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Episode 5 – Deeper Dive: Delegate Like Eisenhower

“You can’t do everything…having that leadership view of your goals helps you identify what’s really important.”  

As a dental practice owner, life is beyond busy. And busy is really the antithesis of being productive. So how do you slow life down so that you get things done?

The first thing to do is go back into what you’re building. What is the vision of where you want to be 2, 5, 10 years down the road? What are you building? When you always keep your North compass in front of you it’s easier to stay aligned with what’s urgent, important, and necessary, and ignore the distractions.

Success requires support. So how do you put the people side of the profit equation into play? Because when we’re talking about priorities and getting things done, it really is the interaction with what needs to get done and who is going to do it:

  • Apply the Eisenhower principle to your priorities
  • Find your support: what can be trained and delegated?
  • Are you making smart decisions when you delegate?

Learn more about the Eisenhower matrix.


You can’t do everything. Focus on one thing, then move to the next. What wise words we heard from Rani Ben-David on our last episode. And that’s what I want to dive into today is how do we set priority as a dental practice owner, life is beyond busy and busy is really the antithesis of being productive. So how do you slow life down so that you get things done? That’s what we’re going to focus on today. And the first thing to do is again, go back into what you’re building. What is the vision of where I will be? Two years, five years, 10 years down the line? What am I building towards? When you always keep your North compass in front of you? It’s easier to stay aligned with what’s urgent, important and necessary.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today is how do I put the people side of the profit equation into play? Because when we’re talking about priorities and getting things done, it really is the interaction with what needs to get done and who is going to do it. So that’s our focus here on this episode of Investment Grade PracticesTM. It’s more of how do I build my winning lifestyle today.

And many people have focused this have attributed this concept to Stephen Covey. But back in the days, President Eisenhower actually came up with the Eisenhower matrix, where you look at what is important versus urgent. And I will pop a link here so that you can all look this up on your own. But, you know, being President of the United States, he was the 34th. President during World War Two, there was more than any one human could tackle at a time. And he had a specific way of looking at what do I get done today? What do I delegate, what do I schedule out. And if you can picture an x, y grid, I’m sure many of you have seen this. The urgency scale is going horizontal from urgent to non urgent, and then importance from non important, vertically up to the top of important.

If I’m looking at this grid, in the upper left hand corner would be those things that are urgent, and those things that are important. Most of the time, we’re in reactive mode, right? And so the things that are distracting, the non important non urgent, those distractions or white get our time, you know, the long conversations that were better had after hours rather than during the work day. So in the first quadrant, you want to do these things first, what are those things that are important to accomplish, but are very time sensitive. So for example, getting your taxes completed, you know, your CPA can’t do their work until you’ve completed your packet.

Here’s a pro tip on that. We make sure that we’re tax ready every month, your bookkeeper and CPA can work with your practice administrators to make sure that everything is tied through from your practice management software, your accounts receivables, your budget payments, along with all the bill pay and bookkeeping reconciliation, in a way, probably take an hour a month. But they can do that in a way so that at the end of the year, it literally takes you one to three hours to be tax ready for your CPA. So that’s what I mean by what is important and urgent. Keeping up with those types of things each month, prevent you from having a huge project at the end of the year.

So anything that includes a deadline, it’s an emergency, it’s an urgent problem. If the patient’s bleeding in your chair that’s urgent, that’s important. We need to take care of that. And our marketing plan is probably less urgent and important at that time. When making decisions about what goes in each box, I would say don’t put more than five to eight things in each category. So you can have up to eight, urgent, important things, it’s a great place just to do a mind meld and put those things there in the upper right hand corner would be the important, but less urgent. I have time I have two days, five days, 30 days to get these things done. And the class that we teach a business impact, we’re actually helping you develop a two year roadmap so that you can look 24 months out, this is where I want to be. If that’s the case, where would I need to be in 12 months, six months, three months, what are my top two priorities in these three months, having that longer view that leadership view of where you’re going, helps you really identify what’s important, and what needs to get done Now, what I can schedule for another time.

So goal setting, building relationships, growth conferences, with your team, a vendor relationships, things like that, that can all be planned out and scheduled, so that it brings down the urgency of it. Now, below the line conversations, we often talk that leadership is above the line management is below the line. So you’re below the line issues are those things that aren’t as important for you to do. I’m not saying they’re not important, I’m just saying they’re not important in the scheme of things for your priorities as an owner. So a lot of the management pieces are there, you know, following up on patient care, making sure the lab bills are reconciled. Managing PTO vacation schedules with the team comes to you for things like that, you know, it’s a below the line management issue. It’s important, but those are things that could be delegated and trained.

So right now, I want you to start taking notes. If you’re listening to this, and you’ve got a pen and paper and things are coming into your head, oh yeah, I need to do this, this and this and this. And this, just start flooding a piece of paper mind, melt it out. And then we’re going to put those into categories.

Meetings are a big disruption to our day. So any, any meeting you can delegate to others and get yourself out of and get a report back to I’d highly recommend that. And then the final quadrant, the lower, lower, lower right are things that probably should never be done at all. So how are you vetting, busy work and time wasters, entertainment, games, Facebook, social media, dental, town, all of those things. If you find yourself tracking throughout your day, during your business hours, wandering into that territory, kind of take a breath and say, Why? You know, these are all procrastination techniques. These are ways of self soothing, of easing our mind of decreasing stress. So it may be a great time, if you find yourself in those time wasters time suck kind of things. Just to sit back, take a deep breath and go, what do I really need, you know, maybe you need a day off, maybe you need to go play golf, maybe you need to pick up the phone and call a friend and schedule some personal downtime and decompression time.

I know what I’m procrastinating with busy work and I’ve lost, you know, half an hour an hour, two hours to something mindless during the middle of my day, it’s usually an indication that my own self care my own mental decompression needs a bit of attention. So those are the four quadrants, I will send you a link in the comment sections here too. So writing down, everything that’s on your mind to get done is the first step because it frees your mind space to be more creative. And as a business owner to develop an investment grade practice, you want your mental space, in the creative mode, as much as prop as possible.

That’s where our executive brain function is. It’s in the prefrontal cortex. When we’re in reaction mode, we’re in our amygdala, we’re in our ancient brain fight or flight or free, freeze or flee. So in my experience, the more I allow myself to make decisions, when I’m in my fight or flight, that adrenaline rush to urgent, give me an answer today, right now, this minute, I would say that nine out of 10 times those are not my best decisions. Using the Eisenhower matrix, to first determine what is important and important is different for everyone. How is it important to your business? How is it important to your life and in this matrix, I would encourage you to have both your business and your personal aspirations on these lists. So that You balance out your time, something may be really important in the business.

And it’s your son’s soccer game. And it’s the first one of the season or it’s the last one of the season, that could take priority. And be more important when you put it all together, life and work. Because it really is all one. When you put it all together, then you can make better decisions about where I put my focus. Because where your focus is, your energy goes. I’ll say that again. Where I focus is where my energy goes. And where my energy goes is where the action takes place.

And that’s what you want to really create within your business is that momentum of planned importance, plan priority and action. Remember, investment grade practice is all about living the life of your dream today the life that you deserve. Its wealthy, and it’s rich, not only financially, but it really is more about the people side of the profit equation. If you can get that right, what is the thing that only I can do? What is important for me to do? What are the things that can be delegated?

Who has the skill set for me to delegate? I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes I see dentists make is that they delegate by proximity, meaning I found somebody walking down the hall, they looked handy. They looked at or genetic today. So I said, Hey, will you take care of this? They have no clue how to do it. And they’re gonna say yes, because they want to please you. Most people don’t. But dental office are people pleasers. So you have to be very mindful about how you delegate and who you delegate to. So I use this head heart and gut check. And when that lines up, 80% I know I could make the decision and move forward.

I do the same thing with who I’m delegating to. Do they have the intellectual capability, the skill set the training that they need to get this job done? Is their heart in it? Is it part of their passion for me? Can I balance a checkbook? You betcha I sure can. Do I have the capacity to do that all the time as my number one job? No way, I’d be so bored, I would mess it up. I would subconsciously sabotage myself. That’s why I have a bookkeeper. So is it in their heart and their passion? And then on a gut level? Does it just feel right? That this is the person that you would trust with those those initiatives. So looking for champions in your practice, is the best way to extend value beyond yourself. And Vincent Cardillo brought that up. First, understand how you bring value, and then understand how you can extend that value through others, getting them into their purpose.

So delegating isn’t about dumping things on others, which is what most of us do, we just grab a big old box of things to do, we dump it on somebody’s desk and say, That’s yours. And we we never look back until we’re past deadline. So becoming a great leader. prioritizing your time going back to what Ronnie said, you can’t do everything. You can’t be the manager and the photographer, and the doctor and the business owner and the CPA and all of that. So focus on one thing, each quarter, and tackle that and master that, then move to the next and the next. That way you know that in the course of a year, you can accomplish four to eight major initiatives, you know, one quarter at a time, understanding where your two year roadmap is going to lead you can help you understand where your focus needs to be today, and three months, six months, 12 months.

Thank you for joining me on investment grade practice I truly to believe that every entrepreneur every business owner deserves to live the life of their own design and creation today while building an asset for tomorrow, taking Rani’s advice of focusing on one thing at a time, using the Eisenhower matrix to understand what is urgent and important. The things that only you can do will help you free up creative time creative thinking time. It’s your vision. It’s your practice. It’s your life. Live it well.

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