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5 Ways to Have Strength for the Dental Journey

A recurring theme that keeps presenting itself to me lately, is whatever we choose to do for a living, it is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint. In that vein, there are several things that we can do to prepare for the journey that is the life of our dental career. I meet dentists constantly and I will argue strenuously with anyone that the people that I meet are some of the kindest, most caring, skilled, intelligent folks on our planet. Sometimes, that’s exactly what gets us into trouble. While there is no such thing as “too nice”, there is something that we do not have: the proper boundaries and principles set up in our practices to effectively operate a business.

1. Focus on the victories rather than the losses.

Many times we get to the end of a day and there could be 25 happy patients that walked out the door and one that was upset by something (often for no good reason). If we choose (and it is definitely a choice) to let the one negative outweigh the rest of the positives, we will eventually become paranoid and discontent. Our focus is what defines our experience. If there is anything to address, do it, and move on quickly and don’t look back. There is no way to let the losses build up in our minds and the victories to be overshadowed and keep a healthy, sane mind! It’s just not possible. Pat your team on the back and lead them in this direction as well. Your reaction will determine theirs, just as a toddler that falls down and gets a “you’re alright” has a smaller reaction than one that gets a parent that makes a big deal out of a small event.

2. How well would you function without the team members that you have and how can we appreciate them daily for what they do for us?

A true leader guides by example and if we show up for work even one day without our best attitude, it WILL trickle down to our team. Our team members work extremely hard and if we have a frustrating day, how it is handled will define how our team views us. It’s fine to share a struggle that you have with those that work for you, but don’t lay that burden on others if it’s not necessary. We have a rule in our practice that you don’t bring a problem to anyone on the team unless you have thought it through and come to the table with at least 3 possible solutions. Then you don’t simply dump a problem on another team member, including the doctor, but you are a part of the solution. Always strive to be a leader that is on the solution side.

3. Do whatever it takes to maintain the passion for what you do

Almost any profession or job can become mundane if we forget to take the time to re-invent and re-invigorate. Be certain to surround yourself with positive people and be vigilant about who you let into your circle of influence. Remember to sign up for a few conferences in those areas that pique your curiosity. Don’t do it simply to satisfy CE requirements, but because you are interested to learn something new. If you can’t think of anything that interests or excites you, it might be time to do some serious soul-searching or see your doctor. It is not a sign of weakness to go to a meeting that will renew your passion for dentistry, it is absolutely necessary. If you have lost the passion, remember that what we do for our patients, when done well, can be life-changing. When we give a patient a new, beautiful smile or restorations that help them to chew the food that they have been missing, it is much more meaningful than we sometimes imagine. While patients don’t always express it, they DO appreciate what we do for them. We have the ability to change lives; and that alone should get us happily out of bed in the morning. I also can not stress enough that connecting with like minded/positive/supportive colleagues, since during times of ‘lost passion’ support is so important.

4. Resolve to do your very best and let that be good enough.

This is a big one with our profession. We are extremely conscientious individuals who strive for perfection. Even though we know that the work we do is going into a mouth that only the Lord knows what goes on in there! We still assume that the work that WE do will never fail. Don’t saddle yourself with the “perfection syndrome”. Ask yourself if you have truly done your best and if the answer is “yes”, move on! I love it that we have highly evolved consciences, but it can lead to a lot of self-doubt and other consequences if left to run amuck.

5. What would you be grateful for today if you woke up tomorrow and that’s all you had?

Someone told me this recently and it really hit home. How many things in our life do we take for granted every day? Whom (and what) would we truly miss if we woke up tomorrow and they were gone? Take time every day to express the gratitude that you have for the people and things in your life that matter most. Sure, there are days that I would prefer to get up and NOT go to work, but I am grateful every day that I have a wonderful job. I would hugely miss what I do if it did not exist tomorrow or I was unable to help the people that I am able to help.

The privilege of being called doctor is not one that we take lightly, but it can become mundane. Never forget that training for the marathon that is our career life requires persistence and nurturing. Keep yourself on the right path and the rewards are immeasurable and extremely gratifying.


Why is THIS So Important?

Your team is CRUCIAL to growth and prosperity. Marketing is much more than shameless self-promotion, it is the beginning of case acceptance, it sets up the patient to get the best care from you without having to “sell” the patient, grow your practice with targeted marketing that fits the vision you have for your practice – technically all marketing is a test, but there are many, many tested methods that everyone should be utilizing to grow their practice, all team members should have easy, measurable ways to get referrals and to retain patients within the practice, much of this begins with knowing and understanding the value of a dental practice, why they succeed and why they fail, also what the value of each patient in your practice and why it is crucial for the doc and the team to know what those patients mean to the practice and their job stability.


10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You, Too!


Episode #2 The One Where We Turn Your Practice into a Dental Referral Machine (Part 1)

Dental Referral Machine Audio, Part 1 Get ready! A word-of-mouth practice is what you have always dreamed of having. This is the episode where we show you exactly how to make that happen!


5 Reason Why You MUST Have A Team Leader

As long as people are breathing there are going to be SOME issues!

1. Eyes and ears
: This person IS the eyes and ears for you and the practice while you are producing dentistry. You
 NEED someone on your side. What I mean is you may think (or hope) that your whole team 
is on your side, but it’s not until someone really steps up and takes control of things that you
 realize all the things that were happening that you had no idea about. It could be as simple as a 
team member surfing the web during down time or something that you think is minimal, but you 
are too busy to notice. Once I started addressing those small things that add up, everything started
 to flow much better. For example, I always explain it to my team as if you are surfing the web
 while on the clock, you are stealing from Dr. Mohan. I also found that once this was addressed, 
everyone was leaving the office on time and not 20-30 minutes late because they were trying to 
get all of their end of the day stuff done. It just really helps keep the whole team on track and 
moving towards the same goal.

2. Team issues
: This is one of the biggest problems I face on a day-to-day basis. This is also the number one
 headache cited by dentists in their practice. If only we could be a “One man” (or woman)
 show! Hmm, there’s an idea! Don’t get me wrong I have a great team but there is always 
something going on. In other words, as long as people are breathing there are going to be issues.
It could be as simple as someone wanting to take a vacation day sometime in the near future. Or, it could be someone arriving late to work consistently. The most important part of this is that
 someone addresses it immediately if not sooner. These issues become bigger when they drag on
 longer than necessary. I tell our team members that if I have to babysit them, they don’t work
 here anymore. Which translates into: “if I have to address things with you more than once or 
twice, you just ain’t gettin’ it!”

3. Delegating: 
Delegating is one of the single most important things that a dentist can do. A team leader can 
instantly make a practice WAY more profitable. She (or he) takes the day-to-day tasks off of 
your plate so you can produce more dentistry, resulting in a better, less stressful practice for
 everyone. A lot of dentists do not trust someone enough to delegate much of anything, which 
is fine, if you want to be stagnant and stressed. The other question is “What do I delegate?”
 Truly everything in our practice that does not include producing dentistry or rapport-building 
with patients is delegated to the team leader or passed on to another team member by me. 
Realize here, too, that increased productivity does NOT only involve seeing more patients.
This is just not the way it works. You can try it, but it is the quickest recipe for burn out
 that’s available.

4. Training
Ideally,  you already have someone on your team that can train anyone who walks through the 
door. If you don’t have a system set up to train your new team members, they will largely train 
themselves and that’s just scary! Training is easily one of the MOST overlooked revenue-
enhancing opportunities in a practice. I often get the question “What should I do when a team
member doesn’t do what I want them to do?” The answer normally lies with a failure to train 
properly and systematically. I hear a lot of excuses from dentists, such as no time to train, etc.
The truth is that you can not afford NOT to take the time to train to completion. There needs 
to be time appropriated to training every week until the job is done, no matter what. Don’t
 let anything get in the way! If you don’t get the training done, the new team member is not a 
failure, but the system for training has failed. It’s very important to keep expanding your existing 
teams’ training as well as that of new team members.

5. Intercepting and diffusing patient objections:
A patient may have a small grievance or a huge complaint. Either way it needs to be addressed, 
and you (the doctor) don’t need to be getting interrupted 10 times during a procedure or to 
have 20 sticky notes waiting for you at the end of the day. This is also key for your financial
arrangement system. You need a team leader that can intercept and overcome those for you. In
other words, for a long, long time, we were not getting FIRM-SIGNED financial arrangements
 done in our practice and our accounts receivable was totally out of control. Please do yourself 
a favor and if this is the way your practice operates, STOP IT today or sooner! Someone in
 your practice is not getting paid, and I guarantee that person is you. You owe it to yourself, your
 team and your patients. Patients are much less happy if they owe you money. If you don’t have 
a team leader that can intercept and overcome patient objections, I guarantee you are leaving the
 office at night with a big headache and sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.