How To Build a Successful Dental Practice

How-to-Build-a-Successful-Dental-Practice

Why I’m Excited About Dental Intel’s New Morning Huddle

Why I'm Excited About Dental Intel's New Morning Huddle

Are you making the most of your morning huddles?

Dental Intelligence is the smartest software ever built for dentists. Their innovative technology helps dentists keep on top of tracking, analyzing, and growing their dental practices.

Dental Intel has recently launched a new Morning Huddle software that helps practice’s make the most of their morning huddles. The morning huddle is arguably the most important time of your day because it gives the entire team the opportunity to come together, review targets, celebrate victories, track progress, and so much more.

I was so excited when I found out about Dental Intel’s Morning Huddle that I couldn’t wait to invite my good friend, Jarom Dastrup, onto the podcast to talk about this amazing new software feature in more detail.

Why I'm Excited About Dental Intel's New Morning Huddle

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What a traditional ‘morning huddle’ usually looks like
  • Why your practice needs to start every day with a morning huddle
  • How morning huddles can help you reverse engineer success
  • How Dental Intel’s new Morning Huddle software works
  • The importance of having a morning huddle
  • New features included with Dental Intel’s Morning Huddle software update
  • How Morning Huddle can help your practice drive more revenue

Want to find out more about Morning Huddle and how to make your next morning huddle a complete success?

Download Dental Intel’s e-book – a 30-page document that explains everything you need to know about morning huddles, including why they’re so important and how to structure a morning huddle for maximum impact.

 

How to Lead Your Practice During Challenging Times

In dentistry, it’s not a matter of if challenges will arise. It’s a matter of when those challenges will arise and what the nature of those challenges will be. They can be practice specific, due to a local event or health problem with yourself or a key team member. Or, they can be broader, like the Covid-19 pandemic that started in late 2019.
Challenges test our practice and leadership strength. If our practices are sound, we will be better prepared to navigate the challenging times. If our leadership is strong, we will be much better positioned to support our teams and maintain a healthy practice.

But none of it is easy. And some of it is out of our control. No matter what, the way we respond to the challenge will go a long way to determining how it works out for our practice, our team members, and ourselves in the end.

Here is how you can rise to the occasion, to lead your practice with strength, even in the most challenging times.

1. Stay true to who you are.

The first steps to building a WOW practice include setting a vision for your practice and determining your practice culture and values. During challenging times, it is even more important to lean into your vision, culture, and core values. Use those as a filter through which you make decisions. If you need to make cuts to save the practice, how can you do that in a way that stays true to your culture and core values? How would you deliver the message?

Difficult decisions and conversations often must be made. Make those decisions consistent with your vision, culture, and core values but within the context of your circumstances. That will help you make better decisions and conduct any challenging conversations with the right heart.

2. Focus on relationships, not transactions.

Any crisis will make people worry about their jobs, especially one that reaches far and wide, like the Covid-19 pandemic. That does not only include your team members. It also includes your patients. Be sensitive to the reality of the world around you, and focus on building deeper relationships with the people who matter most to your practice—your team members and your patients.

With the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily closing many dental practices for non-emergencies, you have an opportunity to build deeper relationships with the people who matter most to your practice. This can take several forms, including having team members reach out to patients to check in on how they are doing without any attempt to schedule an appointment. Let them know you care about them and wanted to call and see how they were doing. They will appreciate the outreach and see you for who you really are: a caring group of neighbors.

If you can perform emergency procedures, let them know that, while you are closed for non-emergencies, you are here for them if they need urgent care. It will help put their mind at ease that while you are closing for the greater good of the community, you are not abandoning them. If you are looking for solutions for virtual consults, have a listen to this interview about how virtual consults work.

Also, let your team members know how much you appreciate them and keep them informed with the reality of the challenge. Be open and transparent about the reality and, if you need to let people go, help them apply for available benefits. You can even reach out to them to keep them updated on when the practice might be in a position to hire them back. Here is where you can learn more about Employment Considerations in Uncertain Times.

Investing in treating the most important people to your practice well—and not just focusing on patient or employment transactions—will pay dividends for years to come.

 

3. Look for opportunities.

In every challenging time, there will be opportunities. There will be opportunities to help. There will be opportunities to limit the downsides. And there even will be opportunities to thrive.

What opportunities do you see around you? Could you invest in training for your hygienists? What about your front office team? Could you invest in putting new systems or processes in place? What about putting together a social media strategy for your dental practice or building dental marketing funnels for when things pick up. Zoom is a great resource for having virtual meetings with your team to work on the business.

Can you start a Facebook group for local dental professionals navigating the challenge? You could rise to a community leader and even find high-performers to hire for your practice when things turn around. Whether it’s internally or externally focused, in any challenge, you will find opportunities to come out on the other side of the challenge stronger.

Delivering WOW is here to help train your teams during this time and is providing FREE Training for the next 4 weeks through our Delivering WOW Platinum online training portal. (Use the code FIGHTCOVID) to get started. We will also be hosting a Facebook Live 12 Day Summit on the Delivering WOW Facebook Page starting Monday, March 23rd.

 

4. Focus on the present, not the past or even the future.

When challenges arise, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut focusing on things of the past or stressing about an uncertain future. The strongest leaders, however, focus on the present. If your systems weren’t strong, put new ones in place. If your team training was lacking, start training your team. Stressing about what put your practice in the condition it is today is natural, but it won’t help you come out any stronger.

The same is true about the future. An unlimited number of variables will impact the future, and there’s no way to predict exactly what it will look like. And when you’re in the midst of a challenging time, it’s hard to see a positive future ahead. But we have gone through crises before, and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the tunnel is longer than we expect. Sometimes it is shorter. But the tunnel will end, and the future will be better and brighter if you focus on making the best decisions in the present.

 

5. Decide who you want to become, and begin working toward making that a reality.

What type of leader do you wish you had during times of crisis? What type of leader do you think your team members need? Visualize that leader, and work toward becoming that leader.

Crises give us an opportunity to rise to the occasion and become the leader we were meant to be. It happens with every crisis. Someone rises to the occasion and shows grit, resiliency, and determination they didn’t even know they had inside them. You can be that leader, rising to the occasion to lead your team like never before.

6. Focus on what you can control.

You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control your responses. Even in good times, life is unpredictable. And in challenging times, there will be many more things that are out of your control than are in your control.

But at all times, there will be one thing you can control: your response. Your results will be determined by how you respond to the events around you.
When times get tough and the stress levels rise, ask yourself what part of your circumstances you can control. Then make the best decisions possible about what you can control, and you will make the best out of any situation.

7. Be creative and resourceful.

It can be very hard, especially for those of us who are used to a routine but, in challenging times, the most creative and resourceful leaders will come out strongest. Encourage your team members to do the same.

This could be as simple as looking for alternatives to in-demand items before you need them. Be ready to order those alternatives because those might be in short supply down the road. Resourcefulness is a skill that will come in handy for a long time.

8. Express gratitude daily.

No matter how bad things get, there will always be room for gratitude. Every day, wake up and name three things you’re grateful for, even if it’s just clean linens, hot coffee, and fresh air to breathe. When things get stressful, take a moment to repeat the exercise. Look for things to be grateful for in everything you do.
Gratitude is powerful. It puts things in perspective. It helps us focus on what matters most in life. It often makes us realize that, no matter what happens with our practices, we have what matters most in life and will be okay in the long term.

9. Stay connected with other leaders.

In times of crisis—especially world-wide ones like the Covid-19 pandemic—the collective wisdom of those around you will help get through it.
Join Facebook groups like the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout. Follow the guidance of local or national dental associations, like the ADA, which issued important guidance about performing emergency and nonemergency dental care during the coronavirus pandemic.

The other leaders will help share vital information about resources, restrictions, and decisions they’re making. They will also be shoulders to lean on to help you more confidently lead your team well.

You have what it takes to lead your team through challenging times.

If there’s one thing that’s true about dental professionals everywhere, it’s that we all have the ability to lead our teams well, even during times of crisis.
We have a strong work ethic. Otherwise, we would not have made it through our education and training. We have strong decision-making skills. Without them, we would not be able to help patients make the best decisions for their health. And we have strong interpersonal skills. Otherwise, we would not survive in such a high-touch industry like dentistry.

And in times of crisis, we have an opportunity to demonstrate the best of our abilities and lead our teams better than we ever have before. You have what it takes. If you need help, join me and thousands of other dental professionals in my FREE Facebook group, the Delivering WOW Dental Hangout. We’re here to support you.

Delivering WOW is here to help train your teams during this time and is providing FREE Training for the next 4 weeks through our Delivering WOW Platinum online training portal. (Use the code FIGHTCOVID) to get started. We will also be hosting a Facebook Live 12 Day Summit on the Delivering WOW Facebook Page starting Monday, March 23rd.

2 Skills Every Office Manager Needs to Become a Strong Leader

Some dentists run the practice themselves and play the role of a practicing dentist as well as an office manager. That can be a tough road to go down, and we always recommend delegating more. But whether you hire an office manager to delegate the busy role of managing an office or if you want to take on that role yourself, managing is a journey, a learning process, and you need to be a learning organization.

No matter what, you need to trust your office manager because they’re the backbone of every practice. Without strong leadership skills, they will hold your entire practice back. With strong leadership skills, they can help your entire team become more productive. Here are two things you can do to help your office manager become a strong leader.

1. Help them develop an adaptable leadership style.

 

2 Skills Every Office Manager Needs to Become a Strong Leader

 

It would be helpful if one leadership style could resonate with every team member. However, the reality is we have many team members with different personalities and responsibilities working with us. Strong leaders recognize the differences between our team members. Then, they adapt how they engage with each of them to ensure every team member can succeed.

For example, some team members will be more receptive to constructive criticism than others. They might even prefer you don’t sugarcoat criticism—just tell them what they did wrong or what they need to improve. Others might need encouragement when you deliver constructive criticism. Neither personality style is better than the other; they’re just different. In fact, many leaders struggle more with team members who prefer straight-talk constructive criticism because it feels unnatural to deliver criticism without encouragement. However, the best leaders understand the differences among team members and adapt their leadership style to help each team member do their best work.

Adaptive leadership style doesn’t only apply to how you talk with your team members, though. It also applies to the systems, policies, and activities you put in place in your practice. For example, if you lead a book club at your office, might allow people to choose audiobook versions if they don’t learn well with e-books. Or, you might invest in specific tools or technology that might help a team member perform, such as providing a sit-to-stand desk option for team members.

Adaptive leadership is sometimes a learned skill. The best leaders develop the muscle to identify each team member’s uniqueness and quickly adapt to it while staying consistent with office goals and culture.

2. Empower them to be transparent with team members.

 

2 Skills Every Office Manager Needs to Become a Strong Leader

 

Transparency is a tricky topic with dental teams. Some people falsely believe being transparent means you need to tell every team member how much money you make. Others falsely believe being transparent means letting every team member know intimate details of your personal life.

The truth is, transparency is really just about being openly human. For example, we all make mistakes. We have all made mistakes in our past. And we all have fears, insecurities, and challenges. Leaders who pretend they don’t will never build the trust necessary with team members to get them to perform their best. 

When someone messes up in your practice, how leaders respond provides a tremendous opportunity to build trust with team members. Respond with healthy transparency and you will build trust. To do so, pause to consider the situation before responding. Quickly consider whether you’ve made a similar mistake when you were in a similar position. How did your supervisor respond? How did it make you feel? With this employee, was it the first time they made this mistake or have they made it over and over again?

If the team member isn’t a habitual underperformer, consider sharing a time you made similar mistake and what you did to remedy it. Then talk with them about what they can do to improve. It might sound like, “I once did something similar and had to stay all night redoing everything. It happens. Here’s what we need to do to fix it this time and what I suggest doing to avoid it in the future.” Sharing your past mistake provides trust-building transparency and positions you as an empathetic leader. Your team members will be much more likely to perform.

Does your office manager have these two leadership skills?

 

2 Skills Every Office Manager Needs to Become a Strong Leader

 

With transparency and an adaptive leadership style, your office manager will be well on the way to helping your practice achieve its full potential.

If you want help training your office manager to become the best leader they can be, sign up for the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you can get coaching from me other top experts in the dental industry.

How to Set Expectations in Your Practice

We’re dentists. Many of us are also perfectionists. It’s not our fault. We’re trained to be perfect with our clinical care in dental school. But many of us expect perfection in all parts of our practice. That makes us do too much work ourselves, fearing we need to do things to ensure they get done right. That’s why implementing systems and processes is so important. It’s the best way to make consistent performance easy.

To put systems and processes in place that get followed, we need to set the right expectations throughout our practice. We need to set expectations of our team members. And we need to set the right expectations that our team members can have for us. That way, everyone on the team can trust that they have the best tools and support to serve our patients well. And when we set the right expectations, everyone on your team will be motivated to perform, have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them, and have the tools to do their best work. Here’s how to set the right expectations in your practice.

Anticipate Setbacks and Failures

 

How to Set Expectations in Your Practice

 

As powerful as it can be to set clear expectations and put systems and processes in place to support every team member, growing a dental practice is anything but linear. You are going to have setbacks no matter how well you plan or clear your expectations are. Getting into the right mindset is critical to pushing through those setbacks and failures and continue on your growth plan. Otherwise, you run the risk of people abandoning an amazing growth plan because they believe a setback or failure along the way means it was not the right plan.

When things don’t go as anticipated, be resilient—for yourself and your team. Team members will mess up. Systems and processes will be improved. And unexpected setbacks will happen that will be out of your control.

Be there for your team during those times because that time is when they need you the most. Don’t make your team members feel bad when they mess up. If someone is consistently not meeting expectations, address it with them or let them go. But nobody will be perfect so we can’t expect perfection.

Set Data-Driven Expectations in Real Time

 

How to Set Expectations in Your Practice

 

You can make your expectations more attainable and more realistic if you set them up in real time with data to support them. For example, it might be too ambitious to say you want to have a 15% increase in case acceptance within the next month, especially without guidance from experts in case acceptance, like Dr. Paul Homoly, our Delivering WOW Platinum Case Acceptance Coach.

But you could set a realistic expectation to increase case acceptance within a week. At the end of the week, measure what your increase was and set expectations for further increases based on your actual data. If you see a 2% increase in case acceptance after that week, you can set a more realistic expectation. Maybe an 8% increase in case acceptance within the next month. Or, maybe you see an opportunity for improvement and invest in getting expert help for an even larger gain. The expert can share their experience and guidance for improvement and help set expectations based on data from their experience with other practices.

Either way, data-based expectations in real time help ensure you set appropriate targets and position everyone on your team to succeed.

Avoid Projecting Expectations about Your Performance onto Your Team Members

 

How to Set Expectations in Your Practice

 

Many dentists have the expectation that their staff should be performing at the same intensity that they are. While your staff may be connected to your vision, they won’t always be as emotionally connected as you are. You can’t expect them to care as much about the goals you have for your practice as you do.

We can reduce this by tying your practice vision into their personal goals and dreams. But it can take some time to get complete buy-in. And, even then, not every person can have the same intensity and emotional connection to your practice as you. If you expect everyone to be as intense and invested as you are, you will get frustrated a lot.

You can also make sure to connect with your team members on a personal level. If you care about them and helping them achieve their personal goals, they’ll start to feel the same way about you and your practice vision. They’ll be much more invested in helping you achieve your practice vision because of their personal relationship with you and the connection between their personal goals and your practice vision.

Are You Setting the Right Expectations?

If you’re not setting the right expectations in your practice—for you and your team—your practice will never achieve its full potential. By expecting setbacks, setting real-time data-driven expectations, and avoiding projecting expectations about you onto your team members, however, you can build an amazing team and achieve incredible things together.

If you want more help setting expectations in your practice, join the Delivering WOW Platinum Coaching Program where you and your team can get expert guidance from our resident Mindset Coach, Dr. Shakila Angadi.

You can also join thousands of other dentists helping each other in my Free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook Group!

3 Signs Your Team Members Have Become Leaders

Running a practice can take a large amount of work and create a lot of stress when you can’t rely on your team members to perform on their own. There’s always something to do, so when you feel like you are the only person who can do things well, you will never experience true freedom.

When we train our team members to become true leaders, a lot of the burdens on practice leaders disappear. That is why so many practices are investing in coaching or training for their team members—such as the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

Here are three signs that your investment in your team members is building them into true leaders.

1. Your team members are communicating clearly with each other.

 

3 Signs Your Team Members Have Become Leaders

 

Leaders know the way to evaluate effective communication is through the responses they get. If the responses match expectations, the communication was clear. If the response is not what you intended, chances are you were not clear in your communication.

A good leader knows this and does not get frustrated when people do not respond the right way—especially when more than one person misinterprets the leader’s words. Instead, they seek to communicate more clearly.

If your team is communicating clearly with each other and consistently working on improving communication, chances are your team members are becoming true leaders.

2. Your team members control their emotions and do not take things personally.

 

3 Signs Your Team Members Have Become Leaders

 

Leaders know how to control their own emotions and not take constructive criticism personally. Dental practices can be emotional places. Many patients are anxious at dental practices. Additionally, patients can easily become confused about out-of-pocket costs for procedures, especially with insurance practices. When emotions get high, leaders remain calm.

Leaders are also able to manage their own emotions. They recognize when they begin to get frustrated. They take a walk, breathe, pause, and do whatever else they need to stay in control. Leaders manage their emotions for the good of the practice.

3. Your team members overcome adversity to complete difficult tasks.

 

3 Signs Your Team Members Have Become Leaders

 

One of the telltale signs of a true leader is their ability to overcome adversity. It takes humility, the willingness to make mistakes, and the tenacity to push through challenges to become successful. Only developed leaders will truly have this ability.

When times get tough, leaders dig in and push forward. When something doesn’t go well, they learn from mistakes and try again. This trait does not always come naturally, but it will come out as team members grow into leaders.

Are your team members developing into leaders?

These three traits are common signs that your team members are developing into leaders. When you build a team of leaders, everyone wins. Negativity will go down. Team members will identify and improve systems and processes. They will delegate to each other and step up to support each other when needed. Best of all, they will take much of the work—and stress—of running a dental practice off the doctor’s shoulders.

If you ever want to build a practice that gives you true time and financial freedom, it is critical that you get out of the “I’ll just do it myself” mindset and invest in building a team of leaders to support you.

Having leaders on our team can make our jobs as owners so much easier and can build the strength of the entire team. A good leader lifts everyone with them and guides the team forward to a brighter future. Use these signs to evaluate your current staff members and maybe even to evaluate yourself. You may be surprised by what you find.

If you want help developing leaders within your team, our team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program can help. Not only will we share tools, trainings, and resources, but we can also train your team members directly and hold them accountable.

You can also join thousands of other dentists helping each other in my Free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook Group!

Why Every Dental Practice Needs to Hold Regular Leadership Team Meetings

Company meetings have earned an undeserved bad reputation. Unorganized or poorly run meetings might be a waste of time. But well-run meetings are one of the best investments you can make in your practice.

If you have not held leadership team meetings in your practice, consider holding them moving forward. Start this week. Here are just some of the reasons holding regular face-to-face meetings with your leadership team is so important.

Everyone stays accountable.

 

Why Every Dental Practice Needs to Hold Regular Leadership Team Meetings

 

Meeting face to face sets and reinforces key deadlines. We recommend you hold weekly team meetings. During your meeting, each leadership team member should be asked to give an update on their progress with key initiatives. Knowing they will need to provide an update in front of colleagues motivates people to take action each and every week.

This means everyone on your team—including you—will be much more focused on making consistent progress on key tasks.

Everyone gets help.

Meeting on a regular basis makes work much easier on everyone in your practice. Small issues get resolved before they become big. Inefficiencies get identified and fixed. Resources get distributed to where they are most needed at the time. Any big issues that arise get broken down into smaller chunks to make weekly progress achievable.

You set priorities for your practice.

 

Why Every Dental Practice Needs to Hold Regular Leadership Team Meetings

 

Regular leadership team meetings allow you and your leadership team to prioritize tasks. This is especially true when you create a scorecard to identify and track the most important numbers in your practice.

During your meeting, you and your team can identify where you make the most impact that week. Do you need to focus on production per visit? Do you need to reduce accounts receivable over 30 days? Do you need to get inactive patients rescheduled?

As your practice grows, your priorities will shift.

Regular leadership team meetings help you keep more control over the direction of your practice as things change.

You improve communication in your practice.

Having regular meetings ensures each team leader is communicating with his or her team on a regular basis. To keep momentum moving forward, they will need to work closely with their team members. They will need to discuss priorities with their team members. They will need to identify and resolve issues with their team members.

Additionally, each leader will need to report back to the group. They will need to get information from their team members. All of those conversations lead to more open communication in your practice. In fact, many issues will get solved between meetings because of the natural improvement in communication.

You keep your practice culture and vision top of mind.

 

Why Every Dental Practice Needs to Hold Regular Leadership Team Meetings

 

We are busy. Our team leaders get busy. Our team members are busy. If we are not intentional about keeping our practice culture and vision top of mind, it is easy for things to slip. In extreme cases, weeks or months could go by without improving culture or moving closer to our vision.

Regular leadership meetings give us an opportunity to make sure we maintain the practice culture we desire. They help us build momentum toward the practice vision we set.

For example, during your meetings, you can set aside time to discuss opportunities to improve culture. You can evaluate whether the progress you are making is leading you closer to your practice vision. You can identify new projects or events you can do to keep moving toward your vision. You can address any issues that are inconsistent with your desired practice culture. You can openly ask questions to your team about how to solve issues in a way that is consistent with your culture and practice vision.

You can become very intentional about using your desired culture and vision as a filter for ideas or challenges. Otherwise, you could find yourself making progress but abandoning the culture you want to build. You could find yourself “succeeding” with practice growth strategies but not in the direction you envision for your practice.

Progress is important, but progress in the right direction is the goal.

Schedule a recurring leadership team meeting today.

If you have not set a time to meet with your leadership team, set a time today. We suggest setting aside ninety minutes for each meeting and using this team meeting agenda to keep your meeting focused. In a focused ninety minutes, you can give each team member time to update the group on progress, identify and solve issues, set to-do items, and more.

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

If you want to learn how you can get my support for 21 days to help you increase the productivity of your team and your practice…find out more here.

How to Keep Your Dental Practice from Ruining Your Personal Life

Running a dental practice can be challenging, demanding, and stressful. On top of providing quality dental care to patients, you need to operate a full business, build and lead a team, manage costs, oversee marketing, deal with insurance companies and regulators, and more. As if that weren’t enough, many dentists also carry hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) between personal student loans and practice debt. It's no wonder so many dentists are stressed and end up burning out. With all those pressures, the simplest decision is to just work more, put more on your plate, and struggle for a decade or more until the practice debt and student loans are paid off, hoping you'll have your practice under control by then and your finances will ease up.

Unfortunately, even if you'd get more control of your practice by then, many dentists never experience an easing of their finances, as practice debt and student loans are often replaced with other obligations like house payments, their children’s college tuition, and retirement planning and saving.

When that happens, dentists end up ten, twenty, thirty, or more years out of dental school having spent the best years of their lives working harder than they ever wanted, making less than they expected, and missing out on important personal and family events like vacations and school activities.

That was almost me. A few years ago, before I hired a business coach and built my Delivering WOW practice, I was working so hard I started missing important family events, was spending no time with friends, and was doing little for myself. I was unbalanced and stressed. My practice took all my best time and energy and it wasn’t getting better. After hiring my coach and beginning to look at my practice differently, I started taking more control of my practice and putting things in place to keep my practice from ruining my personal life.

Here are three things you can do to keep your practice from ruining your personal life, too.

1. Take control of your schedule.

One of the most difficult things to do in business is set and stick to boundaries. To do so, decide what’s important in your personal life, schedule blocks of time in your calendar for those activities, and defend those blocks, even that means asking a patient to come in at another time. Almost without exception, your patients will find a time that works with them that doesn’t conflict with your blocks. If a patient can’t, then let go. They’re not the right patient for your practice and that’s okay because your practice needs to support a personal life you enjoy.

In addition to regularly scheduled things like early Friday dinners, weekly exercise classes, long weekends for your wedding anniversary, family birthdays, or whatever predictable events are important to you, decide what types of events are important to you, so you know to block off time for those beforehand. For example, if it’s important for you to be at all of your kids’ sporting events, have your team block out those times on your calendar as soon as the schedule is released so you don’t inadvertently schedule a patient during those times. If a patient is on the schedule already, have a team member reach out to them as soon as possible to ask them to reschedule. With enough notice, this is hardly ever an issue, and at the end of the day, you’ll get to enjoy what’s most important to you without sacrificing business performance. In fact, this type of planning has helped my practice regularly get 80% to 90% of our daily target revenues before lunchtime.

2. Build a practice that allows you to delegate as much as possible.

Have you ever wished you could be in two or three places at once? Wouldn’t it be great if you could be sitting on the beach instead of doing paperwork, billing, or ordering supplies? By building a practice that allows you to delegate with confidence, you essentially can. In fact, you can be in two, three, or even more places at once. To do so, all you need to do is create systems and processes that anyone in your office can follow to perform activities exactly how you would do it every time. Record those systems and processes by writing down the steps you take, creating checklists, or even recording videos of you doing things how you want them and then store those recordings in a place everyone can find.

Systematizing your practice so you can delegate more is the only way to get your practice to run how you want it to run without your having to be there to do everything.

3. Take time off.

In service-based businesses like dental practices, owners can go months or years without a vacation. They look at the monetary cost of going away, especially if they’re the only dentist working at the practice, and they don’t take time off.

You need to take time off if you want to keep your practice from ruining your personal life. If you aren’t in a position to take a week off, start taking long weekends and getting away. Plan a month or two out and schedule patients on other days to protect that time. Go back to your schedule and have your team block out vacation time well in advance.

After scheduling your time away, stick to it and take that time to fulfill your best personal objectives. If you want to get in better shape, book a fitness boot camp. If you want to relax, go for a spa getaway. If you want a deeper relationship with your spouse, plan something meaningful to do together.

It’s time to take your life back from your practice.

You’ve worked too hard for too long to let your best years pass you by without feeling personally and professionally fulfilled. By systematizing your practice, taking control of your schedule, and taking time away to engage in activities that are meaningful to you, you can make more, work less, and love your life!

Join me and over 2,000 other dentists in the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Hangout on Facebook to get the support you need as you start putting these pieces into place in your practice. For more ideas, forms, best practices, and focused help building your practice, sign up for your 14-day trial membership to Delivering Wow U right here.

A Two-Part Mindset Shift to Help Dentists Avoid or Overcome Burnout

It's no secret that dentists experience burnout at a higher rate than professionals in almost any other industry do.

Unless you get help or take action to do things differently, the constant pull between treating patients and running a business makes burnout a real possibility for any dentist. On top of that, growing regulatory and liability concerns create a high-pressure environment that looms over almost everything we do in our practices. In addition to the practice, regulatory, and liability concerns, we can't forget that we're human. Sometimes, we get so caught up in all the details of serving patients and running a regulated, higher-liability business that we forget to take care of ourselves; we lose ourselves amid all the pressures we feel on a daily basis.

These stressors push a lot of dentists out of practice altogether. Others go through life overworked, underpaid, unhappy, and depressed. It's no wonder dentists experience burnout so often.

It doesn't have to be that way.

With just two mindset shifts, you can start building a practice you love and position yourself to avoid burnout altogether, or overcome burnout you're currently experiencing. These two shifts work by helping you do two things that are critical to avoiding or overcoming burnout.

Two things these mindset shifts do to help you avoid or overcome burnout.

First, they help you change the way you view your roles as dentist and business owner. They give you a healthy perspective on your roles and responsibilities. This is important because many dentists view their roles in a way that promotes stress and burnout. By adjusting your vision of your roles, you can build better boundaries and structure in your practice. That will give you more control and help you reduce stress.

Second, these mindset shifts help you identify the parts of your practice that aren't in your control. This is important because it sets you up to emotionally let go of things you can't control. Letting go of things you can't control helps you focus on the things you can control, which makes you more effective in those tasks. Over time, this helps you achieve better results in less time.

When you're just starting out, take a few minutes each morning to review these two mindset shifts. Be intentional about keeping them top of mind throughout your day. As time goes on, you'll begin retraining your brain to be burnout resistant by reducing, eliminating, or outsourcing the most stressful parts of your practice.

1. Start viewing your patients as customers to serve instead of people to treat.

Seeing your patients as people to treat is problematic for two reasons. First, it defines the role of the dentist as someone who's only there to work on teeth. Second, it defines customer success in terms of treating teeth.

With that mindset, a dentist focuses all of their attention on the customer's teeth. As long as the treatment is professional, the dentist has done her job.

The problem with this mindset is, although it helps the dentist focus on caring for teeth, that skill is something every patient assumes their dentist has. They go to the dentist expecting the dentist to take good care of their teeth. If that's all you do, it creates a very forgettable, blah experience.

Shifting your mindset to view your patients as customers to serve, on the other hand, changes how you view your role as dentist and helps you look beyond the teeth. That mindset causes you to focus on every part of your patients' entire experience with your practice. When you do that, you improve every interaction about your practice, including patient intake, appointment scheduling, patient policies, customer service, and more.

This creates WOW experiences that your patients don't expect—and don't get from other dentists—which leads to much happier patients, more efficient and pleasant operations, and much less stress for you.

2. Treat your practice like a business and act like a business owner, not just a service provider.

Shifting your mindset from a service provider to a business owner is one of the best ways to avoid or overcome burnout because it causes you to get help and build efficiencies, so you don't have to do everything yourself.

The best way to scale your practice to run without you is to systematize everything about your practice. When your practice is systematized, your best practices are documented and shared with your team. This helps ensure anyone in your business can take tasks off your hands because they have step-by-step instructions from you about the best way to perform those tasks.

A systematized practice also makes more money because the dentists can spend their time on income-producing or other high-value activities and let salaried administrators perform administrative tasks at a far lower cost.

Treating your practice like you’re a service provider causes dentists to focus on doing too much work themselves, including administrative work on nights and weekends. Additionally, even if they have staff to help out, without documented best practices, their employees will be less efficient and inconsistent. That means the dentists end up working more, making less money, and giving patients inconsistent experiences. It's almost impossible to grow a practice like that, leading the dentists to constantly feel stressed and stuck.

Are you ready to lower your stress levels?

Avoiding or overcoming burnout starts with your mindset. Two of the best ways to start are to change the way you view your patients and your practice. With these two mindset shifts in place, you'll be well on your way to a more fulfilling and profitable practice!

One Simple Change to Scale Your Dental Practice to Run Without You (That Most Dentists Miss)

Would you be willing to make one simple change to your practice if it guaranteed you could regularly meet up to 90% of your daily revenue goal by lunchtime?

Of course you would. Anyone would.

A few years ago, I did. You can, too. Here’s how:

All you need to do is make one simple change to your practice for it to be more efficient, profitable, and controllable.

The change? Systematize everything about your practice.

Systems promote consistency, efficiency, and quality. They ensure everything gets done the same way no matter who’s doing it. That means you can empower any team member to do more work, faster, because they won’t have to figure everything out every time, ask questions, or waste time searching for answers or information.

Better yet, you’ll no longer have to do everything yourself, oversee or review everything other people do, or rely on any one team member to get things right.

You’ll finally be able to let go.

If you systematize your practice.

How to systematize your dental practice to run without you

Systematizing your practice only takes one simple shift in how you do things. That shift is to record your best practices with all common tasks the next time they come up, share those best practices with your team, and empower them to take over those tasks by following the best practices.

Recording your best practices is simple, too. You can record things by writing down the steps yourself, having an assistant write them down as you complete the task, or by creating an audio or video recording of you doing it. It doesn’t matter how you record it, as long as you record it.

Every time you document a best practice, put it in a central location and share it with your team. Let them know they can take over those tasks by following your instructions and ask you if they have any questions.

After recording and sharing your best practices, you’ll no longer have to do or oversee everything because your team can see exactly how you do things every time. Most dentists never systematize their practice. Because of that, they need to work more and do almost everything themselves. With the right systems in place, your systems can run the business side of your practice without you. They can be that impactful.

How one system helped us regularly meet up to 90% of our daily revenue goal by lunchtime

In our practice, one of our most impactful systems was the way we scheduled our patients. Specifically, we moved to a block-scheduling system that split our days into “time blocks” depending on the services needed by our patients. Our block-scheduling process helped us regularly meet up to 90% of our daily revenue goals before lunchtime.

Here’s how it works.

First, we created three-morning blocks on our calendar every day but one. For us, that was 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., and 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Second, we defined what type of work could go in each block. For example, we only fill a block with four or more fillings, a crown, veneers, implants, or a combination of those. We do not do root canals, but they could be placed in a block as well. Patients requiring a longer block can take the two-hour block or the two one-hour blocks.

Cements, follow-ups, consults, and patients who need fewer than four fillings are not to be placed in the blocks. Those are done on the one morning we don’t block out. We also allow them to be booked during a block if we haven’t filled the block by the afternoon before. For example, if lab cases come in and we haven’t filled our blocks for the next day, we’ll call to schedule those patients for those open slots. Otherwise, we schedule them for the next available afternoon or non-blocked morning. Patients love it when they can get back in quickly to cement their cases.

That’s it. Simple, right? We block off time and dedicate it for the time-consuming activities, moving all other activities to non-blocked time. This makes scheduling easier and operations smoother.

After implementing this shift, every patient who had four or more fillings and/or a combination of crowns could have all work done in one day. They loved it. Sometimes that meant we numbed both sides of their mouth, but oral surgeons do that all the time and it was a small tradeoff for only having to come in for one visit.

This system has been a game changer for my practice because it allows us to schedule longer, more detailed procedures in the morning, and complete them in one visit.

It provides convenience to patients because they no longer have to interrupt multiple days for their procedure. It lets me schedule longer procedures in the early part of the day, when my eyes are fresh and my energy is the highest.

It also decreases overhead costs because it reduces the number of setups needed throughout the day because we only need to have one setup for these services instead of two or more, which was required when we broke them up into multiple visits. This reduces the cost of sterilization bags, needles, water, disinfectant, and electricity.

It also lets me work fewer clinical hours. We used to take two and a half hours to fill multiple fillings over multiple 30-minute appointments. Now, we can do it all in a single one-hour appointment because we only have to do one setup.
All told, the greater efficiency helps us regularly earn 80-90 percent of the day’s revenue by lunchtime.

It's your turn

Creating a block scheduling system has allowed us to increase our efficiency, revenue, and client satisfaction.

Creating systems in your practice can do the same for you, and more. Without them, your practice will be inefficient and rely on you. But if you want to scale your dental practice so you don’t have to do everything, you need systems in place.

If you want help implementing systems in your practice, consider joining WOW U, our online community for dentists looking to grow their practices. WOW U is full of high-impact courses, live trainings, and a private forum to get direct feedback on improving your practice.

Make sure to join us on the inside of the Delivering WOW Hangout, the FREE Facebook Group of the Delivering WOW Community!

Why You Need a Vision for Your Dental Practice (and How to Develop One)

Too many dentists work harder and harder with little to show for it. Years go by without a real vacation,  family time becomes a rushed kiss on the way out the door, and even if they make decent money, bills pile up and student loans linger.

It doesn't have to be that way.

For years, I thought if I served my community and made my patients happy, I'd build a successful practice and enjoy my life. The only problem was no matter how well I served my community or how happy my patients became, something was missing in my life. I made decent money, but I didn't feel successful or personally fulfilled. This continued until I took a step back from running my practice to set a clearly-defined vision for both my practice and my personal life.

Everything became clear once I did that. Until I set that vision, I was helping a lot of patients, but I wasn't building a practice that allowed my family to live the life we wanted. If I hadn't stepped back to visualize the future for my business and family, I'd still be working hard and feeling unfulfilled. But by envisioning my ideal personal life and practice, I was able to create a make that vision my reality.

For my family, I pinned photos of places I wanted to travel and experiences I wanted for my family to a board and hung it where I'd see it every day. For my practice, I envisioned becoming the leading dental practice in my community known for Delivering WOW to everyone who walked through the door.

From there, all I needed to do was create and implement a plan to achieve that vision. You can do the same thing for your business and family by following these five steps.

1. Clearly define your vision.

Practice leaders must think strategically and clearly. A vague idea of what you want for your life won't help. It isn't enough to simply say you want to build a profitable practice or be successful. You need to be specific about exactly what you want to build and the life you want to live.

What do you want to achieve in your practice? What do you want your life to look like? Where do you want to live? How much do you want to work? What do you want to drive? Where do you want to travel? How much do you want to travel?

Dream big here. This is the life you'll be building towards. Make it great!

2. Write your vision down.

Once you have a vision for your personal life and practice, write it down and put it somewhere you can see. Writing your vision down puts it in a form you can see and feel. It also gives you something to look back at to remind you of what you're building towards.

3. Put your vision in picture form.

Create a vision board. Pin pictures of what your vision looks like on a board you'll see every day. Want to live on the beach? Cut out pictures of beautiful beaches and put them on the board. Want to win a specific award? Cut out a picture of the trophy. Pictures are powerful. A vision board will help motivate you every day.

4. Create a plan.

In this step, you will determine what you need to do to achieve your vision, who will help you do it, and by when. Then work backwards in time to establish monthly, weekly, or daily tasks.

Be specific. By when do you want to achieve your vision? What do you need to do to achieve your vision in that time frame? Do you need new equipment? What about more targeted marketing to attract a different patient mix? Do you need more space?

What people do you need to help you? Do you need an outside consultant? Do you need a coach to keep you accountable and moving in the right direction?

We needed a new office that would be unique and make us stand out if we wanted to become the leading dental practice in Jamaica.  We also needed systems and practices to help us consistently Deliver WOW to our patients. Those became two big targets for my practice, so we put plans in place to find a new office and develop the necessary systems and processes.

5. Act on the plan.

A vision without action is just a dream. After you've set a specific vision and have a plan to achieve that vision, you need to take action.

Get to work and keep moving forward towards your vision. If you misjudged something or something goes wrong, go back to step four and adjust your plan from wherever you are.

With a vision, plan, and action, you'll be well on your way to turning your vision into your reality!

 

The Time is Here. Dream BIG and take Action!

 

Hopefully by now you have planned your goals for 2016. Whatever they are, I dare you to think Bigger! Stretch a little higher! Do so and you will be amazed at the results.

For the last 2 years I set some really BIG goals. Goals even higher than I thought physically possible to achieve. Why, you may ask. It's quite simple. By setting big hairy audacious goals, and then by taking ACTION, you will find a way to achieve them.

One example of a big goal for my dental practice was to double my revenue from the previous year. I then thought about what, as a business, would we have to do, as well as who would we need to be to get there. We sat down as a team and brainstormed on how we could deliver more wow services and thought about systems which needed improvement. We reviewed our scripts. We created a Marketing Plan which listed each month how we would better impact the community, how we would grow our new patients, and how we would better serve our existing customers. We focused on our company culture and on building our brand. We focused on social media. And guess what, we doubled revenue.

Another goal that I set personally was to write a book. Honestly, I had no idea how to make it happen logistically. However, I wrote down my goal. I then did the research and created action steps to get there. I am proud to say that on December 31st I sent my manuscript back to the editor to finalize to go to press.

Your goals may look totally different than mine. However, the key to getting anywhere is to write down where you want to go as well as the steps to get there.

Another key point here is that if there is something that you really want to do, or need to do, and you don't know how or where to start, invest in reading a book, hiring a coach or getting an accountability partner.

Here's to 2016, your best year ever!!
 

Be the Leader who Inspires others to Lead

Many business owners often ask me “What does it take to create an amazing business full of raving fans?”.  The answer is simple, Leadership.  Businesses that thrive all have great leaders at the top of their companies. These leaders have others following them because of 3 things-  the vision that they have for the company, the ability to inspire others to lead in the company, and the impact that they make on those around them.

Anyone can start a business, but a great leader understands that they must surround themselves with others who bring their strengths to support the business owner's weaknesses.  They insure that those who work for them are superior at what they do, and that systems are in place to hold them accountable for their performance and deliverables.

Great leaders inspire and grow other leaders in the organization.  They encourage creativity and embrace their team to take action to develop strategies to grow the business.

Great leaders are innovators.  They care about others, and the growth of others.  Their focus is not on competition, but on always making a difference.