Everything Dental Blog December 2018

November and December have a different work rhythm. It’s action packed with meetings and last-minute initiatives while an undertone of urgency exists. Depending on your career, the end of the year can be quiet and relaxed, or it can be busy and chaotic. For the dental community, it is our busiest time of year. Dental practices are trying to accommodate patients with their second hygiene appointment or by completing their dental work by year-end. In most cases the patient’s insurance is an annual lose it or use it benefit.

Since it’s Thanksgiving, I wanted to express my appreciation to my family, clients, co-workers and friends. My work has become very complicated but it’s still very rewarding. I help people who help people. How cool is that?

I know this was a tough year for many of us in dentistry. Change is omnipresent. Some see the environment changing and opportunities dwindling. During this period of consolidation, it is easy to be concerned about the future. These are legitimate concerns for those who can’t or won’t adapt. However, for those who do adapt and navigate well, opportunity will be abundant. Remember this: These challenging times will be remembered by others, as the ‘Good Old Days’!


Took Time Off To Attend  A DSO Meeting

I just returned home from Kentucky (land of Bourbon) where I attended a dental meeting for emerging group practices. I attended the general sessions but was particular about which workshops I attended. I am constantly searching for ways to save my clients money while increasing their revenue per patient encounter.

The “Scalling Up Symposium”, was different from the other Emerging Group Practice events I’ve attended. Most of the speakers hold positions of leadership in the organization today. The topics ranged from: How to use Big Data to aggregate KPI’s, How to attract, orient and onboard talent, Doctor and team member development and Driving and Inspiring Excellence Across Practices. In addition to this ‘home grown’ agenda were excellent presentations from key vendor partners in the Legal, Financial, SaaS, Transition and Marketing fields.  Education, efficiency, measurement and reinvention and employee development are fundamental to Mortensons’ success.

One of the breakout sessions I attended provided information on training systems. I enjoyed the intimate break-out session but was more inspired by the story. The presenter chronicled the organization’s journey. They spoke about their rudimentary attempts at training and their commitment to developing personnel and improving the patient experience. They explained why they went from one training program to another, finally incorporating an in-house, proprietary training curriculum. It was the journey that made it real for me. It was the continuous pursuit for excellence that intrigued me.


Management Styles

Happiness at work is a state of mind and a conscious decision. It requires a positive attitude and it helps to have highly motivated co-workers and a supportive leadership team. It is the responsibility of the leadership team to run a good shop and clearly define realistic but challenging, objectives and goals in a professional environment. Highly engaged and motivated employees that work in unison, outperform those that are not. In business that means higher productivity per employee and a better bottom line. To develop a team that executes and over exceeds year after year requires training, mentoring, the pursuit of excellence and a harmonious workplace. People perform better when they believe in their company, along with the message and the products and services they deliver.

When I entered the business world in the early eighties, there was basically three styles of management. There was The Autocrat (my way or the highway), The Relationship Manager (players’ coach – someone who once did your job and wants you to succeed) and The Hands-Off Manager (who encourages creativity and autonomy but provides little direction).


A New Breed of Manager

Today we have a new type of management style. This style developed as our capacity to extract and aggregate data became commonplace and affordable for small business. These managers operate in a world of predictive analytics and business models that are developed to achieve a prescribed outcome(s). These managers are often not risk takers and they have no debt tolerance. They provide critical intelligence that helps the organization manipulate and message policy, processes, and outcomes for the good of the mothership. Interestingly and perhaps mistakenly, many of these analysts are not intimate with the business sector they serve. They lack a historical perspective and emotional attachment that comes when you work and evolve with an industry over an extended period.  However, this lack of perspective allows them to make good decisions without prejudice. The downside to this new management methodology is that it is usually not in alignment with the company culture. This group is uninterested in the uniqueness of individual talent and the performance of a motivated and inspired person. To them, outlier behavior does not have statistical relevance over time.

It is a new age. Brick and mortar businesses are expanding their web presence and internet brands are opening brick and mortar stores. Companies are learning to leverage both strategies. Brick and mortar businesses have gotten creative about how to get customers in the stores. They have new features like; Buy online and pick up or return in the store’. This adds value, supports the touch and feel phenomenon and enhances customers experience!

Businesses who adopt a comprehensive marketing strategy and provide unequaled customer service will outperform their competitors in every business. Exceptional performance leads to higher success rates. This activity fuels the engine of momentum. It creates a perpetual cycle of opportunity!

Dentistry is focused on wellness and prevention. We keep people healthy, out of pain and give them a beautiful smile. While the dental landscape is changing, the profession is still admired. As a business, Dentistry is predictable and can be very profitable if you operate efficiently and effectively. I believe an inspired team and loyal patients are the keys to your practice’s success. Let’s focus on progress, not perfection as we end this year and look to the future. There are tremendous opportunities for the solo and group dental practice.


Thank You for your continued readership and support.

Happy Thanksgiving!