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Episode 178 – The CE Strategy: From Seminar to Implementation

“When I walk into a CE course I challenge myself to not think the same way again. And then I go back to the office with an implementation strategy.”

I have a question for you to think about today: Why do you go to CE? What is your goal when you attend a course and what do you hope to take away from it?

I know some dentists only go because their state board says they have to get a certain number of credits. I’ve never approached it that way, but early on in my career I was just hungry for more information. I’ve always been a big reader and I’ve bought and read so many books and listened to so many recorded seminars. But I’ll read them and learn a few things but then those books sit on the shelf. I think people do that with CE, too.

So, let’s go back to that question: why do you go to CE? Sure it’s nice to get out of the office, see some friends. Don’t get me wrong. Those aspects of CE are all important, they help create relationships. I have learned just as much from dinners out or chatting at the bar with other dentists, as in the formal seminars.

But what do you do with the actual information you’re getting at CE programs? Do you write down notes on what you learned and what you’re going to change? Do you take your team with you? Do you have an implementation strategy of how to put to use the best things you learned?

What’s always so impressive to me at the PDA Productivity Workshops are the teams who attend together and then go back to the office and implement what they’ve learned. Productivity and efficiency increases, the office runs smoother, patients are served better. It’s a really great thing to watch.

So today I want to talk more about getting the most out of your CE, including:

  • The mindset I used when approaching CE programs
  • Implementation strategies I used with myself and my team
  • How I used delegation to ensure good education was applied in my office


Regan 0:00
Hi, Doctor. Regan Robertson, CCO of Productive Dentist Academy here and I have a question for you. Are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth just like everybody else? That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years, PDA workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive, your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help, visit that’s to secure your seats now.

Dr. Bruce Baird 0:47
This is not a one way street, you know when your leader and we’ve talked about leadership a couple of episodes ago, I want to get the feedback from my team on what’s going on. Hello, everyone. This is Dr. Bruce B. Baird and you’re listening to the Productive Dentist Podcast. In this podcast, I will give you everything that I’ve learned over the last 40 years in dentistry working with 1000s of dentists. I’ll tell you it’s not that my way is the only way, it’s just one that has worked extremely well for me and I’d love to share that with you so you too can enjoy the choices and lifestyle the productivity allows, more time for things you love, increased pay, better team relationships, and lowered stress. Let’s get into it with this week’s episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast.

Hi, this is Dr. Bruce Baird with the Productive Dentist Podcast and the topic that I want to talk about today is continuing education and why do you go? Why do you go to see, I know early on in my career, it was literally just because I just wanted to know more. I know some people go to CE just to get credits so that they can because their state board says you have to go to CE. I really hesitate to go just to get credit hours. I know I’ve never done that in my career. So why do you go and what is it you’re hoping to take away from it. I see a lot of people in the past and I’m a good example of that, I buy really good books and then I read a little bit on them and then they ended up on my bookshelf. Now I do read a lot but I also buy a lot of books, late night TV, you know ordering used to be the DVDs, you know, the Tony Robbins tapes, the, the real estate tapes, all of that stuff and you listen to one or two and and it sits on your shelf. Well, I think that that happens when, when dentists go to CE also they’re getting out of the office and so they look at it as kind of, well, it’s going to be nice, I can relax a little bit, see some friends and those are all important. I prefer doing that when I’m on vacation. I love seeing all my buddies at continuing education programs at different venues all across the country and we get to go out and eat nice dinners and we get to do those things that are really a lot of fun and, and to me, that is creating relationships. I’ve learned as much at the bar and or at dinner from other dentists as I have at the seminars. What do you do when you come home? That’s kind of a question. Do you listen to one tape and then that’s the end of it? Do you go to a continuing education, taking notes on things that you’re going to make changes in your own business and your own practice ad then when you do go back, how do you make those changes? Is your team traveling with you to the seminars, or are you coming back with new ideas and new thoughts and saying hey, “This is what we’re gonna do.”? And, and I’ve done that many times, I promise but also I’ve taken my team many times. One of the things that I always love to watch a Productive Dentist Academy is when the teams come the doctor comes with six, 8, 10 team members and to watch them during the day. You know, we have a great time at night we have entertainment, you know we have places to go but what I’m so impressed with are the offices that go back and actually implement things and make a difference. I see that the entire team meeting With the doctor, and this is a, this is not a one way street. You know, when you’re a leader, and we’ve talked about leadership a couple of episodes ago, I want to get the feedback from my team on what’s going on. I want to hear what are they think also about the program, especially my team members that have been with me for any extended period of time. I love getting to hear, hear their thoughts. “Oh, I love that when I heard or I was talking to another, another dental assistant or treatment coordinator at our breakout and boy, the breakout was great and this is what I heard at that breakout,” and so what you do is you have to, you have to take all the information and put it into some type of an implementation strategy because if you don’t, you really had a great time, you have more knowledge, but it really doesn’t change the ultimate things that we came to change. I love coming back and finding ways to be more efficient, finding ways to be more profitable, finding ways to have a better schedule, finding out ways to communicate with my team better, finding out ways to communicate with patients better but without an implementation strategy, the tendency is to go back and I’ve heard this many times where the doctor, I mean, the team will say, “Don’t worry, it’ll, he’ll get over it, or she’ll get over it in a few days, it’s never going to change,” and that and I know there are a lot of dentists out there that don’t change but I challenge you to think about everything that you learn, I love to make, I love to have the same that when I go to a continuing education course, I never look at things the same way again, I what I do is I look at the mouth, you know differently. If I, you know, went to talk about going to pat Allen’s course on connective tissue grafting or going to the pinhole course, or going to mesh or going to, you know, hear Dawson speak years ago, when I would go listen, I would never think the same way again and, and I challenge you is not thinking the same way, but being able to go back and implement. So by putting together strategies that you want to implement, what I do is I’ll list one through however many I got, however, many polls, if you will I got or how many ideas that I got and how many that the team got and we will meet and talk about it and then sit down and write out a list of 10 implementation things or 12, or three or one. You know, sometimes you go to a course and you know, it’s kind of repetitive, it’s a lot of things that you know, but you heard one thing that was said that changes everything about or you look at the mouth, or the way you look at your team, or whatever, or one of your team was talking to someone in a breakout and they had an epiphany or a breakthrough, “Oh my gosh, I think if we did this, this would be awesome,” and bringing to the table and having that meeting or when you get back. Now I love it at PDA watching teams meet there to set their implementation strategy and I really think that’s important if you’re bringing your team because when you get back, you’re back in the battle again. You know, it’s Monday morning, you’re back at the office and here we go again and we don’t even think about the course we took the weekend before unless the entire team has been educated and we’ve set up that implementation strategy. So what, what I love to do is, if we’re going to a course and I’m taking the team we specifically set up and let’s just say there’s not time for breakouts with your team, at the meetings or at the seminar, when you get home, set aside two hours, three hours or four hours of time for training, and discussions and figuring out, “Okay, we just went through this course what things,” just like they’re doing a PDA sitting around a table, coming up with implementation strategies, we recommend that same thing when you come home. So you come home, you begin, you list out everything one to 10 and you start this strategy of implementation now. Are you going to do all of it or are you going to delegate this implementation strategy? Well, you know, that’s important. There are certain things that I wanted to change. So for me individually, I might have learned a new phrase or a new way of talking to a patient to explain some, some treatment, you know, in the treatment rooms and so I like to try that. I use one example I heard her guy talking about incisal edge composites and that became my way of communicating, I would just say, “Incisal, Edge composites, it’s kind of like an m&m, you start to turn it on its side and you start to shave it, and you get this heart outside and the soft inside and that soft insight is very susceptible to acid. And that’s where you get those little dip outs in your front teeth.” So I learned that and I went home, I had those things written down. Now you can put them on your phone, give you a reminder, are you using it? Are you doing it, are you explaining to patients those things, but your team has those same, those same things that you’re going to, as a leader, assign them the duty or the opportunity to, to head up a certain area, like, it could be in the lab, you have a you have certain things that you like in the lab, and you’re going to you want to bring in, for instance, maybe a printer.

So I assign that team member with me, I’m going to be set buying this stuff, we’re going to set it up and I need, I’m going to need your help and setting up this new printer, or this new milling machine or this new. You can go down the list, there’s all kinds of things that my team helps me with. What I don’t want to have happen is we I come back from the meeting and I send out an order three or four or five things and they get to the office, but I forgot about him. My team doesn’t really know what they are and they end up in the boneyard upstairs, you know where nobody’s using? Well, how do I know that because I’ve done it a lot of times. So with intention, delegating the responsibilities to do different areas, maybe it’s a new way of collecting, maybe it’s a new way of doing your financial arrangements, maybe it’s, you know, whatever it is, you’ve got to reset the boundaries, reset the steps that you’re going to do in this particular system, and delegate that to a team member and as a leader, what do we do? We’re going to check, and we’re going to do it every, every month, every week, initially, I probably will check on a system once a week. And just in passing, I’ll just say, “Okay, I got five minutes, I’m gonna go check on this system. How’s that going? Mary?” “Oh, it’s going great.” “Really. Okay.” Then on week later, I just wanted to check again, “Oh, it’s really doing good. I love the way this works, or that works,” or you find out, “We’re having a little issue with this,” and now you powwow and you decide, “Okay, we can make a difference, we can change something in our system,” but these are the ways that as a leader, you come back from one of these meetings, and you actually put the rubber to the road, I mean, you are actually going to make changes that you believe are going to make a better office and better communication with your team and your patients and so, you know, I really challenge you, every seminar you go to, if you’re by yourself, right, write down the things that you think might work great in your practice, then have the powwow with your team when you come back and when I say powwow you sit around and you really go through these ideas or these thoughts and you asked them, What do you think about that? Have you guys, you know, heard anything or any of your friends that are treatment coordinators or front office? Have they are they are they doing this, and then also getting them the education that they need nowadays are so much video out there, there’s YouTube, there’s so many things I said, “I want you to watch these.” I’ll give an example. We learned about sleep apnea, I came back and I assigned one team member. And I said, “Okay, you are going to be the driver of our sleep apnea program.” And they were excited was something they were interested in, and you’re gonna have to find one that’s interested in it and then I send them for education, I now again, you can download videos, you can download content to help educate them, and then you can help train them in that area and then at some point in time, they kind of run the show. And you can step back and know that your patients are being taken great care of and you’re actually doing something that is your team that’s giving them that independence and that love of coming to work because they all have responsibilities and that all stems from not just my thoughts about dentistry, but what I’m learning when I go out to the seminars and it’s education that, that we go to so anyway, hopefully this is this has been something that will kind of hit you between the eyes and we’ll be back next week with another edition of the Productive Dentist Podcast and like us on all the different social media channels and If you have a friend that that you could refer to us, we sure would appreciate it. Thanks so much and look forward to it. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe, pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify or drop me an email at podcast at productive dentist comm don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy of Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast

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