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Strategic Thinking: Blue or Red?

September 22, 2016

Strategic Thinking: Blue or Red?



I spent a large part of my dental career in the corporate environment, 23 of my 28 years. Strategy and strategic thinking were constant companions. Strategy sessions were always exhilarating and scary at the same time. Planning, creative thinking and organizing are all things I love but predicting the future can be challenging.

When is the last time you lead a strategic discussion about your dental office? If you find yourself resisting being strategic because it sounds like the fast track to irrelevance you are probably not alone. We survive in the day to day activities of our dental office and our tendency is to deal with what is right in front of us because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if we get stuck in that habit we can put our office’s success at risk. While we concentrate on the navigation of our daily business we can miss excellent opportunities that will propel us to the future.

I love a quote by Jack Welch, well respected past CEO of GE and business executive, which speaks to this very subject. It’s a bit long but it captures what I’m speaking about.

You’ve got to eat while you dream. You’ve got to deliver on short-range commitments while you develop a long-range strategy and vision and implement it. The success of doing both. Walking and chewing gum if you will. Getting it done in the short-range and delivering a long-range plan, and executing on that.

* Jack Welch –

We are entering into the fall months and summer is behind us. Now is the time to start thinking and planning for our strategic sessions that will set the tone for the future of the office. Get all your data ready and make sure you have the historical successes. Then start preparing your research and thinking about changes and additions to dentistry on the horizon.

In addition, do some research on strategy and planning. There is no shortage of books on this subject out there. I recently finished reading “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W. Chan Kim and Renne Mauborgne. The book discusses the competitive marketplace and the difference between a red ocean and a blue ocean. In a red ocean environment you compete for the same patients and you’re a battling with other offices for the same set of patients. Too many sharks in the water if you will. If you find and develop a blue ocean strategy you’re competing in an

untapped space with unique offerings that set you apart. Finding these opportunities in your community for your practice is what will set you apart and open up your pool of patients.

Start researching, start thinking and set goals to lay out your blue ocean strategy for your dental office.

Happy planning,



Great Leaders Compliment Their Team

July 6, 2016

MARK TWAIN ONCE SAID, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” While this statement may be impractical, we can understand the profound truth that the renowned author was emphasizing: there is power in a compliment.

As the leader of your practice, you are in a position to either positively or negatively affect your team. One of the most efficient ways to bring out the best in your team is by giving frequent, heartfelt praise. Whether your practice is big or small, you’ll find that sincere compliments have the power to increase productivity, performance and morale.

Tips On How To Compliment (And Why It Makes All The Difference)

A simple compliment is great, but well-thought-out praise is even better. So, how can you make your compliments more meaningful?

Recognize your team’s efforts. The first step to complimenting is taking an active role in trying to see how well your team is doing. Watch for things your employees do to help you, another teammate, a patient, or the practice as a whole. If you start noticing someone going above and beyond on a repetitive basis, don’t let it go unnoticed, reward them for it! While it doesn’t have to be after every procedure or patient, verbal appreciation should happen on a daily basis.

Know your audience. The key to complimenting is knowing who you’re complimenting and how they’re going to receive it. Some personalities enjoy being complimented in public, like in a morning huddle, while other personalities may appreciate more privacy, without any attention brought to themselves.

Make your compliments specific. Saying, “Thank you!” to your team as you walk out the door at the end of the day is great, but it isn’t enough to reap the positive benefits of giving genuine, personalized praise. For example, something like, “I noticed that you really took care of Mrs. Brown today. I appreciate you doing that, it really helped me out,” or, “My schedule looked amazing today. We were on time and it made all the difference in my day. Thank you!”

Go out of your comfort zone. We understand that some people may not be comfortable giving compliments or recognize the need for them, but giving praise is an important responsibility for any effective leader. If offering compliments is difficult for you, lean into the uncomfortable and look outside yourself to your team and their needs.

The Benefits: Heartfelt Praise Cultivates Ownership Mentality

The number one thing we’ve had dentists say to us is that they want a team with “ownership mentality.” Ownership mentality means that while employees may have no ownership stake in the practice, they are still invested in the company’s success and their work reflects that attitude.

If you start appreciating your team and the job that they do both publicly and privately, they are going to have your back. They’re going to want the practice to succeed, the patients to be healthy, and they’ll support and respect you as their leader. By recognizing your team’s hard work and making an effort to compliment them, you will empower them with ownership mentality and reap the benefits that come from having satisfied, engaged employees.

Helping You Build Your Business, One Step At A Time

There is no denying that a lot goes into building a successful practice. Recognizing and praising your team along the way is an important aspect to that success. If you’re wondering how to better incorporate the art of complimenting into your practice or have any additional questions, contact us today or leave a comment below! We’re here to to help you build your business, one step at a time.

We’re grateful for our awesome clients!

Get Your Ears On

June 15, 2016


Get Your Ears On

Perhaps you have heard the expression that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen two times more than you talk. However, how many of us fall short of that 2:1 ratio? Sit back and watch different conversations around you and we bet you will find, each one of us falls short of that ratio. Why? It’s part of human nature to be a poor listener. Our brains can process information 3-5 times faster than we can speak. That gives us all sorts of extra time to think about other stuff while someone else is talking. Usually, we use the extra time to think about what we are going to say in response. How many times have you had your reply ready before the other person is finished with their sentence? Other times intrusive thoughts come in because we are rushed, worried about something, daydreaming, or simply not interested. In the dental office, problems might arise when you think that you’ve “heard it all before” so you cut off a patient or a coworker before they had a chance to finish their comments. A good trick to stay completely in the moment is to repeat back what the person is saying in your head. It’s a bit obnoxious at first, but it keeps you focused on the content and context of the message. Then, ask a follow-up question to check your understanding. Asking a question or two will show the speaker that you are interested in interpreting him or her accurately. Think of how many mistakes and misunderstandings could be avoided if people actively and completely listened to each other. The dental office would be much more efficient if we listened carefully the FIRST time, would you agree? In addition, listening has a positive, symbolic effect. When you FULLY listen to someone, you are saying, “I care about you.” So get your ears on, and give your patients and co-workers the gift of listening!



Revisiting Your Yearly Goals

June 3, 2016


Revisiting Your Yearly Goals

Now that we are midway through the year, how are your 2016 goals? Do you remember what they were? Are they written down somewhere and need to be revisited?

We have been trained from the time we were very young to plan out our goals by school year, fiscal year, sports season, New Year’s resolutions, and the list goes on. I am willing to bet each one of us has left a goal behind, simply because we could not see the end result. That is why it is sometimes easier to set smaller and shorter goals, to see a small success rather than wait for the large end result.
Dental offices are conditioned to check into our production goals daily, monthly, yet rarely look at the large picture. The end result. Most of us fall short on setting or bothering to calculate any other goals until the accountant asks for the numbers at the end of fiscal year.

Expecting the dollar amount you want at the end of the year is not going to magically happen just because you set a goal. You need to have tangible goals, a plan of execution, and persistence to connect to that dollar amount. Wanting more new patients, unless you are lucky, will not automatically happen until you strategically plan for them.

How about setting goals for less, not more?  Working fewer hours with more production, doing less treatment that you are not passionate about? All are within reach with specific goals set in place to attain the overall goal.

We are firm believers in SMART Goals. This involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time targeted goals.

S- Specific-target for improvement

M-Measurable-quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress

A-Assignable-who will do it

R-Realistic-what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources

T-Time- when the result(s) can be achieved

It can be overwhelming to look at 12 months of goals. Since you have 6 months left in 2016, we encourage you to take a look at your final goals and break them up into 12 weeks or less. Use the SMART acronym for setting your goals and keep a positive outlook and celebrate what you are achieving on a daily basis. We all have disappointments now and then so have a back up plan and be flexible with yourself.
I challenge you to challenge yourself and your team!

~Much Success!

Susan Ketterer

See Whole People

May 18, 2016

See Whole Peoplethank_you_800_clr_4252

I recently spoke with a dentist who had a “shared” business team member with another dentist in the practice. In other words, they split her compensation and work assignments 50-50. The team member had recently quit the practice, and did not exactly leave on good terms. There were several factors at play in her decision to leave, but the dentist I spoke to pondered what he could have done differently to make the situation better.  He had read my previous blog post, “Four Ways to Praise,” and wondered if he had under-expressed his appreciation of this team member’s work. He said, “She was a ‘half’ employee and I’m afraid I maybe treated her like one.” I appreciated his willingness to take a hard look in the mirror when many people refuse to do so! This situation, although unfortunate, serves as a good reminder that any team member is a whole person, no matter their contribution to your team. There may be a tendency to treat a person as their position, when in fact they bring their whole selves to the job: their personality, values, life experiences, talents, and so on. Remember in the movie The Sixth Sense, where the boy utters the famous line, “I see dead people”? Well, maybe it’s a good idea from time to time to mutter to yourself, “I see whole people”! Doing so will remind you to express gratitude, support, and genuine interest in the people who are investing their entire selves in your practice. Your team will likely show appreciation in return. The goal should always be to create a culture that is both productive and rewarding. I know all of us at Practice Dynamics whole-heartedly wish you continued success!


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