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CYBER MONDAY SPECIAL: Imagine Your Best Year Ever is 2023! VIEW SPECIAL

October 5th, 2022

Episode 160 – Your Business Should Be Boring with Dr. Victoria Peterson

“I have this crazy philosophy that my life should be exciting but my business should be predictable.” – Dr. Victoria Peterson

Boring is good.

In your business anyway. Excitement and adrenaline are wonderful parts of life, but in your business, they distract you from the important things like taking great care of your patients and crafting a positive culture amongst your team. 

Boring means your systems and processes are repeatable and predictable and there’s an incredible amount of freedom that comes from that. Remember, something that is predictable is going to last.

As business owners ourselves, we love the boring basics! They allow everything to run smoothly in the background so we have the energy, time, and resources to pour into the fun stuff. 

Today, dental business visionary Dr. Victoria Peterson joins us for a roundtable discussion about:

  • The difference between process improvement and change
  • The power of a Moratorium on Change
  • Empowering your team for predictable, repeatable success

Never miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes & Spotify. Visit us at http://www.everydaypracticespodcast.com

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Victoria Peterson
As you know, Tiger Woods does a great thing with the ball and the club and you know all these trick shots. That’s not what you practice when you want to improve your game. You go straight back to the basics of scoring basics you hit 100 golf balls before you play that round. You dribble you master the fundamentals, and that’s why I think business should be boring because we’re always leaping to the next shiny thing and the next one, the next one.

Regan
Welcome to the Everyday Practices Podcast. I’m Regan Robertson, and my co-host Dr. Chad Johnson and I are on a mission to share the stories of everyday dentists who generate extraordinary results using practical proven methods you can take right into your own dental practice. If you’re ready to elevate patient care and produce results that are anything but ordinary. Buckle up and listen in.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Welcome, everybody to the everyday practices dental Podcast. I’m here Chad Johnson with Regan Robertson. Regan, how’re you doing?

Regan
I’m having an exceptional day. Chad. Every day is a good day when I get to the podcast with you.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Absolutely and unreciprocated feelings totally and try separate cated if that’s a word if it’s not a word, it needs to be a word because today’s special guest for our roundtable discussion is Victoria Peterson Victoria. How are you today?

Victoria Peterson
Hello, Chad. Hello, Regan.

Regan
Hello!

Dr. Chad Johnson
Glad to have the OG on today the original gangster for Everyday Practices.

Victoria Peterson
I can’t believe you keep asking me back.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Shame on us. Well, today we wanted to talk about a controlling idea that cashmere our producer heard you Victoria talking about recently and it was trying to make your business boring, like make your business boring and so I thought I’d at least frame it first. I got thinking it’d be fun to juxtapose it with what makes business exciting and it’s the same as any relationship. When a relationship starts.

It’s fun to have it be exciting but naturally, it seems very human nature, that relationships go toward being unexciting, because exciting is exciting and fun and different and whatnot but then there also needs to be some evenness to it and you know, we actually as much as we don’t want to say it, we do like predictability and it’s fun to occasionally have some changeup and whatnot but we do want predictable.

So to bring it home for the doctor’s sake, the worst thing that you’d want to do is walk in on a Monday morning and say, Hey, surprise, we have an exciting day, there are five people already seated. Four of them have facial trauma, and one has a broken screw inside three of their implants and go. So he’s right. That’s the kind of exciting that we want to avoid but that’s just clinical dentistry, but just to frame it so that way our dentist listeners go in Chicago. Okay. So exciting is great at the beginning of business and yet, eventually, we want to get it to a point where it’s, it’s less exciting, Victoria, tell us about that.

Victoria Peterson
Well, I have this crazy philosophy that my life should be exciting and my work should be so predictable, that it runs like a background operating system. Like I am not freaking out about the mechanics of my iPhone. You know it because if I were that’s how I describe boring like my iPhone is boring as a piece of equipment but it’s really exciting what I can do with it and that’s I think that’s the thing with business and you know, I worked with and coached with Tony Robbins for a long time and he had all of these amazing stories about coaching top athletes and I can name their names but coming from the OG no one would know who they are right? If anybody knows Andre Agassi, there you go but that’s a long time ago but he did thanks

Dr. Chad Johnson
for not mentioning Henry Ford. I just did. I just watched a biography thing I’m sorry, it was

Victoria Peterson
Yeah. You know you don’t go in there. You don’t take peak performance to the next level. By practicing your jump shot or practicing rushing the net or practicing. You know, you’re great. You know, Tiger Woods does a great thing with the ball and the club and you know, all these trick shots. That’s not what you practice.

When you want to improve your game. You go straight back to the basics and scoring basics, you hit 100 golf balls before you play that round, you dribble, you master the fundamentals and that’s why I think business should be boring because we’re always leaping to the next shiny thing and the next one and the next one, and you do too many of those in a row and then the team says, I hate change, this is awful, Why can’t things stay the same?

So you’ve got to lock and load where you’re at? And periodically come back to the basics and say, How are we doing with our time management? How are we doing? Are we really seeing patients on time? Or do we just say, we’re seeing patients on time? You know, so that’s a boring, basic, it’s called suit. So good. I think to start on time, stay on time, and get out on time. It’s one of those boring pieces that make everything flow but you got to look at it and say, Are we really honoring those things that make our day predictable? Or are we on an adrenaline rush, just reacting, and then you get to high-five each other like, Oh, my God, we survived? I don’t like those kinds of adrenaline rushes.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Victoria, I don’t know, if you, if I told you this earlier this year, but, I implemented a moratorium on change for 2022. That’s right and so far I just, you know, told my leadership team, traction style, you know, for our meetings, I just said, here’s the deal, we’re going to have a moratorium on change, because we’ve been used to changing, changing.

So this year, we’re going to focus on making what we do better, and not implementing, you know, anything new and if there’s something so pressing, it’s going to require a majority vote, you know, approved by all, you know, that kind of thing that we say, Yes, you know, what we need to change because x happened or something like that, you know, so fair enough that we could do something if we need to an extreme measure, but otherwise, we’re going to have a moratorium on change and I tell you what, it’s been refreshing.

Victoria Peterson
I think, after this podcast, you may have to start a 12-step program for entrepreneurs.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Right, and I might have to be the violence defender to show up for the first meeting alone, you know,

Regan
what has the feedback been? So you’ve been doing this for many months now, in your moratorium of change? You’re coming into q4?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Yes. So what’s funny is I’ll say, you know, I’m thinking we should do this and they’re like, no, no, you said no change. So they hold me to it and I’ll say, No, listen, we already do that. I’m just saying we need to do it better, you know. So, you know, I can’t think of quite an example but if it’s just like, you know, when we greet people, for example, we need to do this or that and they’re like, No, you said, no change. I’m like, well, we shouldn’t be doing that already. So we can’t get out of just anything but oh, go ahead, Victoria.

Victoria Peterson
Well, that’s a great question. What is the difference between process improvement? Right, right, and implementing change? Because I also believe in that 1% course correction, so that you stay on course, correct? You’re brilliant.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Well, we went to that Dental Sleep solutions at the last workshop, and then they were like, You guys really tracked and you know, we’re taking good notes and stuff and you had some of your team there. So let’s get this implemented and I said, Oh, no, no, no, we can’t implement that. Just right now but I mean, I’m fascinated by this, but we can’t implement it just yet and they’re like, Well, sure, you can we can help you and, you know, we can give you financing for it, we can, you know, we could, you know this and that, like there’s no barrier.

Why you can’t get started I was like, Oh, well, the only barriers that we have more praetorium on change and they’re like what? And I said yeah, in 2022 We can’t make any changes. So overall, the team has felt empowered by it because we’ve kind of done this slowdown. We’ve been on a crash course the last couple of years of busyness and you know fanaticism and growth and explosion in implosion and all that and that and now we’re you know, trying to just get on a steady course. So it’s been edifying I think to the team, they’ve said so

Victoria Peterson
I think this is so smart. I mean, everybody’s been on a different trajectory in dentistry especially right like unprecedented blockade because know what I’m calling the shutdown that we were blocked. Yes and then you got creative and said, Oh, we like an emergency. Now. We’re not holding them back and you found a way to stretch that term and then you were flooded, flooded with pain. Asians wanting to come in where do you see him with a staff shortage? I mean, there hasn’t been a time to catch your breath.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Hmm. Well, so it’s one tangible thought for dentists and teams listening to say, maybe you just do a quarter of a moratorium on change. Maybe that just means for a month? I mean, what is your diet look like someone might have this amazing meal plan that they can hold themselves very diligent, and you’re just a hobo, and Pepsi kind of guy that you need to, you know, like, you might not want to go straight to full vegan, but what is your course correction look like that you’re gonna get, you know, a step closer to being healthier.

It might not be a full year but I’ll tell you what, if you were to, it’s not bad, I didn’t get that from anyone. I just had a pulse on the team and I was like, You guys are gonna like this. You guys are gonna like this. We’re doing a moratorium on change and they’re like, What do you mean? What like, what? What are those words mean to you, that action is going to matter? And I was like, Well, it means we’re not going to change a darn thing, and 2022 And we’re, we’re most of the way through the year Reagan to answer your question further and they were like, so what’s going to happen January 1 and I said, you know, I might just extend this moratorium into 2023. We’re kind of enjoying our honeymoon here, you know.

Regan
You know, it feels like the difference between a toxic relationship and a healthy relationship. So surprises are great if it’s birthday parties, but I don’t think the team many teams enjoy surprises if it is constantly changing services initiatives, or what have you. So I think when you get to January, don’t you think communication is a big part of that you could invite them into that conversation? Here’s what I’m looking at. Yes, anything at

Dr. Chad Johnson
all? Yes, Because actually, by simplifying our process, and not chasing shiny stuff, it’s kind of cool that it’s, it’s just like, No, we are if we are a pizza place, and it goes back to the McDonald’s idea to like, if you’re McDonald’s, but then some of the early McDonald’s shops were like, well, you know, we offer hotdogs, and it’s like, no, you’re McDonald’s, you will do McDonald’s, because we do McDonald’s and I loved that about that movie, whatever it was called, you know, where that guy that was really into the process of it a race, race something, but he was way into the process and, and, you know, it wasn’t about like, well, we like doing, you know, donuts on Saturdays.

No, you don’t. You’re McDonald’s. We’re doing Mykonos. Now, if you want to start a shop down the street, do a donut shop but this is McDonald’s, and we’re going to do McDonald’s very well and that was a cool takeaway from that movie.

Victoria Peterson
You know, I gotta love this. I’m, I’m actually getting very excited talking about being boring. Because it’s the fundamentals that really get you through and Reagan, not only are you an amazing podcast, you’re an amazing leader at productive dentist Academy and you do it a different way. You do it in a 90-day plan 120 day plan and look at that, I think I follow your leadership in that you’re much better at that sort of traction, iOS business made simple focus, which is kind of boring to set up those frameworks, I’ve got to fill on my agenda know what I’m talking about.

Regan
It is definitely it’s you know, it’s my passion place. It is 100% boring for anyone who’s a visionary and it’s not the best place for the visionary to sit but it is a great place to have an integrator on the team that is really passionate about that. So I’ve seen the office managers step up to that many times to hold the frame and the structure and you definitely know I’m passionate about the business-made simple frameworks that we bring into our own, you know, Productive Dentist Academy to help us because it’s repeatable. It builds trust with the team, we know what our roles are, and we know what to expect on a repeatable daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

I mean, you know where you’re going, and that should allow freedom when it’s run correctly, that allows the freedom for the visionaries to look forward and go out and see what’s next. Because it’s such a, as a business owner, this is the most dangerous place to be I think we’re doing it’s working well the way it is. So do we just stay the course and if we just stay the course and we don’t evolve and adapt to meet patient needs to incorporate the new science and what is coming out in that realm? Then we fall by the wayside and we get stale.

So it is like this constant dance back and forth and I think the bridge that holds it solid is those operating frameworks. So yes, the way that you hold your structured meetings, and what is said in that morning huddle is absolutely key. gotta call having that delegation in place to know that when the schedule goes off throughout the day, we all have a plan to get us to go anyway. Those pieces to me for visionaries, yes, are very boring but for somebody,

Dr. Chad Johnson
yeah, a good point. Because when I’m saying this, I’m also assuming that the doctors that I’m talking to are coming from the same place that they’ve been progressive for years, I actually know that there’s a good amount of doctors that are going to say, oh, yeah, I like that moratorium on changes.

Just like, wait for a second, you’ve been business constipated for the last 20 years, and not change the dumb thing. Maybe you should also push out of the envelope and say, we’re going to have a year that we change stuff. So fair enough like this needs to be to fit the right person but that those listening to you know, podcasts and looking for the next thing are probably a lot like me. Go ahead, reckon?

Regan
Well, I have I have a different way for you to maybe think about the moratorium if I may.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Why not?

Unknown Speaker
I feel that

Dr. Chad Johnson
it’s going to change

Regan
in the skincare world and when you are do you wash your face? Chadwick?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Never Yeah, I do. I just thought I’d be sassy for a minute but yes, I know where you’re going. You put

Regan
so you wash your face, and you wash it, you rinse it off, and then whatever product you apply, you don’t put your moisturizer on and then your wrinkle cream on and then your spot check like all at once, you can’t do that if you do, it doesn’t have a chance to sink in, permeate and do what it needs to do. So you need to kind of wait before you apply the next product. So that’s what is taught in esthetics schools. So the same I think,

Dr. Chad Johnson
really, no, I, I washed my face but then you asked me,

Regan
I thought so. You, you watch you apply, you let it set. Really what I want you to think about is when you apply a change, you need to let it sink in, you need to make sure that it is adopted at the level with which you think it should be adopted, and that everyone understands what’s going on. Before you introduce. I think it’s not a moratorium on change that you brought about. I think you were saying we have gone through a lot of implementations, correct? Let’s let that set in. Be successful with that and then strategically look forward to what we want to incorporate next

Dr. Chad Johnson
and get Gino Whitman’s traction. I mean, not just to get the book but to get traction. Yeah, to get traction. Implementing that concept? Yes,

Regan
it’s the biggest mistake that I have seen is when you try to put in too many initiatives, you try to change too many things and it’s so difficult to have a lot of compassion for all dentists, and team listing. Anybody who nerds out on dentistry, or whatever it is, you go to an event you get all hyped up.

I myself was like, Oh, what was it I don’t even remember, it was some sleep appliance that I saw at an event down in Arizona and I was like, I’m not even a dentist that I want that right now. So I was like, on the wave of excitement, I would rush home to my practice and be like, let’s get this in. I know how expensive it is but we’ll just make it work. We’ll just change our schedules. Let’s go go go because it’s going to help patients.

That’s a lot of energy for a team to take in. They weren’t there. They don’t understand how this fits into the whole plan. So I think it’s let’s give our leaders a little bit of grace. But

Dr. Chad Johnson
Victoria, that reminds me when you’re talking about investment grade practices when you’re talking about Don’t be a 10 out of 10 like be an eight out of 10. That’s what I just heard.

Victoria Peterson
You know, you’re gonna love this new article I just submitted for dental Entrepreneur Magazine called investment grade communications and I give Doctor two communication tips out of my new book. The first one is how to deal with the what do I call it?

The employee assault? You know, assault, assault, you know, when you’re walking down the hall and they kind of tap you on the shoulder, grab your lab coat and go hey, Dr. Johnson, can I talk to you at the end of the day, and you’re like, freeze, and instantly have 5000 really horrible thoughts about what that could be.

Dr. Chad Johnson
I love your solution to this though.

Victoria Peterson
Yeah. So I teach the stop, drop and roll. Yeah. Then the second one that I taught and that because I can only choose to put in this article, the second constant at a trade show and how do you deal with that? Oh, yeah,

Regan
I mean, you’d be accosted at a trade show. Come to think of it.

Victoria Peterson
Yeah, it’s no, I got a trick. I’ll send that one to you, Chad. You and as soon as the article is published, we’ll get it out through everyday practices channels too as a download for your listeners but there really is a method in this one. You’ll love it because it’s based on being five years old. I know you are but what am I game So when they’re like, Hey, this is what this new sleeve appliance can do for you. This is what this mouthguard can do for you.

Do you go? Well, of course, I know that and I’m gonna give you a great show deal. Well, of course, I know that I know you are. Ah, what else can you do for me? Can you do some training, team training where you give me this and you just start asking for all the ridiculous stuff, and you get it and then you go, you know what, I really have to take this back to my team, they’re the decision-makers say to write all your material, and I’ll take it back to the team and or if you don’t even want to say team, you can say I have a board of directors that I answer to

Dr. Chad Johnson
my leadership team. I mean, that’s what I say, Yeah, I have no capital, it’s along those lines. That, you know, when someone’s come to me and said, Hey, we have a sweet product or sweet service, you should really implement this. Right now. I’m just like, well, they’re not going to approve that this year. So why don’t you get back to me and shoot me an email in January they’re just thinking, What in the world like, you know, this is the best thing since sliced bread but I noticed a lot of sales reps. Expect dentists to be the sole decision maker.

So it’s super easy for them to go straight to the dentist and say, Hey, what do you think about this and that, and for example, with marketing, I love being able to say, Well, my guy, Dean, and my marketing manager, Sarah from PDA is going to evaluate this, and then they’ll get back with you and they’re thinking, What do you mean? Like you don’t choose? Like, I need you to make a decision.

I’m like, oh, they’ll probably get back with you in the next two or three days, you know, business days, but it’s not up to me and they’re just thinking, What do you mean, and it because this has a greater return on investment, then I say, Well, we’ll see if that fits our budget, you know, for this next year and they’re thinking, this guy has a budget, he has people in charge, you know, and what’s cool about that is it goes back to my decision making on it is actually boring. I don’t go to the team and say, Hey, I have exciting news. We’re gonna be in the yellow pages now. Okay.

Victoria Peterson
Circa 1987. Right, right.

Regan
Wow, the Yellow Pages. Do you know how empowering that is to the team? I bet you do. I mean, I’m sure that’s why you do it, Chad but it gets allows you to delegate, allows you to delegate but it also empowers the team, you’re trusting them, you’re making them part of that process. You’re getting their buy-in from it. I mean, those elements are pretty darn critical to allow it to run like an iPhone in the background, like Victoria was saying, you trust that it will work. You don’t even think about the details of it. It keeps you out of micromanagement that way. Yeah.

Victoria Peterson
Yeah, I love the boring basics. I have a budget, I have a leadership team that I report to, and we have to see how we could predictably integrate this into our systems, and we need to plan our training time. That’s not just the cost of implementing it’s all the boring background stuff that makes everything else so exciting. When you get it right then you go out to a movie you have a picnic, you know, go to the lake, you take a vacation, you go to Disney World, you go to the corn Palace, you know, every you do

Regan
the corn Palace, wow.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Mitchell, South Dakota to the car dozens.

Victoria Peterson
So you didn’t overbudget yourself in terms of time, money, or effort. So now you have all of that energy and resource to pour into your life and those things that are fun. So that’s, that’s what being boring some about.

Dr. Chad Johnson
You know, I thought of a John Kois. Quote, and it’s a loose quote because I don’t have it written down right here but he said something along the lines of everything improvised and he’s talking clinically, but it’s the same, but he says everything that’s improvised, was planned and on purpose.

He felt so and it’s kind of a joke, but, you know, he says, if it seems like, you know if you were watching as a fly on the wall, as though I just said a, an improvised comment. It was planned. It was on purpose.

You know, my joke, that would seem, you know, it’s been planned ahead of time. It’s, you know, like, everything that I’m saying is intentional and he brings that back to the dental history. If I can be predictable and get people’s health history, dental history, and then you know, with an evaluation, I’ll be able to have predictable results because he wants predictability and he’s teaching dentists don’t have exciting outcomes have predictable outcomes, right? It’s the same thing with your business. So a beautiful idea, Victoria.

Victoria Peterson
Well, John Kois does the rest. That’s right. Predictability is a very good thing. We could rip in so many different directions. You know, I used to play improvisational jazz and You know, when people are improving and they’re ripping, you know, it doesn’t blow your mind is like, whoa, you just took me on into space and you came back and the band was right there waiting for you and you just synchronize, right? It’s all improv.

I used to teach improv speaking, all improv is very planned. It’s when you’ve mastered your art, then you can begin to improvise, or what appears to be improvisation is really a master at the height of their game. Yes and that’s what people don’t see and so they’re like, Oh, you just wing it. You just improvise and I go, I do. Wow but that’s a master at the top of their game. Right are such a disciplinary

Regan
formula to that. Victoria, you. You gave me the greatest visual, I see that. In many of our doctors, I definitely see it in Bruce and I see it in chat also. So I’ve always wondered this about Chad, because, well, you’ve got it’s interesting, you have figured out that this it’s a discipline formula, for sure. Because not and you’ve heard this if you’ve listened to this podcast, you guys have heard this before Chad, you are a dentist, you’re a business owner, you’re also a really accomplished cyclist and you play instruments and you know, multiple languages.

Any time I see you decide you’re gonna go after a new hobby, you seem to be able to lock it in and be able to get quite a bit of traction on it. I think that’s really interesting and for your sake, Victoria, you know, in building that business, that is boring. I think also shifting perspective a little bit to that and thinking of instead of the adrenaline rush of success, predictable success, maybe just closing some big cases, looking at it from an aggressive investment grade practice point of view, and moving that dial to me, that would be exciting.

Victoria Peterson
Regan, you had the words a few minutes ago, if anybody wants to backup this podcast, I was gonna say backup tape. You said I love being boring because it means it’s repeatable and predictable, and freedom comes from that. So I love that it is anything that makes things repeatable, predictable, and durable, it’s going to last. We just, we just

Regan
gave all your listeners, we just gave you many, many big bullet points of advice on how to make your business boring and make your life much more fun and give you much more freedom. Victoria.

Victoria Peterson
Any last parting thoughts? Yeah, we’ll wrap it up around change. You can’t change the whole world but you can change the life of you can change the whole world for one person. So just keep focusing on that, you know, as I go into my office, how do I make my dental assistants the whole day today?

How do I find one patient that I can just make their day? As for me, I’m not in the office any longer. So I travel, you know, and I will go to the airport with a bouquet of flowers so that I can give flowers away or I do little things like that. So little acts of kindness can really help change the world. View torium on that. No.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Right and your closing thoughts.

Regan
I love our roundtable sessions. Thank you, Dr. Victoria Peterson. It’s always a pleasure to be able to just digest and dissect and talk about business. It’s been it’s really fantastic. Fantastic many years with you and I look forward to many more discussions about how we get to make business boring and predictable. So we all get the freedom we deserve.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Yay. Well, everyone, thanks for being great listeners today. If you have any questions, share those on our Facebook forum when we post this or something along the line, or perhaps come to our workshop in September or March and we’ll see you there in person.

Regan
Thank you, Chad. That is so nice and soft. Come to the workshop and come to the Investment Grade Practice Summit. Check us out. Productivedentist.com Yeah, no. Thanks, everybody. Thank you for listening to another episode of the Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every week. Thanks to our community of listeners just like you and we’d love your help. It would mean the world if you can help spread the word by sharing this episode with a fellow dentist and leaving us a review on iTunes or Spotify. Do you have an extraordinary story you’d like to share? Or feedback on how we can make this podcast even more awesome. Drop us an email at podcast@productivedentist.com and don’t forget to check out our other podcasts from productive debt Just Academy at productivedentists.com/podcasts See you next week

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