your inquiry to the specialist office. As referral reports arrive in the mail (or electronically) from your specialists, simply scan them (or attach them) into the patient’s record. Most of those referral reports contain the status of the patient’s progress in their office and offer an explanation as to the patient’s expected return to your office.

From a clinical standpoint (in a general office), if you have a digital chart, digital camera images, and digital x-rays of your patients, assembling them in Word document or PowerPoint and emailing them to the specialist should only take a minute or two. It is the same process we discussed last week when we talked about sending digital treatment plans to a patient’s spouse. If more than one specialist is involved with this patient’s treatment, the email should be copied to all doctors involved. Make sure you have a signed copy of a records release form in the patient’s record before you send the information along to the specialists. A general dentist should be storing pertinent notes from their telephone conversations with specialists. Why? Because your business team can look to see the latest plans you have for this patient before deciding to follow up with the patient if they are overdue to return to the office.

A specialist should be very interested in exploiting the power within their technology platform. Electronically receiving patient information and electronically submitting your status reports will save the general office a TON of time. Business administrators in general offices absolutely love to have their job made easier and more efficient. Hmmm, can you guess where I’m going with this?

At the business desk of a specialty office, electronically confirming receipt of a referred patient takes seconds. Notifying the general practice that the patient KEPT their appointment takes seconds. Notifying the general dentist that you want to discuss a particular clinical issue in regard to treating this patient takes seconds. You can even include an image or x-ray with the electronic communication and “point to” or “circle” a specific area of concern on the image. The specialist should be entering pertinent notes from consultation conversations with the general dentist into the computer system. Why? Your business team will have an up to date record on the timing of their follow up with the patient.

In the treatment room of a specialty office, it should be general rule to send pre-op and post-op images and x-rays to the general dentist after treatment is completed. Once treatment is completed, the specialist office should also send a document or email stating the patient’s work in your office is complete and you are referring the patient back to the general dentist.

Progressive specialists that have embraced technology have created electronic communities out of their referring general dentists. I have recommended to several specialists around the country that they get to know their referring general dentists technology platform, their capabilities, and their shortcomings. Many of those specialists have provided the internet connections, bandwidth, and learning necessary for their general practices to directly communicate with the specialist office.

Who do you think gets all the referrals in town?

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

Continuing with last week’s column directed to the employee, this week I will comment on feeling important and trusting others with whom you work.

A review of several points from last week:

  1. Business owners have certain inalienable rights.
  2. Business owners can tell people the truth and tell people what they want.
  3. Business owners will hire staff within their own model of inadequacy and negativity.
  4. Business owners contribute their own brand of pain and disappointment by handpicking their staff.
  5. Business owners create the chronic office culture of chaos, emotional abuse, and financial catastrophe.

To those staffers who do not want to be part of the negativity or participate in the drama of office politics but would rather find the harmony and tranquility of the moral and ethical high road of the daily work routine, I offer you the following observations.

It is a universal feeling that our presence anywhere we choose to go be acknowledged, respected, and accepted as part of the daily office effort for success. This is called “Self-Esteem”. The feeling of being important and significant is another example of the two-way street in human relations. The owner of the business must in some way acknowledge your job description, the importance that you carry out your job description, and provide you with the feedback when you are successful or unsuccessful at fulfilling your job description.

The staff member is challenged with coming to work everyday with a sense of importance and purpose and a commitment to carry out their job description. This commitment has nothing to do with the owner of the business. In other words, every staff member is charged with coming to their daily work with the attitude and the spirit that goes with the sentiment of being happily employed and a member of a winning team.

In summary, your importance in the office must reflect acknowledgment by the owner of the business and your ability to show up for work committed to the overriding goal of the day. If the energy from the business owner is not forthcoming or if you do not come to work sincerely prepared, then your perception of your importance as well as the perception by others of your importance will be sufficiently contaminated and placed in doubt. This doubt will erode every interaction during the daily office routine.

It is reasonable to ask am I taken seriously enough such that I am trusted to perform my duties, and furthermore do I trust that others will perform their responsibilities just as successfully. The concept of trust is something that you bring to work everyday. It really has nothing to do with where you work and with whom.

Trust is a feeling that we all are supposed to receive as a result of our childhood upbringing and this feeling that we carry into adulthood permits us to not only offer other people a guarantee that we will fulfill our commitment, but also provides for that initial assumption that they to will fulfill their commitment.

The ability to trust is the ability to give this initialed freedom to the other person in order to demonstrate their true intentions. This can be applied to all of your staff members, team members as well as to the owner of the business. However, once that initial sense of trust is betrayed, then we are obliged to take appropriate action in order to protect our interests. If the owner of the business does not keep his promise today, then it is reasonable to assume that he or she will not keep their promise tomorrow or the next time it is convenient. Should a staff person remain in a position with such a business owner, they can only expect to be disappointed in the future, because their initial trust was abused.

The same can be said for the business owner. He or she will trust that a staffer has told the truth on their resume, that they can do their job, and that they will continue to perform their job until such time as some impediment occurs. At such a time that an impediment occurs which might impede that trust, it is understood and assumed that the staffer will let the owner of the business know that there has been a change in the relationship.

The most important element about trust is that it is something that we all bring to the office on the first day of work. It is a feeling that we either have on the first day of work or we do not. Yes, there are varying degrees of trust, but the truth remains that it is more like an on-off switch. If we have trust, then we will give other team members as well as our boss the benefit of the doubt; and, if we lose our trust, and remain in our position, then we will begin our relationship with the owner and the other team members with negativity, insecurity, bouts of anger and rage, a sense of resentment, frustration, and a background fear that we will be hurt. This environment will simply ruin that day and everyday thereafter.

Thus, trust is something that we bring to work with us initially, and we are charged with the responsibility to maintain that trust with the people that we work with. Maintaining trust is most easily accomplished by communicating one’s genuine and authentic thoughts and feelings regarding any particular issue at hand.

All great teams are marked by the freedom to express themselves in a manner that is appropriate and effective. Good communication is about no partial truths or hidden agendas. When straight forward feelings are expressed and when people are held to their publicly stated commitments, then the element of trust can be easily maintained throughout any relationship, work or personal.

In summary, you must be free to express yourself and you must be held to your public declaration of commitment in order to maintain a trusting work or personal relationship.

Next week, I will continue with this political self-assessment.

Regards, Coach

Want your issues answered? Ask the

Don’t miss The Coach’s workshops on Dec 6th, Office Politics ... The Enemy Within. For more information email or call 1-877-900-5775

If You're Not Satisfied with Your Practice's Performance …
Why Not?
9 out of 10 practices have staff turnover every 15 months.
76% of dental practices have hygiene departments producing less than 33% of practice production.
85% of dental practices grow less than 10% a year.
72% of practices' employee costs are more than 25% of revenues.
Only 18 Performing Days Left to
Reach Your
Year End Goal
What are you waiting for?
Take a Closer Look Here

Not The
Same Old
Fruit Cake ...

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 $37

THE CLOCK IS TICKING and time is running out on 2003. You’ve seen your practice’s preliminary year-end numbers and are kicking yourself because you knew you should have done something, anything MONTHS AGO.

What’s worse, your accountant is telling you the TAX MAN will be at your door expecting a sizeable chunk of YOUR INCOME unless you take action before the bell tolls Midnight on December 31.

RELAX! Within just a few days McKenzie Management will turn your PANIC to PROFIT. But don’t put this off another second! December is filling up quickly with practices just like yours that have waited until the bitter end to TAKE ACTION.

McKenzie Management, Inc.
737 Pearl Street
Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

GOALS IN 2003?

Let 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!

During 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!!


To obtain more information about the Team Retreats, please call:
or email us

Dr. Allan Monack,
Hygiene Clinical Consultant for
McKenzie Management,
develop a profitable
Hygiene Department

To find out more about the
Hygiene Clinical
Enrichment Program
[go here]
or contact us at:
or call:

  Office Managers
  Financial Coordinators
  Scheduling Coordinators
  Treatment Coordinators
  Hygiene Coordinators
For a FREE Educational Video
The Center for Dental Career Development
Advanced Business Education for Dental Professionals
737 Pearl Street, Suite 201
La Jolla, CA 92037

Missed Past Issues of Our e-Motivator Newsletter?

This issue is sponsored
in part by:
The Center for Dental Career Development
San Diego Workshop Series
Fall/Winter Schedule
 Date Seminar Instructor(s)  
 Dec. 5
 9:00 - 4:00
How to Become an EXCEPTIONAL Front Office Dental Employee Sally McKenzie, CMC.
Belle DuCharme, RDA CDPMA
 Dec. 6
 9:00 - 4:00
Office Politics ... The Enemy Within    
 Dec. 10
 1 - 4pm
Using Your Practice Management Software to Drive Revenues Mark Dilatush
VP Professional Relations
McKenzie Management
 Dec. 17
 9:00 - 4:00
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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