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

November 2nd, 2022

Episode 162 – Stop the Micromanagement!: How the Power of Your Leadership Mindset Can Empower Your Team with Dr. Danny Nguyen

“I said I trusted them but did I really trust them?” ~Dr. Danny Nguyen

Are you feeling burned out? Is your team causing you extra stress and headache? Do you feel like you have to constantly hover over them and tell them what to do…and they still don’t get it right? It’s exhausting and discouraging. 

We get it. Leading a team is hard. In fact, it’s probably the most challenging part of owning your own dental practice. The problem is, without your team, you struggle more. You burn out faster. 

But here’s the thing, dentistry is so much more fun with an empowered team! Just imagine going to work and having fun with them. Wouldn’t life be so much better if you all worked together, enjoyed your day, and then could go out for margaritas after? It is possible! So how can you get there?

Well, we love to make your lives easier! So today Dr. Chad is joined by Dr. Danny Nguyen who is sharing his first-hand experience of moving from micromanagement to empowerment of his team in an authentic, honest discussion so you can see how you and your team can recapture your love of dentistry, including:

  • The role emotional intelligence plays in your leadership journey
  • The power of rediscovering your purpose
  • How to shift your mindset and management of your team

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

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Dr. Chad Johnson
Hey, everybody, this is Chad Johnson and I’m doing a solo gig today without regen. The good news is I’ve got a special guest that I’ve known for a few years, Danny when Danny is from Texas and Danny tells us what town it is. I forget the town’s name. It’s near Dallas Fort Worth, right? Yeah,

Dr. Danny Nguyen
so it’s near the south of Dallas Fort Worth. It’s called Midlothian, Texas. Have you ever seen Chris Kyle’s American Sniper? That’s where he’s from? So we have a highway called Chris Kyle there.

Dr. Chad Johnson 1:28
Oh, very cool. Very cool. Well, I appreciate you coming on today. You kind of have an interesting story that other people, I think it’ll resonate with them. Why don’t you give us some background as far as you getting your office and stuff like that?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yeah. So I left school dental school, I went into dental school with, you know, a little so at that time, 10 year old, I had two kids at the time to a couple of years prior to so I came out of school and I was like I might my heart really is telling me that I want to be a practice owner. That’s the lifestyle I want. That’s the direction I want to go. So I shopped around, I looked around for a dental practice, even while I was in dental school, I learned a lot about practice ownership and then I jumped into practice practice ownership, probably about six months out of school, five or six months out of school and so I yep, that’s where I started, it was just a small, you know, for off practice and it was doing general dentistry bread and butter and it that was about three years ago, in my my, I think it was a second year anniversary was literally the day that Texas closed down because of COVID. So it was, like, revisit, no, that was my first year. Yeah, it was my first year, my the anniversary of my first year and it was like, Okay, everyone close down as COVID I was just like, you know, crapping my pants and like so stressed out about everything but it was an as we all were, yes and so that’s that was back in 2020 2021 or something 20. So,

Dr. Chad Johnson
so two problems that you wanted to showcase, or that we want to kind of showcase in your story. The first one, we’ll get to the second one but the first one, why don’t you tell us about micromanagement and what led up to that word being a key word and your discovery of your, your leadership skills in the last year or two?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yeah, so I at at one point, micromanagement probably worked for where I was at at the time sure, even a school guns blazing. Um, so I know all this about practice ownership and the way it should be the way it should look like the most efficient way so I had all these ideas in my head and I would implement it with my team and it worked. We grew quickly and it worked but it there was only so much that my team could handle before I started noticing like Okay, I’m getting a team members are getting frustrated and burned out because I was ending up managing all these little little things like it wouldn’t annoy me when the birds were off or it would annoy me if their checklist wasn’t finished or you know all these things were micromanage for the most part but it’s not like I did it absolutely that my team still didn’t listen

Dr. Chad Johnson
you’re in good company when when Dennis hear this this will resonate with them because they’re like, What is that wrong?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
And honestly, it’s like I said, I trusted them. I said I trusted them but did I really trust them? Because to me at the time I was like yeah, of course I trust them but this is just my standards. These are just my where I set my Bara and it’s like in I’m allowing them to meet it. Like really that that was me mentally and I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with that but um as You know, things progressed, the micromanaging, I didn’t consider it micromanaging less the truth of it.

Dr. Chad Johnson
I was your standard,

Dr. Danny Nguyen
I get it my standard and it was just like, hey, let’s just work on this. Let’s do this and you’re missing.

Dr. Chad Johnson
We’re living by the trust, but verify. Yes, trust but

Dr. Danny Nguyen
verify but it all came from me. Sure.

Dr. Chad Johnson
Oh, sounds so virtuous, doesn’t it?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yes, I know, it all came from me, like, I created all these standards, I truly did these protocols, not just need you guys to do it and perform it, that’s a whole, there’s a whole I will create it and you guys would just go and just trust the process. It’ll work out.

Dr. Chad Johnson
So the repercussions to how did that play into your AR? And, you know, I also you, you were kind of explaining about insurance not getting filed correctly. Tell us what what you were finding out about that.

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yeah. So um, so with AR and my finances, it was me, really not trusting my team members and treating them, instead of treating them like my family and people that I can trust and rely on trust, but verify, I was treating them. Like, I still saw them as a number, I still treated them as a number of subconsciously and for me, I let go, I lost some really great team members that got me where I was at, because I didn’t I saw money. Instead, I saw them as $1. I saw them as you’re not doing what I need to do based off of your dollar amount and I was honestly, it was just out of my scarcity mindset.

Dr. Chad Johnson
And this, this wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t have bills to pay, right? I mean, what I’m saying is I get it, you know, if if we had all of our bills paid, and it was just like, oh, we had a bad month. Oh, I sure appreciate you guys for trying. That’s neat and all, but there is a lot of stress that we feel as dentists with, you know, getting the bills paid and getting the business mortgage paid, and then you’ve got home stuff and you’ve got, you know, there’s a lot of pressure. So I get that,

Dr. Danny Nguyen
as I was learning all these things and I was implementing, and I came back from CES and I was like, What’s the point of all this, like, oh, you can do this, you do this, and you can hit this number and this profitability, which is all great, we need that in order to run the business but for me, at the end of the day, I was like, but what’s the point like my family never starve. They never start, they will always be house. I’ve worked with two kids went to college, first one, go to dental school, got a practice, I did all these things that I thought I needed to do in order to be successful, to be fulfilled and to provide for my family but it wasn’t what I found at the end of the road. What I found at the end of the road where I was at was I just felt more frustrated and I felt more confused, and less fulfilled than I did when I was starting that journey. I don’t even

Dr. Chad Johnson
think it was burnout or like early burnout.

Dr. Danny Nguyen
I don’t I don’t I don’t it could be early burnout but I think it was the loss of purpose. Sure and yeah, I think you could say, hey, it was a loss of it could be, you know, some burnout with it but I didn’t feel safe stressed in the office as much as I was like, what, you know what? I would say yes, it was some burnout with all the decisions with all the different time. Yeah, it was different but I was getting my significance from being a practice owner and being a doctor and it worked but it also didn’t work when it bled onto my family, where I felt like I wasn’t able to be there and be present for my family and I was like, what I thought I’m doing all these things and this is where the results I’m getting you guys will never starve and XYZ but my family was not fulfilled. I wasn’t fulfilled in my family.

Dr. Chad Johnson
So this is also interesting. Sometimes in this vein, I think of if you had a sports car, and someone said, you know, you could take that from 600 horsepower to 1000 horsepower if you did this and that and then you Okay, well, no, that’s, that’s cool. That makes sense. So let’s make the changes on the vehicle and then, and then it’s like, okay, now I can I can use all 1000 horsepower, and someone says, Well, what you need is better tires, then you switch out better tires, and then it’s like, well, you know, what you need to help with aerodynamics is this and that and so you right, and so it never ends but then the question just becomes, wait a second, but why when can I enjoy this vehicle that I know that I can punch it the whole time? But like, Can I maybe take it out on a country drive occasionally and just enjoy it?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yes. Oh, where am I going to go?

Dr. Chad Johnson
Why the what’s the purpose, right? Just to just to rev the engine and blow it up. I mean, you know, like, that’s neat and all but like for what final goal All right and so, hey, tell me to, you know, so I you had written down in your bio that you kind of you that you came, you know, your mom was a single mom, I’ve heard it said before that there’s a lot of pressure for Asian Americans, you know, especially when they’re first generation second generation, they’ve got a lot of cultural pressure. Can you explain to an Iowa guy like me what that would mean, you know, because I’ve heard it before but what’s it mean to you, that cultural pressure.

Dr. Danny Nguyen
So my story, we have that cultural pressure, but mine was a little slightly different in that. I always saw my parents like my mom was kind of like the sole breadwinner, and caretaker for all five of us and she would work six days a week from like, nine o’clock until like eight o’clock every day and I will help out in the summer times and on my breaks and my weekends, I would go out there and help her since I was like 13 years old. So I’ve always seen her just kind of grit after it, like day after day, just gritting after it, and but for me, what really, it wasn’t the cultural norm because my father was like, he, you know, he, he wasn’t very, he was there, but he wasn’t there. He was like, he had a gambling addiction and so he was never really present with myself and my, my brothers and my mom worked all the time but I had a kid when I was about 1617 years old. So I had my first son with my wife now of today’s actually our anniversary, our 17 year anniversary, happy anniversary, cool but I had a son very early, and I wanted to take care of them.

I wanted to make sure they were taking care of my wife and her and our son and so that was kind of the pressure that I laid on myself and my pressure wasn’t like Asian parents being like you got to do all perfect race. Sure, was the fact that I just didn’t want to be like, I didn’t want to be my dad. I didn’t want to be not educated and ended up going into something that just gives me significance, but then destroy my family ended up with the exact same thing but in business, yes. In my practice.

Dr. Chad Johnson
No, that that’s, that’s interesting. So your mom’s tenacity then led to you a good life lesson, right?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Work ethic? Yes, yeah, it was just Asian, like, regimented and like, it’s only one way is black and white. You do it this way. You don’t do it at all kind of thing and it was just, she was just, she’s so she is a badass woman, but she can be very like her way. Sure.

Dr. Chad Johnson
So tell me I mean, you know, did you recognize when you reached out for productive dentist Academy to help with coaching or when you went to the workshops where I met you, did you recognize at that moment yet, that you were a micromanager? Cuz, listen, I mean, you’re, you’re in good company in dentistry with micromanager. So I would you have realized it at that point or or not quite yet. No, I

Dr. Danny Nguyen
think I, I I did not realize really that I was that much of a micromanager

Dr. Chad Johnson
might be a little problem on the we have severe going on holidays.

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yeah. So yes. When I went to productive dentist Academy, I was like, for me, it was like, hey, there’s I don’t know everything and I need to seek out some answers from Godwin Gauss, that have been doing it a little bit further, like much stuff before. Yeah and then learn from them and so yeah, my first run at PDA, I was just like, wow, we’re working way too hard. Like we there’s definitely a better way in order to schedule and to give patients a great experience and do comprehensive care and focus on the team.

Dr. Chad Johnson
The Doctor Bruce resonate with you when he talked about how he had messed up so many times over the years with his, you know, staff and everything like that. Do you remember that being like, yeah,

Dr. Danny Nguyen
yeah. Oh, yes. I would say he was definitely on the higher end of it. Of course, you know, in but yes, I definitely resonated with it and it resonated more after PDA too, as I caught myself doing it more and I was like, Oh, I’m not being like, Yes, I could say that’s like being a leader and you know, having high standards, but but are you really leading if you’re walking in front and no one’s following you? Or are you just taking a walk? Yep. Yep. So

Dr. Chad Johnson
what was the game changer? Like what changed about your, your vision casting?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yeah, so for me, it was a just Diego’s supporting me and connecting me with great doctors who are leading their teams and leading themselves. I got to develop a lot of emotional intelligence and really, you’re out a lot of barriers in me mentally that I didn’t even realize was there that was holding me back and so as I went through that process, and went through this kind of self discovery and self, analyzing self examining about who I am, in my leadership, I found out through doing the work and just continued to learn about myself, then I was like, Wow, I’m still my I don’t think my team is on the same page as me. I don’t think they really hear and understand me, because I dictated what everything was from the very beginning, and for me, I was like, people are not going to hold on to what they don’t discover, understand and create in themselves but in order to do that, I have to communicate and trust them, I have to trust the team, that they want the same thing and put people in the right seats for the right, the right people in the right seats.

Dr. Chad Johnson
This is a weird question but do you see yourself more humble than a couple of years ago? Because of how you’ve positioned yourself from that experts that self exploration? Yes,

Dr. Danny Nguyen
I am. Not saying nothing without my team but it’s so pointless. Without my team like it, I work so much harder, I burn out so much faster. I just can’t handle very much but when I get to go to work, have fun doing it, have fun with my patients and have fun with my team and laugh and have margaritas afterwards. Yeah, and just kind of shoot the camera a little bit and have our jokes and funds and knowing things are being taken care of. Before I even even it doesn’t even touch me, it’s already been taken care of in my interest, because everyone is on the same page and I don’t have to micromanage. So what’s leadership, do you my leadership for me is always still casting the vision. Like without a vision, without you are not a leader without efficient. You’re a dreamer. So getting clear on your vision about where you want to go. That’s part of leadership and the rest of it is just growing the people and serving the people that is going in the same direction with you in your vision.

Dr. Chad Johnson
So I’m thinking about, you know, right people, right seats, delegation leadership, and handing off the micromanagement and stuff like that. Those seem to be the keywords that I’ve got. Is there anything else that over the last couple of years that we haven’t quite covered so far as the history of it, you know, like some good valuable lessons that you’ve learned? Because it’s, it’s good to talk about, you know, recently in a podcast about a month ago, I was sharing, you know, that as much as I’ve heard other people saying, Wow, this was, you know, 2021 was a great year and I’m like, Well, you know, honestly, it wasn’t a great year. For me, it’s just okay but I’ve learned a lot from it and I’m growing from it furthermore, some Thank you very much for coming on. Because, like, when I was giving the monologue about it, the idea was that we can, we can let other people learn from it. By sharing our story, and by being transparent, not everyone can share their story. I guess this would be a good plug if you are listening, and you resonate with my podcast monologue from a month ago, Danny’s story, and you would like to share it, by all means, feel free to reach out to us to come on the podcast but So in conclusion, while always thinking is there any other kind of habit or? or whatever that you wish you had known earlier?

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Yes. One of the big ones. So I’m in a big accurately. Right now, I’m in a big AR, like, obstacle challenge, and I kind of alluded to earlier, but the origins of that was, hey, you know what, I can just, you know, brings anybody on and just train them how to do the front and they’ll be great at it, because I did it for my assistants, and I did it for my hygienist and it worked to you know what, maybe I can even probably, you know, pay them less to do it and, you know, they’ll still do a great job, because I’ll just show him how to do it and it’s just as simple as that and no, it’s not.

Dr. Chad Johnson
No, it’s not. No, it’s,

Dr. Danny Nguyen
it’s worth it to invest. Again in the right people for the right seats. Yeah. Because, like right now, I was sitting in I was like, over like 100 Something in overdue, like AR and I was like MIT This is terrible. That puts a damper on everything. Are we gonna be okay? Yes, we will be fine. I am working it out. It’ll be fine but was it worth all the headache because I was eight and prideful you know, be back possibly too cheap see, can see the value and other people in what they contribute and seeing myself as the guy who can do it all? Like, I look back and I’m like if I just trust the team, I had put a couple of systems in place and truly trusted them and verified, we wouldn’t have that problem, but it’s okay. Because you are not your results. You are what you’re committed to. I am who I’m committed to and it’s just a learning lesson. It’s just an obstacle that I get to learn from. It’s an opportunity. Yeah,

Dr. Chad Johnson
listeners, I just want to make sure that, you know, you’ve heard some of the keywords, you know, if you identify with micromanagement, if you identify with, you know, finding the right people for the right seats, casting the vision, increasing your leadership organically, using delegation, you know, learning from your mistakes, Dan, you’ve had a lot to share here that, you know, helps people. Maybe identity first identify that I appreciate you coming on today. Thank you for joining us, listeners, if you have any comments that you’d like to talk about. Maybe I can have you write those questions below on the Facebook page for productive dentist Academy and we can get those questions to Danny and he can respond to those foods. So feel free to organically get involved and figure out where you are on your journey. So thanks for joining us today on everyday practices. Danny. Thank you so much, buddy.

Dr. Danny Nguyen
Thanks, Chad. Appreciate it, man.

Regan
Hello, Regan Robertson here from Productive Dentist Academy. Do you ever have that nagging feeling that you deserve more, more case acceptance more time with your family, and more profit without sacrificing excellent patient care? I have great news for you. You can join your favorite PDA podcast hosts Dr. Chad Johnson, Dr. Bruce B. Baird, Dr. Victoria Peterson, and myself at a PDA productivity workshop in 2023. This is a full emergency where we give you the resources and tools you desire. So you can align your team streamline your systems and consistently produce more without raising your fees and without more time in the chair. This is the nation’s number one dental business course and the best part is this program guarantees your dental practice growth. We have two events in 2023 March 2 to the fourth and September 28. To the 30th fair warning, these events fail quickly. March is already half full as I record this, so grab your registration today. If you have to have it right now you can email directly Brent brent@productivedentist.com. To save your seat and hurry these events fill fast.

Thank you for listening to another episode of the Everyday Practices Podcast. Chad and I are here every weeks. 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 leave 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 dentist Academy at prodictivedentists.com/podcasts See you next week.

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