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.

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

Gossip is something many dental practices deal with. Many of us experience it in our practice. It is important for all team members to be able to voice concerns and resolve problems. Everyone needs to be able to talk about and improve work conditions. They need to be able to get feedback on how to handle situations and brainstorm solutions.

But when people resort to gossip, it causes pain, fractures trust, and creates a toxic culture. To eliminate gossip, we must understand where it comes from and create a safe environment to resolve issues before they lead to gossip. Here are six characteristics of a healthy, gossip-free practice culture.

1. Clear Expectations and Accountability

 

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

 

Dentists and other practice leaders must be very clear that there should not be any gossip happening in the office. Educate the team on the best ways to get help with team members or leadership. Talk with them about ways they can communicate with each other to discuss and help find solutions to issues in a productive way.

Ask your team members to also lead the way and set those clear expectations with each other and when new people join the practice. Clear expectations and accountability will help ensure a no-gossip environment continues over the long term.

2. Vulnerability-Based Trust

Vulnerability-based trust occurs when people are comfortable sharing problems they are experiencing without fear of retaliation or losing respect. It also occurs when people feel safe discussing issues with the person causing the issue—especially as the dentist or team leader. With vulnerability-based trust, people know others will support them in finding solutions and not judge them for not being able to solve a problem on their own.

There must be vulnerability-based trust among your entire team. If issues cannot be resolved because there is no trust, that is an environment that is ripe for gossip.

3. Agreement and Commitment from the Entire Team

 

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

 

Make sure there's agreement and a commitment from everyone in on the team to having no gossip in the office. This is not something one leader or dentist can do on their own.

Most of the time, gossip happens outside of the dentist or team leader's presence. If the issue is about them, the gossip will occur outside of their presence. If the issue is about someone else, their conversations are generally solution-focused. That is why it is important for leaders to set expectations but get wider agreement and commitment. The team's commitment and agreement will define your long-term success when it comes to building a no-gossip environment.

4. Commitment to Discuss Issues With any Person Directly With That Person

When the team is comfortable discussing problems or challenges with the person causing it in a productive way, everyone wins. If someone needs help, that is fine. Even having somebody sit with you while you discuss something that is difficult can help keep the situation productive.

Encourage your entire team to address things head on directly with the person causing the issue. If they want help, encourage them to approach leadership with their concerns so they can get advice and direction.

5. Solutions-Based Communication

 

How to Build a Gossip-Free Environment in Your Practice

 

Keep lines of communication open by promoting and practicing solutions-based communication.  Leaders must keep communication lines open and allow people to talk about difficult things in a productive way—especially if they need to give the leaders feedback. This avoids putting up a barrier that leaves team members confused about how to get issues solved. Because they will not know what to do they will start talking with each other and make it much more likely that the conversation will lead to gossip.

Ask team members to bring suggested solutions to conversations if they need to talk about something difficult. The solution you bring might not be the one that is adopted but it ensures the tone of the conversation is solution-focused. Let them know that it is ok if they do not have a suggestion. In those cases, ask them to be able to discuss things they considered. That will also help focus the conversation on finding solutions.

6. Real-Time Feedback

Create an environment of consistent real-time feedback—positive feedback and constructive criticism. When we constantly solicit feedback, we will create an environment that catches issues early.  When somebody needs to give you constructive criticism, it can be difficult to not get emotional or upset. You can ask clarifying questions but make it a safe discussion or people will eventually resort to gossip.

We can create an environment of consistent real-time feedback by asking for feedback at the end of each shift. Ask team members what went well and where could we have done better. As time goes on, these conversations help avoid things from getting to the point where team members feel the need to gossip.

Are you building a gossip-free environment?

An environment with these six characteristics gives all team members a safe place to have their voices heard and resolve issues without needing to resort to gossip.

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

If you’re anything like the 300 practices that have gone through our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge, you may be feeling like your team could use a bit more energy and excitement about growing the practice. That way they could spend less time on gossip and more time serving patients and doing the dentistry we all love. If that sounds familiar, then this is your invitation to join our 21-day Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge, and get a 20% discount at checkout when you use the code CHALLENGE here.

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

Growing a dental practice requires you to do a number of things. First, you need to set a vision and goals for your practice. That tells you where you want to go. Second, you need to develop a WOW culture to attract and retain the best team members possible. Third, you need to give every patient a WOW experience every time they visit your office. Fourth, you need to be profitable. If you are not profitable, you will not be in business very long.

I lay out these four steps—and more—in my book, Delivering WOW: How Dentists Can Build a Fascinating Brand and Achieve More While Working Less…. (which you can get for FREE right here—just cover shipping). Here are the three pieces to building a productive, profitable practice to support you and your team as you work to achieve your practice vision and goals and give patients a truly WOW experience.

1. Empowered, Accountable People

 

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

 

You will never build a productive, profitable dental practice without having the right people on your team. Setting clear practice goals and a practice vision helps attract people who share your values. Building a WOW practice culture helps you keep your team engaged.

But making sure every team member has clear goals and the processes, systems, and tools to do their job well gets you profitable. In other words, once you have the right people on your team, you need to make sure they know what to do and how to do it. That's where the processes, systems, and tools come in—to empower, focus, and hold team members accountable for achieving their individual goals.

2. Processes and Systems

 

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

 

Processes and systems help make everyone's jobs easier. They promote consistency in people's work and hold people accountable for doing tasks the right way.

One of my favorite systems to put in place is a dental practice scorecard. A dental practice scorecard allows you to see the most important numbers in your practice, in real time, and in one place.

In my practice, I have my scheduling coordinator pull the info into the scorecard. Every Tuesday we have a leadership meeting where we discuss the numbers from the scorecard. We have a system for her to pull the information and update the scorecard by Monday morning. That system holds her accountable for completing it and allows us to spot and address issues in real time.

For example, one of the most important metrics we track in my practice is our dentist's production per visit. If we set a goal of $700 per visit but see $400 per visit in our scorecard, we know we need to close that gap. One way to do that would be to do Invisalign or crown promotions to attract more patients for high-revenue services. We could also talk with the doctors about doing as much as they can in one visit so the patient gets their treatment faster and our production per vision increases. Over the longer term, we could send one of our doctors to a CE to learn how to perform higher-revenue procedures as well.

This system allows us to make a change right away and not wait a month or longer to see the overall numbers. And if we are hitting or achieving our goals, we can congratulate team members in real time, too.

3. Tools

 

3 Pieces to a Productive, Profitable Dental Practice

 

Finally, we need tools to help make the systems and processes easier and more efficient. Processes need to be very easy for your team or they will feel overwhelmed. One of my favorite tools to increase productivity and profitability is Dental Intel.

Dental Intel's software suite connects with your practice management software and pulls actionable data into one simple presentation. My team can pull everything we need for our scorecard in a matter of seconds. It has several other powerful features, too.

With tools, we need to be careful in choosing tools that help make our practice better that we have the resources to integrate and use well. Dental Intel is one that is both highly effective and easy to use.

With the right people in place and systems and processes to support them, having tools to make their work even easier is the final piece of the puzzle.

Do you have all three pieces to the productive, profitable, practice puzzle?

Way too many practices do not have all three pieces of the puzzle together. Some have great team members but lack the processes, systems, and tools to help them do their best work. Others have a strong team with processes and systems but no tools to make them easier. Once I had all three pieces working together, my practice growth skyrocketed. I worked less and made a lot more. And my team was supported and set up to succeed.

To learn more about building a productive, profitable practice, our team of expert coaches and training resources in our Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program can help. You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group, where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices.

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

When is the last time you reviewed your core values? Core values define who you are, who you want to be, and what your company strives for.

Why Core Values Matter

 

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

 

Core values make running a dental practice much easier. They guide you in how you hire, fire, reward, and recognize team members. They also make tough decisions easier because they give you important context within which to make decisions. Additionally, when team members know about your core values, it guides them in many things, including these:

  • what they should be doing
  • how they should be conducting themselves
  • how to interact with other team members
  • how to interact with patients

If you have not written core values, take a few minutes to work through this exercise. If you already have core values written, take a few minutes to re-evaluate or update them to make sure you have the strongest set of core values guiding you and your team.

Brainstorming Possible Core Values

Start on a personal level. Think about yourself as a person. What are the ten or so principles you personally live by? It doesn’t matter what they are, just list things that are most important to you. For example:

  • How do you want people to perceive you?
  • How do you want people to think that you act?
  • How do you actually act?
  • What do you want people to say about you when you are not around?

Write down everything that comes to mind when thinking of those questions. If it helps, imagine you live in a perfect world in which you can design exactly who you are and how you act. Write down the characteristics you would choose.

Analyzing Your List of Core Values

 

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

 

Take your list of personal core values and think about them in the context of yourself, your team, and your practice. What core values do you want everyone to think about you, your team, and your practice? What values are non-negotiable in your practice? Edit your list with that in mind. Then ask yourself each of the following “yes or no” questions for each value listed. Write down your answers for each value.

  • Is the value absolutely necessary to our unique culture?
  • Would we want our organization to stand for this core value 100 years from now no matter what changes occur in the world?
  • Would we want our organization to hold this core value even if at some point in time it became a competitive disadvantage?
  • Would we want our organization to hold this core value even if in some instances the environment penalized us for living this core value?
  • Do we believe those who do not hold this core value or those who breach it consistency simply do not belong in our organization?
  • Would we personally continue to hold this core value even if we were not rewarded for holding it?
  • Would we change jobs before giving up this core value?
  • If we awoke tomorrow with more than enough money to retire for the rest of our life, would we still hold true to this core value?
  • If we were to start a brand-new organization, would we build around this core value regardless of the industry?
  • Does this value represent the primary behaviors our organization wants to encourage and stand by?
  • Is this value one that we will continue under stress, duress, and in the face of all obstacles?

Finalizing Your List of Core Values

Narrow down your core values to the seven to ten most important values. Use your answers to the questions in the last section to guide you. For example, the more you answered yes for a value, the more important it is. Keep only the seven to ten values that are most important on your list. Those will be your revised core values that will lead yourself, your team, and your practice forward.

Communicating Your Core Values With Your Team

 

How to Give Your Dental Practice a Core Value Checkup

 

Make sure everyone on your team knows your core values. Post them in your office where people can see. Discuss them openly and regularly. Let everyone know why they are so important. Be sure to let them know everyone in the office is expected to act consistently with the core values. Let them know you will be evaluating decisions they make in accordance with the core values, even if the decision goes wrong. For example, let them know whether they acted in accordance with your core values will be something you consider when mistakes happen. When you position this in a positive light and follow through on that promise, you will encourage your team members, and everyone will benefit.

Give your dental practice a core values checkup today.

If you have not set or updated your core values in a while, take a few minutes to update them today. You will come away with a list of seven to ten principles that guide everything you do in your practice.

If you want help setting core values in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches and training resources we offer in our Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group, where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices.

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

Visionary practice leaders are an inspirational group of people. Many dentists consider themselves visionary leaders. I am a visionary leader.

Visionary leaders set big goals. We have big dreams. We can’t help ourselves. We see opportunities to make a positive impact beyond our practices and cannot help but pursue those opportunities.

That passion helps us achieve amazing things and inspire our team members. But it also presents challenges when it comes to leading more introverted or detail-oriented team members. If you consider yourself a visionary leader, it is important to understand those challenges and how to support your team members so you can get the support you need to achieve your big dreams.

The Benefits and Challenges of Visionary Leadership in Dental Practices

 

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

 

Visionary leaders are community changers. We are world changers. We want to impact the world beyond our practices. We want to change dentistry for the better. We are driven. We are relentless. We do not accept the status quo. We will not continue doing something just because that is what the dentists who came before us did.

While that passion and focus can lead to incredible things in our communities, the dental industry, and the world around us, it presents two key challenges for employees.

First, in the world, it can become intense. We set high expectations for ourselves and our team. We are not satisfied showing up, fixing teeth, and going home.

It can get uncomfortable for our team members.

Sometimes it becomes a little bit difficult for our team members to be able to handle our expectations.

How to Support Team Members When You are a Visionary Leader

The best way to support your team members is to put yourself in their shoes and let them know you recognize the challenges of working with a visionary leader.

Their days are full. They have a list of tasks. And then all of a sudden, you burst in with a great idea that will change the world. That can be overwhelming to them. Let them know you recognize the challenges of working with a visionary leader. (They already know the challenges; let them know you know.)

Tell them you know you have some ideas that might be crazy. Tell them you know that on a whim, you come up with ideas that you believe will change the world.

Let them know you need to get your idea out right away, but that does not mean they always need to do the work right away. Most of the time, we do not need things done immediately. But we need to get our ideas written down and scheduled.

Finally, when you give them a new idea, ask them what else they are working on. Then help them prioritize the work.

These things help you ensure that your team members feel supported.

How to Get Support Team Members When You are a Visionary Leader

 

How to Get the Support You Need as a Visionary Practice Leader

 

Getting the support you need from your team can take time. But you can get the support you need by helping them help you. Here is how to do that.

First, be open and honest about what you expect from them. If you need something done right away, let them know.

Second, give them the tools they need to do their work well and efficiently. My team and I have been using Asana to organize and prioritize tasks. Invite them to ask questions on Asana so you can reply as soon as possible and keep all communications in one place.

Third, encourage questions. No matter how amazing your team members are, it is unreasonable to expect them to have the same vision as you. Be open to questions. It will improve results. Be patient.

A Visionary Leadership Case Study

Sara, one of my amazing Delivering WOW team members, is a high C in the DISC personality test. She is extremely detail-oriented. She is a planner. She knows exactly what she has to do at the beginning of each day, down to the smallest details such as when she’s going to walk her dog and eat.

When she first started working with me, she was not used to working with a visionary leader. She would be the first person to tell you it took her months to adjust. But we got into a rhythm, and we work very well together. I committed to supporting her, and she committed to supporting me.

So when she gets a message (or ten) from me with another idea, she knows exactly what to do. First, she asks, “How important is this task, and when would you like it done by?” This helps her stay organized.

She also lets me know what she already needs to get done that day. If this is a higher priority than that work, we set new deadlines for those projects. If not, she suggests a deadline for my new idea. Most of the time, her suggested deadline will be fine. Sometimes, I will want it sooner, so I will push out another task she is working on.

Either way, we both get what we need. She gets order to what would seem like disorder. I get the support I need to implement ideas.

Are you getting the support you need from your team members?

 

 

Are you a visionary leader? Do you feel like you are getting the support you need from your team? If not, be sure to get them the support they need to help you. Then work with them to ensure you get the support you need in return.

To learn more about getting the support you need in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group, where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices.

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

Holding productive team meetings is one of the best ways to make sure your most important practice tasks get done. For some larger practices, that means meeting regularly with your leadership team. Smaller practices might include every team member. Either way, the key to success is to run your meetings well.

We suggest holding meetings on a regular schedule, preferably weekly but no less frequently than every other week. Weekly works best because it puts you in better control of your practice results. They ensure you do not wait two weeks to learn about and address issues. Also, if you are traveling and your team needs to run a meeting without you, you will not go a month without attending a meeting.

Regular weekly meetings create a productive rhythm for your practice. Here is our seven-step plan for getting the most out of team meetings.

1. Opening Exercise (5 minutes)

 

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

 

Appoint a team leader to run your meetings. Make sure they start and end every meeting on time. Starting on time sets a standard of timeliness that extends beyond the meeting. Ending on time makes everyone focus during the meeting and avoids having them drag on.

 

Make sure someone takes notes at each meeting. Important items will be discussed and having to remember it all is impossible, especially with so much on our plates. Keep those notes in one place, such as a single notebook or shared Google Doc.

As the meeting opens, the meeting leader should ask for a volunteer to share one personal achievement and one professional achievement from the last week.

Personal achievements could include that someone ran a 5k and are really proud. A professional achievement could be that someone asked ten patients for reviews that earned six five-star reviews for the practice.

This is not a time for discussion, just announcements, but it is an important part of team building. Move around the room until everyone has shared a personal and professional achievement.

2. Scorecard Review (5 minutes)

Take five minutes to review and fill out your practice scorecard. Ask each team member to let you know if their scorecard items are on or off track.

If it is on track, great. Anything off track should be moved to the IDS portion of the meeting, where you will identify, discuss, and solve practice issues.

3. Rock Review (5 minutes)

In addition to practice goals, each team member should have their own rocks—or goals—to pursue. Take five minutes to review practice and individual rocks and find out what is on track and off track.

For example, one of the doctor’s rocks might be to create a dental savings plan. One of your team leaders’ rocks might be to get cancellations and no shows below 10%. Another could be to create a coffee table culture book for the practice.

Asking each team member about their rocks during your meeting helps build a culture of accountability and support among team members. If something is off track, put it on the agenda for the IDS part of the meeting, during which you all identify, discuss, and solve issues.

4. Customer and Employee Headlines (5 Minutes)

 

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

 

After each team member updates you on their rocks, take five minutes to discuss updates about patients or employees. These can be positive or negative, such as good Facebook or Google reviews or disgruntled patients. This is also a good time for team members to give kudos to colleagues who have gone above and beyond.

If something negative can be resolved quickly, do so. If it needs more discussion, add it to the IDS portion of the meeting.

5. Previous To-Do List Review (5 Minutes)

Take five minutes to discuss the status of to-do items from last meeting’s IDS session. Ask each team member whether they have completed their to-do items.

If so, check it off as complete. If they are on target, keep it in the to-do list for next week. If they are off target, move it to the IDS discussion for this week.

6. IDS (Identify, Discuss, Solve) (30–60 minutes)

This will take the majority of the meeting time. Ask each team member to take thirty to sixty seconds to write down the three most important issues they are facing.

When they are finished, have one team member identify their issues. Once the issue is identified, take a few minutes to discuss possible solutions. After a couple of minutes, choose a solution with which to move forward. Then put the tasks on a to-do list for your next meeting, and assign the tasks to the appropriate team member.

Go around the room until you identify, discuss, and solve each team member’s top three issues.

At some point during your IDS session, you the meeting will start to wind down. Give a ten-minute warning to ensure the meeting will end on time. Do the same with five minutes left, at which point the meeting will begin to conclude.

7. Review and Conclusion

 

How to Run a Productive Team Meeting

 

Once you have completed your IDS session, recap your to-do checklist so everyone knows what they need to do. Read them out loud and make eye contact with the team member responsible for doing the task. Designate someone to deliver messages to people who could not make the meeting.

Finally, ask each team member to rate your meeting on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best. If someone rates it less than an eight, ask them to tell the group why so you can improve.

Are you ready to boost productivity in your practice?

If you want to make your practice more productive, high-impact productivity meetings might be the answer. Follow these seven steps, and you will be well on your way to a more productive office.

To learn more about boosting productivity in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

And if you want to go beyond productive team meetings to a practice that’s as effective, repeatable systems designed to help you grow your production month over month, then our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge is for you.

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

My Delivering WOW team members are some of the most trustworthy, knowledgeable, and motivated people I have ever met. They know marketing, dental practice management, and effective ways to help practice leaders grow.

They are successful with Delivering WOW and active in the dental industry. For example, one team member works at a multi-location dental practice. During her first year, she grew the hygiene department 104%. In the last 18 months, she added millions of dollars to the organization through hygiene production alone. She also decreased cancellations and no-shows from 30% to less than 10%. The list goes on.

Her success with Delivering WOW and in her current position suggests she turns everything she touches into gold. While it is true that she is talented and hardworking enough to do so, she would be the first to tell you her career wasn’t without its challenges.

As leaders, we can help team members fly or clip their wings and hold them down.

 

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

 

Earlier in her career, this amazing team member moved across the country to take a job. When she started, she was told not to say or do anything for the first ninety days. Her bosses told her to be a “fly on the wall” and just observe operations during that time.

Twelve days into her job, however, she was called into the president’s office and fired. She was told that management didn’t think the position was right for her. They complained that she hadn’t made any decisions to help the company during the first twelve days. She had moved across the country and her husband had quit a job he held for a decade to move with her.

After defending herself as having followed directions, she was given one more chance. Needless to say, she completely lost trust in the leadership team. They told her to be a fly on the wall and then tried to fire her for doing so twelve days later. After taking a break to compose herself, she told one of the leaders how disappointed she was. She then decided to go back to the office do her best work, although it was hard to trust leadership after that. Eventually, she left and found new employment where she felt better supported and did incredible work from the start.

While she was able to turn a negative situation into a positive, not every team member is as self-motivated and determined as she is. She only stayed there long enough to be noticed and recruited by her next employer.

Build a positive environment to get the best work out of every team member.

 

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

 

What did her new employer do differently to get her best work? Why did her earlier employer tell her to be a fly on the wall and then fire her twelve days in? Simple. The difference between the two companies is the environment the leadership team built.

The environment at her old employer caused her to feel fearful. She would sit and question her emails multiple times before sending them out. She wouldn’t take risks or reach beyond the direct responsibilities of her position. She would not take any risk. She was miserable.

The environment at her new employer gave her the freedom to take risks and make decisions she felt were best for the company. She did not have the same fear of being fired for minor offenses.

How to build a positive environment that gets the best work out of every team member.

 

How to Build an Environment in Which Every Team Member Does Their Best Work

 

Leadership expert Simon Sinek talks frequently about the impact of environments on productivity. In short, Sinek says if people trust leadership and feel safe and supported, they will do their best work. If not, they will do just enough to not get fired before they can find another job.

Building an environment that gets the best work out of your team is much simpler than many dentists expect. Generally, you only need two things to build a supportive environment.

First, you need consistency in what you measure and the metrics that matter. Let your team know what is most important, and systematize as much of your day-to-day operations as you can. By doing so, each team member will know what they need to do to succeed and will have simple strategies for completing the most common ones. That frees them up to direct their creativity toward helping you build your practice.

Second, you need to manage people. You need to lead people well. With systems in place and clear metrics being measured, your team will understand the goals for their position. But team members work harder for leaders they trust. If you tell them to be a fly on the wall for the first ninety days, do not threaten their jobs twelve days later for not doing more. That is a surefire way to lose trust. Your team will do just enough to not get in trouble.

If you are consistent and trustworthy and show people small failures won’t make them lose their job, they will do whatever they can to help you achieve your practice vision.

Continued improvement in systems and measurements plus your ability to lead people will create an environment in which every team member feels empowered and does their best work.

Are you building a supportive environment in your practice?

The only way to get the best work from every team member is to build an environment built on trust and support. As practice leaders, we all must continue to develop our leadership skills in addition to implanting systems and processes to support our operations.

For more help get started on becoming the best practice leader you can be, join our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge — save 20% off with the code CHALLENGE at checkout!

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

Asana is one of my favorite tools to increase productivity in dental practices. It is the best way to collaborate with team members to manage key tasks and projects. You can easily get everyone on the same page and prevent key tasks from falling behind or not happening at all.

Asana keeps everything organized and sends automated email notifications to team members when they have something to do or a task they are working on gets updated. You can also send notifications to team members manually through Asana by tagging them in a post just like you would tag someone on social media.

If you have never used Asana before, you are only four steps away from the peace of mind that comes with knowing your most important tasks are organized, assigned, and on track.

1. Sign up for Asana to manage dental practice projects with ease.

 

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

 

If you have never used Asana, you can sign up at Asana.com. Asana is a web-based program so you can access the secure platform from anywhere you have an internet connection. No need to stay late at the office to review progress and keep tasks on target anymore.

Asana offers a free version for small teams that do not need customized privacy settings. The free version lets you either keep information private to you or make it public to everyone on your team. For customized privacy settings, which I recommend, claim a free trial to the premium version. Customized settings allow you to choose exactly who has access to what information, instead of limiting it to nobody or everybody. When your trial expires, you pay a small fee per user. If you use Asana well, increased productivity will more than cover the fee.

2. Create teams for your practice.

The best way to manage projects is to make sure everyone knows exactly what they need to do and by when they need to do it. Asana’s “team” function allows you to do just that. Once you set up your account, you can set different Asana teams for different needs and assign team members only to the teams they need to access.

We suggest starting with five teams. First, create a team for your entire practice. There, you can share practice-wide initiatives, news, and information. Second, create one for training where you manage training activities within your practice. Third, create a team for accounting and finance. There your accounting and finance teams can manage information. Finally, set up a team for marketing where you can keep all your marketing materials and activities organized.

When you set up a team, choose a name, add a description, and then add email addresses for team members who need access. You can choose for the team to be hidden or public to the entire practice. Projects and tasks in a hidden team will only be visible to members of that team. Projects and tasks in a public team will be visible to all practice team members.

3. Create team projects.

 

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

 

Once you create your teams, start creating projects for each team. As with teams, you can edit privacy settings for projects to be public or private only to select team members.

We recommend adding projects for the items you want to make sure happen in your practice. For example, you could set a project for your Team Leader Live Agenda, Training, 90-Day Planning, and Systems for your practice-wide team.

Having a Team Leader Live Agenda projects allows you to make sure your agenda is up to date. It also ensures your entire team knows what topics their team leaders are focusing on. Your Training project lets everyone know what training they must complete. The 90-Day Planning makes sure you set your 90-day goals and stay on track with tasks needed to achieve them. Finally, a Systems project organizes key practice systems in one place.

4. Create sections and assign tasks to the right team members.

Within projects you can create multiple “sections.” Sections function as additional ways to organize tasks by timeline or priority. For example, in your 90-day planning project, you could have three sections, one for each month.

Once you set any sections you need, you can easily create and assign specific tasks to team members. Each task is organized in one convenient thread where you can add a description, attach documents, assign a due date, communicate with team members, and even assign the task back and forth. All of your communications will be in one place, so you never have to waste time searching email or papers again. When a team member completes his or her part of a task, they can “assign” it back to you for review similar to volleyball players knocking the ball back and forth over the net. If you need them to adjust their work on a task, you can add a comment and assign it back. If it is complete, you can mark it as complete or assign it to another team member to add their part.

Are you ready to get more organized and productive than ever before?

 

How to Create Teams and Assign Projects to Team Members Using Asana

 

Asana is my favorite productivity tool for your practice. Once it is set up, creating and assigning tasks will be easier than ever. You can keep all tasks organized and on track from wherever you have an internet connection.

To learn more about using Asana to get more organized and productive than ever before, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

If you want to join hundreds of practices that we've been helping on getting more productive and organized, please check out our upcoming Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge.

Find out more here — plus use the code CHALLENGE at checkout to get 20% off!

Five Leadership Abilities Every Dentist Needs

Five Leadership Abilities Every Dentist Needs

With so much on our plates as dentists and practice leaders, it can be difficult to achieve continuous practice growth. We may experience short-term growth. We may achieve success in one area of our practice only to see another area of our practice struggle. Or we may hit a ceiling where everything we do works but only to a certain extent.

You get stuck. You are too busy to do everything yourself. You are too tired or stressed to micromanage. Maybe you are overwhelmed and just need to get away.

That is normal. Many of us hit a ceiling in our businesses. But how do you bust through a ceiling? The way to break through the ceiling is to develop five leadership abilities. As you read through these abilities, ask yourself whether you need to work on one or more of these. Do you practice them consistently? If not, chances are you are slipping in one of these areas.

1. Your Ability to Simplify

 

Five Leadership Abilities Every Dentist Needs

 

Business is complex. Patient care is complex. Managing people is complex. The more that you can simplify your business, simplify your processes, the more successful your practice will become. Many of us make things really complicated. When you make things complicated, your team’s performance will be inconsistent at best. If you struggle to simplify things, your team will struggle to perform tasks.

2. Your Ability to Delegate and Elevate

The more you can delegate, the more you can accomplish as a practice. You avoid being a bottleneck. You avoid having tasks pile up. And when you can delegate effectively, you can elevate other people to take ownership of tasks or rise to leadership positions. The more you can get other people to take things off your plate, the faster and the better you can grow.

3. Your Ability to Predict

 

Five Leadership Abilities Every Dentist Needs

 

Regarding your business, looking forward, can you predict what will happen? Do you know where your next patients will come from? Can you project costs or revenue? Can you predict what will happen when you change things about your operations or marketing?

I can predict that if I keep doing everything the same way I am doing it now, I will become stagnant. I might lose a team member. I might eventually not have a full schedule.

The better you can predict what will happen if you do nothing or when you change in certain ways, the better you will be able lead your practice forward. You will be able to prioritize tasks that will yield better results. You will be able to cut expenses that are not worth continuing. You will be able to better direct your entire team.

4. Your Ability to Systemize

I am not suggesting you need a five-hundred-page systems manual. Nobody will read that, and it would probably be out of date by the time you get it finished.

But I do suggest you simplify and document the most important processes in your practice. Then, I suggest you keep those processes in a place every team member can find. The team member who is responsible for those tasks can use the process to achieve better and more consistent results. And if that team member is out, another team member can step in and perform tasks using the processes.

If you are just getting started, pick a few important processes you need to be done the same way every single time.

For example, how do you want people to hand things off from the front to the back? How do you want people to answer the phone? How do you want them to describe an implant? What are the systems inside that make things consistent?

Then document the steps you want to be done every time, or ask a reliable team member to do so. Share those instructions with your team, and you have yourself your first system.

5. Your Ability to Structure

 

Five Leadership Abilities Every Dentist Needs

 

Nobody likes chaos. Nobody likes going into work and having no idea what they are doing. Nobody likes to get to work and not know where they are supposed to go. Nobody likes showing up for a new job and realizing their job description does not match their job responsibilities.

The more you can provide structure for your team members and patients, the more trust you will build with them.

Your team members will know what is expected of them, and your patients will know what experience to expect when they come in.

Take Your Leadership to the Next Level

If you find yourself hitting a ceiling in your practice, revisit this post, and ask yourself if you are slipping in one of these categories. Are you over complicating things? Are you not delegating and elevating effectively? Are you unable to predict the future impact of your actions or inactions? Are your systems outdated (or nonexistent)? Does your practice lack structure?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, that might be what is keeping you from consistent practice growth.

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

If you want help building your leadership abilities, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

If you want to improve your team’s leadership abilities AND grow your practice in the next 21 days, now is the time to sign up for our next Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. Hundreds of practices have gone through the challenge and almost all the teams leave the challenge with improved leadership skills, and a renewed energy and commitment to growing their practice.  Ready to save your spot? Click here — and you can save 20% when you use the code CHALLENGE at checkout!

How to Create Change Inside Your Practice

How to Create Change Inside Your Practice

In many industries, businesses have owners, visionaries, and operational leaders, such as COOs and Marketing Directors leading their companies.

In the dental industry, however, many dentists feel as if they need to do everything themselves. They need to be the owner, visionary, CEO, COO, Marketing Director, HR, and even Customer Support agents.

And that's not even taking into account the fact that they need to care for patients well, too.

How can any one person do all those things, and do them well?

They can't. It's not possible.

Whenever I meet a dentist who is trying to do everything, I soon learn they're not doing well in one or more areas. Some aren't attracting patients. Others have teams who are not performing well. Others struggle to keep up with their finances. Many of them are not doing their best in any area.

It doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn't be that way. We can achieve true growth and fulfillment from our practices. We can change. But when we're stuck in the busyness of doing everything, it can seem daunting or impossible to change.

The more dentists I help through Dental Profit Academy, bootcamps, or my Inner Circle, the more I realize true change happens by lifting up and empowering leaders within our practices and letting go of things we can't or shouldn't have to be doing ourselves.

When we do that, we can build transformational leadership in our practices. We build teams of leaders and those leaders transform our practices, our lives, and their lives too. Everyone wins.

Transformational leadership makes everyone win

 

How to Create Change Inside Your Practice

 

Some people say that behind every great company is a great leader. Have we heard that before? I say, “Behind every great company is a leader who hires and inspires great leaders, and then moves out of the way, so together, you can make your greatest contribution.”

The difference between those two phrases is important. The first phrase puts the emphasis on one person. That would be the motto of the dentist who feels the need to do everything themselves.

The second, puts the emphasis on lifting up, empowering, and letting go. That would be the motto of a dentist looking to develop transformational leadership that changes lives.

When we lift up and empower leaders in our practices and get out of the way, everyone wins. We win because we let go of the false belief that we need to do everything. We also win because we can focus on doing the things we enjoy, are best at, and need to do as owners and dentists. It's the only way we as team leaders, as doctors, can move closer to achieving our personal dreams.

 

Our practices can help us achieve our personal dreams. But they'll never do that if we do not hire and inspire great leaders.

Our team members win because they get to assume leadership roles, develop skills, and impact change. Great leaders are not defined by their titles. By putting people in a position to grow, we can hire and inspire leaders at all levels of our practice. That will help our team members grow faster and further than they would otherwise do so in a typical career path.

Finally, our patients win, too. When we are not spread so thin, we can focus even more time and attention on Delivering WOW to them. And when our team members continue to grow and win, they become even more fulfilled and effective in their work. That positions them to Deliver WOW to patients as well.

Who can you lift up and empower in your practice?

 

How to Create Change Inside Your Practice

 

The only way to create change inside our practices is to change the way we lead.

If you are working too hard, feeling stressed, or feel stuck having to do everything yourself, look for ways to lift up, empower, and let go. You don't need to let go of everything at once. But the only way to grow is to let go of something.

What if Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, ran a dental practice? What would he do? Would he do all his own marketing? Would he do his own bookkeeping? Would he train everyone on his team? No, he wouldn't.

He grew and scaled Amazon because he hired and empowered the best people he could find in each area of his business.

We need to do the same to you. The first step to do that is to look for the next great leader, a great second-in-command. Who in your practice do you believe has the drive, skills, and work ethic to take over even one or two tasks that you shouldn't be doing? How can you empower them to step up and help you create true change in your practice?

TAKE ACTION TODAY:

If you want help creating change and building transformational leadership in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.

You’ll also find exclusive deals and discounts from the best dental product and service providers.

You can also check out our 21-day Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge where we help practices like yours create an effective marketing plan to get more patients clients through your door. Over 300 practices have benefitted from the challenge — you can click here to see what they had to say!

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.