“It’s all part of being a leader, how you communicate with your team; the more clear you are about where you want to go, the easier it is to get team buy-in.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird
One of the most daunting tasks most dentists face is leading their team.
You didn’t sign up for dentistry to be the target for a team of frustrating, annoying, petty people to throw their complaints and irritations at.
The truth is, your team probably doesn’t wake up every day thinking about how they can make your life difficult. In fact, you probably have an awesome team! The problem is they don’t understand what you want or how they contribute to the success of the practice.
So what can you do?
My goal is to help make the lives of independent dental practice owners easier. Today I’m going to answer your recent questions about leadership, including:
- I think I’m being clear with the team about my vision, but they don’t seem to understand. What do I do?
- What things do I keep an eye on in my office that show I need to improve my leadership?
- We’ve gotten a few patient complaints. How do I handle that?
Dr. Bruce Baird
Hi, this is Dr. Bruce Baird with the Productive Dentist Podcast today we’re going to talk a little bit about some questions that I’ve been getting and thought I would share that information with all the listeners. One question that we got was when defining where I want to go with my team, I don’t feel like I’m clear in my communication with the team and that, you know, that can be a real, real problem because and I’ve been there when you believe that you’ve told them what your vision is, and what your dreams for your practice are but you know, you may know it crystal clear, but they may not understand it. I remember when I came back with some new training and thinking about how to schedule and how to do certain things in the practice.
I just laughed at myself because I just figured that they knew it and I did a little bit of explaining and just expected it to be commonplace for our scheduling. So you know what I had to do, once I realized that I wasn’t doing a good job communicating with my team is to literally have that sit down. training and doing role-playing and doing, you know, this is the vision but for many dentists, this comes down to how am I as a leader, you know, how am I doing as a leader and that’s something that is it’s all a part of being a leader is how do you communicate with a team? How do you communicate with patients? How do you get patient enrollment? How do you get people that are uncommon? We’ve talked about it so often Uh, in the productive dentist podcast series, but you know, so it’s super important for you, you and that’s one of the things we do at our foundation’s course, to give you a crystal clear vision of where you want to go and a lot of times we don’t have that crystal clear vision, you know, we’re not sure.
I always knew that I wanted to have what I called a model practice. What was a model practice? Well, in my mind, a model practice was one thing, but what does that actually mean for your team, what’s a model practice to them, it may mean something totally different and that’s really were getting the team enrolled in your thought process, getting your team enrolled in the dream you have for the practice, and to get them excited about that direction of your practice and this, I mean, this can happen, whether you’re just starting your practice, I think it’s easier when you’re just starting out to get a clear vision of where you want to go. Because a lot of times, if you’ve been a practice owner for years, you know, many of us lost our way, you know, we’re just working, we’re making good money and, you know, there’s just not a lot of I don’t know, there’s just not a lot of leadership that that, that we’re, we’re trying to get somewhere we’re not, we’re not trying to get to be a better practice. We’re not trying to be a model practice, or whatever it is and our team has a tendency to kind of be all over the place and so that’s why I feel like it’s so important for you to establish those leadership skills but how do I define where I want to go with my team, you have to be crystal clear on where you want to go first, then you can begin to talk to the team and I think it’s super important to be able to say, what do you think about that and when I first started this, I had meetings first with a couple of my administrators, people who I trusted
a couple of mentors to help me determine exactly where I wanted to go, what type of collections that I wanted to have, I looked at all the systems in my practice, I had been to plenty of continuing education. So I had ideas about each one but they have to be concrete, it has to be this is the way we’re going to go. I know Jeff Boesky, my partner, and I, would always plan for the next year and we would always look at all the systems that we had and that’s what drove our training for the team. On and before Jeff and I were partners, I did that on my own. This is where we want to be, I’d like to have my collections at 98 99%. And often we ran well over 100% Because of pre-pre collecting things that we were doing. It might be how do we follow up with insurance? How do we? How do we file our insurance? How do we look at accounts receivable?
What is our recare? Procedures? How do we do that? And so going through and you know, there’s not that many systems and dental practice, you know, you have inventory supplies, you have those things, but you’ve got to be crystal clear on all of those things and those are the things that we talk about a lot of productive dentist Academy, why? Because the more clear you are about where you want to go, the easier it is to enroll your team and to get buy-in from them, and without buying from your team, you are literally fighting a battle. That is, you know, one step forward, two steps back three steps forward, two steps back, you’re not there’s no clear direction. It would be like going on a trip, you’re not exactly sure where you’re going and so you just follow the sun did you go the fastest route there? Maybe? Maybe not, you know, and so those are the things that I’m constantly looking at, you know, what is good leadership look like this. Let’s talk about this was another question. What are three things in your office that show you need to improve your leadership and strategies? Well, you know, when you start seeing your accounts receivable going way up when you start to see recare, with people not showing up for the recare appointments, when you start to see metrics change, those are the things that can show you, oh, we have a problem in this arena. That’s why I’ve always loved having a practice that was metrically driven, meaning I look at a certain group of numbers.
You also have to look and see. So one of the things is metrics, knowing your metrics number two is just having a good sense So what’s the esprit de corps? What is the general attitude of my team? Are they? Are they all in? Are they always do they have positive feedback, is, are they having fun? You know, and that’s something else as a leader, you know, if your team’s not having fun, if they’re not enjoying things, if it’s just the drudgery of a job when they get a little sore throat, they don’t show up, when they have something one of their kids is sick, you know, they don’t look for that person to watch them. It’s just they’re not committed.
They’re not committed to your practice there. I mean, and I’m not saying people should not take care of their kids or not take care of themselves. I don’t want sick people at the office but What’s critical is, I mean, I’ve got a team where I don’t, you know, it didn’t matter, they found ways to be in the office, always and so those are those, those are two of the things that I can right off the top of the head. What’s the third thing that affects me as far as leadership, if I see total office complaints going up, in other words, a patient upset about this or patient upset about that, or patient ups. As a leader, what I’m doing is, I’m calling these training opportunities, as if a patient had a problem before, I would think but they must just be a butthead but the truth is, many people when they do stand up and say something that’s bothering them, in particular patients, there are probably 10 other patients that didn’t say anything and so being a leader is taking those.
I hate using the word complaints, but their concerns about their procedure, their concerns about things. Those are all training opportunities. For me first, to find out, did we have part of our system that fell apart? Did we have part of our system that didn’t work the way that we had envisioned it to work? And then I will drill down and find out okay, let’s find out. It’s true. There are some just butthead people but most people really, if they’re unhappy, they just go somewhere else. So I really take seriously somebody who has an issue, whereas early in my years in practice, I didn’t really, you know, I just figured, well, they’re just griping and, you know, we’ve got plenty of patients, you know, so what if we lose one, but that’s not a really good attitude to have and, truthfully, you’re also going to be able to find where things are breaking down, by taking
suggestions well, by and enrolling the team, by getting them to see your vision, and having a clear vision, you’re well on your way, to having a very successful productive dental practice and, you know, many of us, you know, that we go through different times, you know, for instance, when I look at times when let’s just say the office, productivity is not going up, it’s not looking good. Our new patient flows not looking good. Well, I have to step back as a leader and say, Alright, do I remember the patients I saw this week, I always take it personally first. I don’t go and think it’s someone else’s problem. Usually what we’ve seen in dental practices is usually a lack of vision, a lack of clarity of that vision, and a doctor, I use the term with integrity, nothing else matters and without integrity, nothing else matters, and I use that very seriously to myself because I said, I’m expecting us to do one thing, but then I do something else. How does that look to the team? You know, I say we’re going to treat people a certain way but yet when Ms. Johnson leaves and I can’t stand your color and obit and well, that’s probably not the word, but you know, an old Biddy, and, and so I’m actually, I’m actually showing behavior that I don’t really want my team to have with our employees, with, with our patients.
You know we all have are, we’re all human and we all want to do a great job. The truth is, what is a good job? And I see so many frustrated dentists, telling employees telling their team where you know, I just don’t have the right team. I’m not willing to commit. I’m not willing to commit to coming to Productive Dentist Academy I’d love to but I just don’t have the team to commit to something like that. Well, my question to you is, when are you going to have the team if you don’t have the team, then What are you doing? You know, in most cases, I see that as lack of clarity of the vision, which we all need clarity, that vision, I mean, we all do. Or we’re just going to end up wherever we are and we can whine and cry and, and bitch and moan about it. Or we can take control of our own life, take control of where we want our practice to go, and enroll people that see our vision, as clearly as we see our vision. Rewards. You know, rewards come when there’s clarity and that’s when productivity goes up.
That’s when complaints go down. It’s when team enjoyment goes up. It’s where Doctor enjoyment goes up and it’s when you start to hear laughter in the dental practice, you start to hear patients saying, this is like family and if you don’t have that, in your practice, it’s probably costing you over the rest of your career, probably a half a million dollars a year not to have clarity. Now that doesn’t sound like much. It does to me, it does sound like a lot but imagine 10 years of lack of clarity, imagine 15 or 20 years, imagine what the cost of financial cost is to you for not being crystal clear on your vision and that’s what we do at our foundation’s course. You can go to the Productive Dentist Academy website and find out about it. It’s thick, we’re launching our next one, on April 23. So it’s been a few weeks but I really challenge you to like we talked about a couple of weeks ago, let’s talk about building that Investment Grade Practice with the amazing team with the amazing people that are there. So hopefully this has been been a good podcast for you. I really looked forward to next week’s podcast. I’m going to do some more q&a and we’re going to come up with some additional ideas. So look forward to it. Have a safe safe time and love you guys. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentists Podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe and pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify or drop me an email at email@example.com don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy of productivedentistpodcast.com Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast