September 5th, 2022
Episode 131: Requested Replay – The Secret to Massive Productivity in Your Dental Office
“Part of leadership is giving people responsibilities of thing they can do that they feel successful for while making things easier on yourself.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird
Have you ever wondered what magic wand other doctors wave that makes them so productive?
Here’s the secret: they delegate work to their team.
This happened to me in my own leadership journey. Once I realized my team wasn’t there to make my life difficult, I realized that they could be my greatest asset and help send my productivity through the roof.
As a clinician and business owner, my goal was to get everything off my plate except getting to know the patient, prepping the teeth, and a few other things I have to handle myself.
Here’s another secret: your team wants to be responsible. They want to have a say in what happens. They are proud to be in your office and do good work so let them!
Join me today as I share my experience delegating work in your dental practice to increase your productivity, including:
- Ideas for what to delegate
- How to set up your team for success
- Trust, But Verify: managing delegation
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Dr. Bruce Baird
Welcome to The Productive Dentist Podcast this is Dr. Bruce Baird. Today we’re going to be talking about something that is super important to me. Something people call me a master delegator. It’s delegation. It’s how to work with people and get them to do the things that they really want to do without me doing everything myself and we talked about leadership on the last podcast and I think leadership part of leadership is giving people responsibilities for things that they can do that they can be proud of and what kind of things are we talking about here? What are we talking about? You know, prepping teeth? No, that’s what we do as a dentist. Are we talking about you know, you have to look at your dental practice act. There are some states that allow hygienists to give injections. I think there are 40 some odd states that allow that the state of Texas, unfortunately, is not one of them. If they did, I’d hire a hygienist just to go around and give injections for me before I go in and do the preps. There are other places that allow expanded duty to do fillings that allow a lot of different abilities.
The state of Texas is not one of those, but what things can I delegate what things can I do? And first of all, look at it as anything that I can delegate, they taught me how to, for instance, I’ll give you an example. They taught me how to adjust a crown out of the mouth, or adjust a crown in the mouth. Well, if it’s cemented in the mouth, you know, I can’t have my assistant go in with a high-speed handpiece and adjust that crown. Still, they can certainly try that crown in they I teach them about balancing side pre-maturities and what a working cusp are.
I’m constantly training and teaching so that they can do it just as well as I can and they will come to get me and they say, Hey, this contact is you know, it’s really heavy, but I just don’t feel comfortable taking any more off. Oh, no worries, let me come in and look at it. I’d rather be the one to wipe the contact out than them and they’d rather me be the one to wipe the contact out than them but I give them those responsibilities. They take a pre-segmentation X-ray, they’ll, you know, they’ll come to get me and they know what it looks like when it fits perfectly.
They also know what it looks like when it does not fit perfectly and if it’s not, they come to get me and say doc, take a look at this. I go oh, let me look. You know, these contacts are a little heavy. Let me just polish this contact with a wheel. Now let’s take another picture. Okay, if you know it looks great. It may be in a blue block phase if we’re doing serif or it may be in a final space. You know, if it’s just, you know, an all-ceramic crown or something that’s been done at the laboratory, but I want them to be able to do those things. What about an occlusal guard? What about you know, I like you know, a ramp type occlusal guard where the patient goes into posterior disclosure and has anterior guidance with that and that’s something that I had learned from Dawson back 35 years ago and I liked doing that because it basically deprogrammed the muscles We can use our T scan to find out but mostly I can get them where they’re hitting in the anterior regions and not hitting in the posterior.
When they slide forward, they’re completely or they have equal contact in the posterior, but they disclude immediately when they slide forward or slide to the side. It’s building them in, for instance, a cuspid rise typing environment, I teach my team how to do that. Why? Because I want them to bring me the I want to walk in first of all and look in the mouth. The patient’s got their boozer Guardian, and I go, let me take a peek and I look and there’s a dot, dot, dot dot, and I see the ramps and I see where they do. I don’t need to be the one and they’re doing that.
Why? Because someone taught me how to do it, why shouldn’t I teach them it’s something that they’re taken out of the mouth doing outside of the mouth, pack and cord, this is how, you know we pack cord we rarely pack cord, we do impression technique called the h&h impression technique, which we’ll talk about that in the future but the bottom line is we very rarely do we pack cord. You know, there are so many other things that I delegate during the day that the first introduction of the patient bringing them back, I have a lot of people that say the doc has to go in and say I want to get X-rays.
And yeah, that’s true. I’m not having my team diagnose, if they need X-rays, I’m telling them before the patient comes in, if I have a new patient that hasn’t had X-rays taken in two years, then they know that I want a full mass series of X rays so they talk to the patient, you know is they take the x rays, I’m delegating that I’m not even coming in the room until everything is ready for me till every little bit is is good to go. Setting up friends, for example, for just regular treatment, if I’m going in and an implant, we’re doing an implant surgery, I want everything that we need in that room, I delegate to them, I’m not looking in drawers for things, it’s really part of their job as part of their description of what they do on a regular basis but I want to make sure that they know if you’re looking at a case that I started talking about grafting that they’ve got all the grafting materials in that they’ve got Ostia tomes they’ve got if I’m doing a substantial lift, they’ve got the things for those things.
They may have me you know, a certain type of burger that I like, everything is set up, I delegate those things. I delegate things in the business part of the office. I don’t want to sit and do QuickBooks, and I don’t want my wife to have to sit and do it. What do I do I find somebody I trust and I verify that it’s being done correctly, and I’m following through with them. On a weekly basis, I’m not doing data entry, I’m not doing any of those things. Why? First of all, I don’t want to do it. Second of all, I’ve trained somebody that I trust, and I verify that it’s being done correctly and by doing that, it takes that off my plate. My goal is to take really everything off my plate except visiting with patients, getting to know them, and doing the things that I have to do to prep the teeth, making sure that the aesthetics are the way that I want them to plan the cases. I’m doing all those things that I love doing and I’m delegating all the things that I don’t like doing.
Now, some dentists like to make their own temporaries. Why? I will tell you, you know, we’ve had serac for over 20 years, and I used to do all my own design until I finally figured out and I use the excuse. I want my pay. I use it as marketing time with the patient. Look at this, Bob, look at this. Wow, isn’t that cool? Well, I taught my team how to do that. Now they talked to Bob and they go, Bob, look at this, how do we do that they go and on a regular basis, I hear what an amazing team you have. When you see that type of training with your team, all of a sudden patients walking in they go they know they’re in a different place.
Go to your doc, you may not even see him now what you’re going to do you go to your physician, you’re going to see a PA you’re going to see someone else. Rarely do you even get to see the doctor anymore and so patients are used to you not doing everything they’re used to that and so my challenge to you is to look at the things that you do on a daily basis. Figure out how much time it takes you to do those things and are these things could be delegated. When you look at could you delegate it
you can’t just say okay, I want you to start doing this? Once you have to Do as you have to say, gay, you know, let me help you learn how to do the, you know adjusting of a crown outside of the mouth. Let me show you what I’m looking for. In other words, I’m not just going to delegate, I’m going to train, then delegate so remember the training opportunities turn into delegation, and the more I can delegate, then I have to verify that it’s done right, I have to verify that that temporary has beautiful margins, that that temporary is polished so that the patient’s Tang is going to be awesome.
If you don’t check those things, and you all of a sudden, start finding out, the temps are falling off. Patients come in and they complain, you know, it was really rough and it was I have to go back and retrain so that I can still delegate it doesn’t mean that does not mean that I have crappy people working for me, it just means that I probably need to do a little bit more training in order to delegate that responsibility so I am, you know, again, people have said, I’m a master delegator because I’m able to be so productive when people come into our office for the over the shoulder program.
I hear the same response over and over again, it says, Man, your team, just they do their thing and they’re, they know exactly where they’re going. They know what they need to be doing. Has it always been that way? It happens fairly quickly, once I realized that my team wasn’t there just to piss me off that they really wanted to. They wanted to have things delegated to him, they wanted to feel responsible for things, and they wanted to have a say in what’s going on with the patients and how we treat them. You know, they’re proud to be in our office and that’s the kind of man I don’t know, that’s the kind of place I want to work in and so when we see these folks that are, oh, you know, the patient comes in, as I say, and does have a complaint about something, I’m not going to bitch and moan with gay or summer.
I’m just going to say, Okay, well, I obviously I need to verify a little bit more that things are being done, right, maybe, maybe they’ve tried a new way and it’s just not the way I want it done. I look at him and I’ll look at those temps and I’ll say, look, let’s take a look at this, notice how when we did the relied on this temporary, notice how the rough edges and stuff, we really want to have those things Polish high shine, because trust me, I’ve had enough dental work down and when that’s in your mouth, your tongue just can’t leave it alone.
They get it and they go Yeah, you know, we were behind that day and my response to we were behind that day, you know, I know but there are times when I’m behind when I’m doing a crown prep but I’m still going to consistently do the same crown prep, I can’t change my results based upon if I feel like I was rushed and in our practice that happens very, very, very rarely. Why because we very rarely run behind, and I give those I give my team more than enough time to do a great job. You can be very, very productive, you know by delegating but it’s not about things that are not within your dental practice act.
There are offices like I say that have their hygienist that is able to numb patients there and I got to work with them on mission trips when we’ve gone down to the Dominican Republic, and I’m going great, just none of them for me, I’ll come in and take teeth out or do whatever and it’s just amazing. I would find a system, if I did live in one of those areas where they could, I would find a system where my hygienist could help us and numb people up. It’s not about speed but when I’m working, I want to be very highly focused on let’s get the dentistry done.
Let me do my prep. After using serac for so long now that I’m not designing my own, I have my own smile designers that come in and they know how to show the patient what it looks like and they know how to do all those things. This is part of marketing and but as part of the delegation, I’m delegating those things so I’m not sitting in the room. The one thing that I don’t delegate, at all, is my relationship with the patient. You know, a lot of people Joe, and I’m not that good at talking to people or whatever, I’m just gonna have my team be their best bud and everything else. I just don’t do that. I want to build trust with my patients. I want to build a relationship with my patients and so I take that very, very seriously.
You know, it may only take me 10 minutes and we’re going to talk more about the initial new patient interview and what I do, but I want us I like working on my friends. I like working on people who generally I know and I know what they’re doing. I know what their life is about. I like working with people in my office that I know what their life is like and you know what, what their kid’s names are and stuff. Again 15 to 18 years ago, it really wasn’t part of my MO I would just come to work and say, you know, this is the way things are supposed to be done. I’m hard paying you to do it so get in, get your ass in there and do it, and unfortunately, that is not a real good, good way of leadership and it’s really not a good way of, of getting people to want to do additional things that can help the practice and help the patients and, and over the years what I’ve noticed, and especially over the last 15 to 18 years where
my team, they’ve become more like family, they feel like they’re the best at what they do, that there’s no one else out there that can do what they do the way they do it and they take pride in, in being able to do those things. As opposed to me going in and, you know, I don’t trust them so I’m going to do every tamp I’m going to do and I see it day in and day out when you get out of dental school. You know, a lot of dentists do that but I know dentists that had been practicing for 2530 years still do their own tamps could be because they don’t have a good healthy new patient flow, they have nothing else to do.
My suggestion is to get your team on your side, get them, you know, doing delegation, following through with the things that you want to do, and what you’re going to find is you’ve got more time to do dentistry, you’ve got more time to do the things that you really want to do in your practice so that’s what I have for you today delegation. It’s super important. Don’t do it all yourself. I mean, you have people hire people that you can trust, trust, but verify, and teach, teach them how to do it the way you want it done, and then verify that it’s been done that way on a weekly basis, a monthly basis, and pretty soon, you’re no longer dealing with those issues anymore. Okay, so, look forward to the next podcast and talking to you soon.
Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist 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 firstname.lastname@example.org Don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy on productivedentist.com/podcasts/ Join me again next week for another episode of The Productive Dentist Podcast