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The 4 C’s of Team Building~

September 26, 2018

Key tips to keeping a productive, engaged dental team

The difference between success and failure is an engaged team.

No matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate you are, your success as a dental entrepreneur depends on your ability to build and inspire a team. A successful leader is one who can inspire his or her team to work better together toward a common vision and goals.

All dental practices face the time crunch and as the practice owner, main producer, and emotional leader the practice of team building can get left out of the equation.  Adding team building back into the equation can increase a practice’s productivity, uplift morale and ultimately lower stress.

Here are a few key areas to concentrate on to bring team building back into focus.

#1 Clear Expectations

Every team member needs to understand what their role is, where they are going and how they will get there.  Take the time to educate your team on your vision for the practice and where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and even 5 years from now.  Lay down the plan of how you envision the practice reaching those goals.  Define each individuals role in that plan and what is expected.  And finally clearly define how progress will be monitored and who will be accountable for each piece of the success plan.

#2 Communicate

Constant communication is key in any relationship and your dental team is no different.  Remain vigilant of your over vision and hold regular meetings to stay focused on your goals.  Don’t let time or the lack of getting in your way of regular meetings as a team.

Hold daily morning huddles with a focus on making sure the day stays as stress-free and productive as possible.   Once a month set aside a few hours to hold a team building meeting that lets the group participate and engage in both fun and productive session.  Adding activities to these meeting can help bring out new ideas, excitement and a renewed sense of community.  Don’t be afraid to have a little fun once in a while.

#3 Continued Educational Growth

Invest in training on an annual basis and give your team opportunities to learn and grow.  Solid systems and good technology tools to run those systems make for a productive stress-free day.  Look for learning opportunities in your dental community that meet the objectives of your vision for the practice.  Online learning can be an effective way to give the team the opportunity to learn a new skill or increase their software knowledge.

Good systems in a dental practice can predict a steady outcome but do the team members that execute those systems have a backup?  Are the systems documented in a clear format? Take opportunities at meetings to have team members teach each other so that each system has a solid backup in place.

#4 Consistent Leadership

Every team needs a good leader/coach.  You set the tone for the practice and it will your consistent message and actions that guide the team to success.  If you believe that team building is important to the success of your practice then your team will too.  Keep them engaged, keep them focused and keep excited to be a part of the practice’s success.

Practice Dynamics understands the essential role that teams play in the overall success of dental practices.  We have built our coaching around achieving balance driven success through systems, teams, and technology.  We encourage you to infuse new excitement into your practices through a solid focus on teams.


“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I.’ And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I.’ They don’t think ‘I.’ They think ‘we’; they think ‘team.’ They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.” 

–Peter Drucker

Customer Service: What Does It Mean To You?

August 22, 2018

Everyone has been a customer or patient.  In these roles, what are a few defining experiences that set companies or offices apart in your stories?  What was the core reason for making that a good or bad experience?  These are great questions and can lead the way to a productive discussion with your team.

When we think about customer service and best in class service we think about brands like Starbucks, Disney or Southwest Airlines.  We know there are many people that don’t care for SWA, but we have become raving fans.  This loyalty is built from our own experiences and from many stories from others.  Here is just one experience.


Southwest Airlines Proudly Sponsors Honor Flight Network

Southwest donated more than $20,000 in air travel for nearly 50 Lone Eagle Veterans and their guardians to participate in a special Honor Flight and V.E. Day 70th Anniversary commemoration events in Washington, D.C. and visit the memorials that honor their fellow soldiers who lost their lives in battle.  They didn’t stop with the monetary donation they did so much more.  I was lucky enough to be in the Baltimore airport when one of these honor flights was due to land.  Southwest agents throughout the terminal announced the arrival and asked anyone who had the time to join them at the gate to show our appreciation for their service and sacrifice.  As the plane land and proceeded to the gate two fire trucks created a water arch for the plane to drive under.  As the Veterans came off the plane they were greeted with cheers, flags and many heartfelt thank you messages.  It was an experience I was honored to be a part of and one of the many reasons I love Southwest airlines.


In our dental offices we strive to emulate experiences that reflect our core mission and values and deliver a patient experience we can be proud of.  But what does that mean and what does that consist of?  It may be different for every office and it may have different unique touches that truly reflect who they are as a dental office.  There are many key areas to evaluate and polish when you are working on your patient’s customer experience.  Here are our top 10:

  1. Marketing: Your marketing, no matter the vehicle, reflects your office brand and sometimes the first impression for a new patient.  Make sure it reflects the office and delivers a consistent message about your practice.
  2. New Patient Phone Call: The quality of this interaction can make or break a new patient experience.  Teams should be prepared and have clear expectations set on how every new patient call should be handled and the proper verbiage to use.
  3. Non-Verbal Communications: When is the last time you really looked through all the non-verbal communication that your office uses?  Review every written communication piece that leaves your office along with all the signs and written statements found throughout the practice on a regular basis and make sure they are on target.
  4. New Patient Visit: This sets the tone for your future relationship with this patient.  Make sure the office and the entire team is well prepared and ready for this visit.  This is your chance to connect and bond with this new patient and to build trust, all important elements in any relationship.
  5. Handoffs: When a patient visits the practice and interacts with each team member; are the exchanges reflective of your office?  Make sure key information is exchanged properly in front of the patient, never make the patient repeat and pay attention to body language of the patient and team member.
  6. Office Aesthetics: Your office aesthetics play an important part in the overall experience.  With a fresh set of eyes walk through your entrance as a patient.  What do you see?  What catches your attention?
  7. Technology Efficiency: We love technology, but technology should enhance your patient experience.  It should never get in the way or hinder the importance of human interaction.  Make sure your office systems are efficient and supportive.
  8. Team Dynamics: The dental team is an extension of the practitioner.   They need to be engaged and understand the mission and vision of the practice.  Continual education and regular communication is key to everyone delivery the same experience.
  9. Focus on Service: It sounds simple but how often do you discuss or train on the importance of customer service in your practice.  Make it a priority and keep the conversation going.
  10. The “It” Factor: What sets you apart?  What are those memorable items that stay with patients when they leave your practice?

The things to evaluate and look at are simple. What’s not simple is the consistent application of the behaviors. Excelling in best in class customer service takes thought and effort. But, once you make them habit you can go just about anywhere.

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!



Document Document Document

September 2, 2015

Filed under: Communication,Systems,Technology — Tags: , , , , — Laci Phillips @ 4:38 pm

Business-documentation_2 (2)

Document, Document Document 

If you have ever worked with a real estate agent or talked with one, you have probably heard them say it’s all about Location, Location Location. We have one of those terms in our industry as well. It is Document, Document Document. Everything we do in health care and dentistry and each conversation we have with our patients should be documented. We all know that but do we understand or have clear guidelines where we should document and how much.

Let’s start with some recommendation on the where. In most dental software, there is a place to document each procedure we provide and each conversation we have with our patients.

Appointment Book or The Scheduler

Enter any key information the patient gives you while they are making or rescheduling the appointment on the appointment itself.

Demographic and Insurance Benefits

The patient’s personal information should be documented here. Such as the patient is a snow bird and has 2 residences. The initial insurance information you gather is documented in the insurance module in this area also.

Account or The Ledger

Any conversation you have with the patient regarding monies owed should be documented here.  Information regarding insurance benefits or any information from insurance representatives regarding the patients account should also be documented in this area.

Clinical Module

Obviously this is where we document the services and procedures provided in the operatory. However, we should also document any conversations we have with the patients regarding treatment they have received. For example, there are times the business team will have a conversation with the patient regarding treatment, however those conversations do not take place chairside. They should still be documented in the patient’s clinical chart due to the nature of the conversation.

Next question is “How much should we be documenting?” We say there is never too much information. As a matter of fact, the more the better. Don’t be afraid you have too many details. Those details are what could save you some day. There are a few must haves when documenting.

  1. The date-make sure you insert the dateline prior to each note. And keep the most recent note on top for easy navigation.
  1. Health History-If it is a clinical note, make sure you document that the health history was reviewed. If there were changes, document them. If no changes were made to the health history, document “No changes, patient is still a candidate for procedure.”
  1. Procedure Notes: Make sure to document the procedure, any materials used, shades etc.
  1. Next visit: Whether it is clinical or Recare.
  1. Conversations: Any pertinent conversations regarding care or the services that were provided.
  1. Oral Instructions: Whether they were given verbally or written.
  1. Your Name and Credentials: Make sure to include any clinician in the room working with the patient or team member having the conversation with the patient. Initials are no longer valid. You will need to include your first and last name and any credentials you have.

As you can see documenting is not the only concern we have. It is imperative we document in the modules where the pertaining information is stored and that we include many details. In our industry details are the key. We believe it is worth repeating Document, Document Document!




Generation Speak, Challenges of the Multigenerational Workplace

August 19, 2015

Generation Speak, Challenges of the Multi-Generational Workplace

It’s a topic being wildly discussed throughout businesses; how do you manage the different age groups within the workplace? I’ve read books, listening to webinars and sat in on lectures on the topic but I still don’t feel like I have clear direction or guided rules on managing this challenge.

Let’s first start by defining the generations that are in the workforce.

* Silents (Born between 1925 and 1946)

o Considered to be the most loyal of workers. They are highly dedicated and possess a strong commitment to teamwork. This generation’s values were shaped by the Great Depression, World War II and the postwar boom years.

* Baby Boomers (Born between 1946 and 1964)

o The first generation to actively place a higher priority on work over personal life. They general distrust authority and large systems. Because of economy challenges this generation is potentially working longer than initially planned.

* Generation Xer’s (Born between 1965 and 1980)

o Born in a time of a declining population growth, this generation of workers possess strong technical skills and are more independent than prior generations. This generation also take on challenges and are perceived as a very adaptive.

* Generation Y’s or Millennials (born after 1980)

o This is the first global centric generation having come of age during the rapid growth of the internet and social media. They are also considered to be the first team oriented generation since the Silents.

This can hardly sum up entire generations but it gives you an idea of how they are separated and recognized throughout the years. The data, surveys, books and videos available to businesses on this topic is enormous. For me it is just one more piece of the puzzle when looking at the dynamics of a team and how to coach them. I found the data from a recent Ernst and Young interesting study interesting.


You can read the entire survey at Executive Summary: Generations by Ernst and Young

Take some time to look at your team and mix of generations that exists. Understanding the dynamic of generations when it comes to communicating and motivating can make a large difference in your success.

Generational food for thought. Enjoy!




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