Coach’s Corner | How to prevent the Great Resignation/Reset at your practice

There has been a lot written about the “Great Resignation” or “Great Reset” in recent months due to the lack of potential candidates to fill open positions in dental practices across the country.  I was emailed a question from a dentist that I have not had the pleasure of working with …yet. His question was this… “I am fortunate that my current team is still with me. I read about the horror stories from other practices, and I do not want that to happen to my practice. What can I do or is there anything I can do to prevent this?”

I had the pleasure of telling this dentist that there is something he can proactively do. I asked him many questions about his leadership style and what he thinks his strengths and weaknesses are regarding his vision, mission, and the kind of culture he has in his practice. His answer did not surprise me because he shared that he had never put anything down on paper. I told him there’s no time like the present to have a team meeting and start writing it down. Even though we had never worked together before, he did read my book, You Can’t Coach Quit.  He got as far as writing down his mission and his core values on his own and he wrote something he thought would work as a vision statement. The manner in which I help teams write their vision statement is very comprehensive in nature. What he wrote down was not specific enough and needed the input from his team. We discussed what he created for a moment, and I gave him more feedback on how to do that with the involvement of his team. The bigger question is always why is this important and how do I do it. Things like leadership were never taught in dental school and at times seem like a very vague concept. From my experience, when something is vague that’s not a good thing which is why I created the leadership coaching model.

I have found if I can find an analogy that everyone can understand, teaching a new concept is easier for the entire team involved. That is why I created the leadership coaching model. As a seasoned basketball coach, it is easy for me to use sports analogies for your dental practice.  I find that no matter what generation the dentist and the team belong, everyone can relate to understanding what a coach does. Being able to visualize what I’m talking about is really important when discussing leadership. For those that are used to reading my newsletter, the Coach’s Corner, you already know how much I stress this as an easier way to lead people. Leadership comes in a lot of forms, and I find that this is an easier start to understanding the idea since it can be such a new concept. Here is the structure of my leadership coaching model. The doctor is the head coach, and the office manager is the assistant coach. As both the head coach and dentist, you need to have a philosophy of how you want things to be done and how you want everybody to be treated whether that be within your team or with patients. In any sport you’ll know what play you want to run depending on what is happening at that moment. In the dental world the play is how you want things to be done in your practice on a daily basis. It is your responsibility to layout the plan which is your playbook so that each player understands their role. When it comes to culture, I define that as what is and what is not acceptable. For example, if you decide that gossip is not acceptable then no longer will that be present in your practice. If everyone needs to take a turn and collect the trash in the practice, then that’s what’s going to happen. As the head coach when you blow your whistle do you want your team running to you or walking like they have no purpose? Of course, you want them to hustle and run to you. This is where team behavior can be explained and as the head coach you have the ability to use easy sport analogies so your team can follow your direction.

In other words, the head coach establishes all of these items for the team and the assistant coach(es) fulfill the goals-requests from the head coach. Let me use basketball for the following analogies: Every head coach knows what kind of players they need to recruit each season to put their team in the best position for success. They understand the style of play they want to use for the season, and they know the strengths and weaknesses of the players they are looking for. In order for them to know all of this, they know the culture they have built or what they are in the process of building. Remember I defined culture as what is or is not acceptable. I define it that way purposely since so many things fall under the culture heading or concept. Culture affects all of those things that cause you stress – how your team members act toward each other, their discipline, follow through, mental toughness- all the attributes and human behavior you feel everyone should have. Unless you are honest with your team and explain the culture you are building, how else can they understand what you are trying to do. They cannot read your mind about culture and that is why this needs to be discussed as a team.   

The great resignation/reset has occurred for many reasons. The way you proactively combat that is planning, communication, and organization. The more organized you are as the head coach of your practice regarding your expectations, the greater the likelihood your team will remain with you. In our industry we are blessed to work with people who genuinely care about one another. Bringing like-minded teams together for a common goal is really what you’re going after. The easiest way to do that is to use the leadership coaching model. When your practice has worked hard to achieve an environment where they can anticipate how their day is going to flow, they understand everyone will be held to the same level of accountability, and if it is a positive, fun place to work, your team will stay. That is why the entire team should come together and discuss what behaviors are and are not acceptable in your practice.

By focusing on your culture as a team, everyone has their voice heard and the team agrees as a unit. This will automatically bring people together but leading and influencing human behaviors can be a daily struggle. Your personal discipline will need to be used each day to keep the team together. As the head coach, use your assistant coach or coaches to further your plan. If you have a large practice, you may need each department head to be an assistant coach. The purpose is not to build any silos or egos, just the opposite. It is to help the head coach with the larger gameplan.

I know I have covered a lot of material when sharing the question asked by this dentist. If you need assistance with any or all of these pieces to your gameplan, please reach out to me via email,

How Better Team Morale Can Boost Your Practice | Dental Office Coach

Victory Dental Management

Your team’s morale drives the success of your dental practice. Creating an affirming, supportive environment can take effort, but the journey toward cohesiveness and job satisfaction is worth it.

Why Good Team Morale Matters

Morale is like a set of dominoes. One person’s attitude influences those around them. Positivity spreads quickly. On the other hand, one person’s constant complaining can bring down their teammates. It’s human nature.

Dissatisfied workers also tend to be less productive. When a member of your team is unhappy in their job, they might be less efficient, work more slowly, and are less motivated to put on a game face. Fellow team members are then pushed to compensate. 

A poor attitude can spill over into patient interactions. Going to the dentist is an intimate experience; patients easily pick up on team vibes.  

Put Your Team First

If you want your dental practice to be successful and prosperous, team morale needs to be a priority. You don’t want a team member to offer anything less than a stellar patient experience; otherwise, you are likely to lose patients – and profits.

If your team could use a morale boost, our Dental Practice Consulting team has the expertise needed to encourage positivity through focused training. We offer a knowledgeable outsider’s perspective: We may see a patient scheduling issue that leaves everyone feeling overwhelmed, for example, or identify weaknesses in communication.

Set a Positive Workplace Tone 

As the leader of your dental practice, you are the one to whom your team looks for guidance. Here are tips on improving practice morale:

  • Adopt a “servant leader” attitude that values contributions 
  • Deal with conflicts when they arise, so small problems don’t mushroom into damaging schisms
  • Enact an open-door policy so team members feel they can come to you with issues
  • Have regular, effective team meetings to ensure everyone is in sync with information
  • Make sure each team member’s role is well-defined but open to growth 
  • Openly praise successes; address concerns privately 

High team spirit creates a better patient experience and greater productivity, which benefits everyone. To ensure that your practice thrives, make your team’s morale a priority. If you need team-building ideas or training, our Dental Management Consultant practice can help you create a positive, energized environment where everyone feels valued. 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

The Key to Effective Goal-Setting | Dental Consulting

Dental Team Coaching

Creating goals for your dental practice is essential to moving forward; even more important is creating a strategy to meet those goals. It can be easy to lose track of the work required to reach your ultimate objectives. Dreams require hard work and focus to become a reality. Here are ways to make your loftiest goals achievable.

Define your goals. Successful business owners understand the benefits of effective goal-setting: They can define it, measure it, and break it down into steps. Then they work their plan. If you have hit stumbling blocks in achieving a vision, rethink the way you are defining your business goals. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a detailed map to reach them. 

Map out benchmarks. If you find yourself thinking of the big picture, go behind it. Perhaps you want to see five more new patients each month or increase the number of referrals by 50 percent. Map out the steps needed to achieve that plan. Will it involve increasing your marketing spend, hiring another hygienist, or adding a new piece of equipment? Work your plan by breaking large steps into smaller ones. 

Set milestones. Break out a long-range goal into quarterly, monthly, or even weekly goals. Creating smaller, incremental steps provides the opportunity to celebrate the small victories along the journey and pivot quickly if something isn’t working.

Set specific goals that are easy to track. By mastering the art of setting incremental, measurable goals, you will reach them with more certainty, and one successful goal will pave the way for another as your confidence builds. Our dental consulting team can help you create a roadmap based on our many years of experience and goal-setting. 

Make your goals visible. The more tangible you make your vision, the more inspired you will be to realize it. Putting up visual reminders is a simple way to accomplish that. Also ensure that everyone in your practice is aware of what you are trying to achieve. This will boost your sense of accountability.

To bring your practice to the next level, you need to take steps to get there. Whether your goals are patient-oriented, financial, or centered on personal development, our Dental Practice Management consultants are well-equipped to help you formulate and work a plan to get you where you want to be. 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

How to Find More Time in Your Schedule | Dental Office Coach

Dental Office Coach

As a practice owner or manager, your day is full of duties and commitments. The busier you are, the more you need to keep the day moving efficiently. One technique some dental consultants suggest is schedule blocking. Many people find that it seems to create more time in the day. 

What is Schedule Blocking?

This technique creates chunks of time for different tasks. Many people find that using a color-coding system to differentiate task types, for example, helps them organize time. There are any number of ways to set this up, but using colors creates a visual cue that is easy to decipher at a glance. Different hues can represent patient appointments, emails, planning, team meetings, CE, and even personal commitments.

Make Each Minute Count

Your goal is to schedule time increments during the day, whether that is measured in minutes, 15-minute blocks, half-hours, or whatever works for you. When you schedule the day, it allows you to get more done, knowing you have deadlines, and it leaves you with more free time. Whether you use an online scheduler, paper, or a desk calendar, as dental consultants we recommend committing your scheduling system to writing. 

Take Inventory of Your Day

Before you commit to mapping out your workday, write down what you do each minute of the day for a few days. You will quickly realize where you can grab some spare time. Are you taking 20 minutes to get coffee in the morning, or spending 10 minutes every hour to chat with team members? While people are not machines and collegiality is essential to a successful office, perhaps you can cut that time in half on busy days or come in earlier. 

Set Realistic Time Goals

Recording what you do each day will help you gain perspective on how much time a given task actually takes to complete. Set deadlines for each task and longer-range due dates, but be flexible initially. You will soon see whether the allotted time you have scheduled is sufficient, too short, or too generous. Sometimes a timer app can help reset your expectations. 

Another way to maximize your time is to work with our experienced dental consultants. We have strategies that can be tailored to your practice, individual roles, and team members’ work styles. Contact us at Victory Dental Management for more information and see how efficient your workdays can really be.  

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

How To Create A More Efficient Office | Dental Consulting

Dental Coach

How is your office organized? Does it flow smoothly and appear free of clutter? Or is the overall feel haphazard? Organization is vital to keeping your practice growing. Every aspect of the patient experience, from the moment they enter the office until they leave, should run smoothly. Organization and flow are the keys to running an efficient office, and this formula goes a long way toward ensuring patient satisfaction.

Tips for Optimizing Office Organization:

Don’t overcrowd your spaces. Make sure your patients feel at home in your waiting area. Choose comfortable seats spaced well apart. Make sure tables and magazine racks are neat and organized. Each patient should feel like an individual, not like they are lost in a crowd. Whenever possible, avoid overscheduling. You don’t want to have an unexpected surge of irritated patients sitting in a cramped waiting room. To address this potential issue, keep extra room available to accommodate a sudden patient overflow.

Clear physical clutter. Less is more. Keep the receptionist area within line of sight of the door and keep it free of knickknacks. Patients need to be able to complete and return paperwork as quickly and efficiently as possible. This keeps the office running smoothly and helps ensure a more comfortable patient experience. Clutter also creates a sense of unease. Get in the habit of cleaning these areas regularly to reduce stress and boost productivity. You want spare but not sterile. 

 Clear paper and digital clutter. Dental offices operate in both paper and digital spaces. Put a system in place to organize and filter work emails and digital files, in addition to a system for paper documents. Prioritize different types of emails so you can easily and distinctly separate what needs immediate attention, what can wait, and what is just junk.  

Create a pleasing flow. Organize your office to flow in a single direction, much like a river. From the time a patient enters the waiting area, goes into an operatory, and checkout, they should not have to double back or wonder where to go. Ensure exam spaces are easily accessible from the waiting area, so patients move seamlessly from one station to another.

These are a few ways that organizing your office can ensure a more enjoyable experience for your team as well as your patients. If you’re ready for a practice consultation or need other helpful tips, our Dental Consulting service stands ready to help.  

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | Team Cohesion Is a Work In Progress

I receive some great emails from my audience, and I appreciate you taking your time to watch/read the Coach’s Corner and be engaged to the point you are asking me follow-up questions. As you know, I love helping all of you so please keep emailing your questions to me.

The question I was asked was to explain what I meant when I say culture. I think the easiest way for me to explain this is to give a real example that has occurred with a client of mine and walk through the process. After you have written down your Mission and Vision of the practice, then it is time to define the Culture of your practice. For those of you who follow my Coach’s Corner each month, you already know I define culture as what is or is not acceptable. When I say acceptable, think of human behavior.

For this client, he kept referring to those he worked with as his team. He needed my help with a specific thing that kept happening in his practice. Even though he created the mission and vision of his practice (on his own) he thought that would stop some items from falling through the cracks. There is a reason why I always advocate for the Mission and Vision to be created as an entire team – so everyone has input, and their opinions are heard. Having it done with their involvement assures the group will start working as a team. That part is extremely important as this client found out. Defining the culture of your practice is really where the rubber meets the road.

As I’ve said before, culture, as I define it, is what is acceptable or not acceptable in your practice. For my client, the issue that needed to be addressed was accountability with each team member. Some felt that they did not have to complete their assigned tasks and/or someone else would always be there to pick up the slack. The problem arises when that behavior is allowed to continue. This behavior is the antithesis of being a true team member. Letting someone else do the job that you are responsible for cannot continue for the well-being of the practice. This will breed distrust among the team and, if that behavior is allowed to continue, will bring into question the leadership of the doctor in the practice.

Together, the doctor and I corrected this issue. After I explained all of these steps to my client, he understood the importance of involving the team in every part of the process. Clarity of everybody’s role and responsibility is something that I cover when I create the vision statement of the practice. That is crucial so that your team members understand who is responsible for what task. If you are acting as a true team, you should be able to anticipate the next move of your teammate. It really should be that simple within your practice. The cohesion of the team is created when there is trust between team members that they will be accountable for their role within the practice. That is why culture is paramount to your team cohesion. If a team member is allowed to pawn their responsibility onto another, then that is what is acceptable in your practice. If that behavior is acceptable then that behavior will continue to occur in your practice. If, however, that behavior is not acceptable, then that behavior will stop. These are the conversations you need to have with your team and discuss your culture as a team so that everybody is on the same page.

The next step requires the leadership of the doctor. You have created and written down your culture – meaning the behaviors that will be expected as well as the behaviors that will be avoided by your team members. For example, gossiping is a behavior that is not allowed for your team members. Please keep in mind, especially in the beginning, that it will take the daily leadership of the doctor to make sure human behavior changes in your practice. Once you have taken the time necessary to create the culture that you desire in your practice, you will always fight to keep that. This means that the accountability segment and the team cohesion are something that you will always expect your team members to uphold.

There is an additional benefit that will separate you from other employers in the area. When hiring a new team member, you will have a written mission, vision, and culture to share with them. By having these ready to share with new team members, there should be no confusion about the expectations the doctor and the team will have for future new hires. This is a competitive advantage for you and your practice. Having these items written down proves how much you care for your team and ultimately for your patients and the care they receive in your practice.

Please reach out to me via email at with any questions you have or if you would like to schedule a complimentary call.

Top 4 Ways To Boost Case Acceptance In Dental Practices | Dental Practice Management

dental consulting

Treatment acceptance can be a sensitive subject for many dentists. You do not want to come across as pushy or salesy, especially for a health-related service. However, you can improve your case acceptance rate by simply rethinking the way you talk to your patients about recommended treatments. 

Explain and Educate

Patient education is vital to both oral health and treatment acceptance. Provide a thorough explanation of any treatment needed without coming across as critical of their oral health. Any whiff of judgment is a turn-off to many patients. Avoid being too graphic and refrain from over-explaining. It can be helpful to have pamphlets, laminated charts, dental models, or other visuals on hand to aid in explaining a condition or treatment. The key is to provide a thorough explanation of their current dental and oral health. 

If they are curious about hairline cracks in their teeth, for example, explain craze lines. If they want to know why their gums bleed when they floss, explain periodontal health and how to prevent it. Always follow up with suggested treatment options. When patients feel that you are invested in their education and wellbeing, they will likely feel more confident in the care you’re providing.

Emphasize the Benefits

While being thorough and honest about a condition, you should also focus on the benefits of a particular treatment. Always strive for buy-in. When most people are approached with an important decision from an outside source, they tend to go on the defensive, especially when it comes to something as intimate as health care. 

Our dental business coach says to be careful how you present information. Your patient needs to understand their situation, whether it is an urgent oral health concern, a cosmetic issue, or a preventive measure. They need to be able to follow the logic in your suggestions for a service and understand exactly how it can positively impact their oral health.

Once they have a thorough understanding of the issue and the solution, they are more likely to accept the treatment they need.

Be an Excellent Listener 

During your patient appointments, don’t just run through a treatment checklist. Patients want to believe that they’ve been heard, not talked at. Ask what their oral health goals and concerns are, and then let them speak. It shows that you care about them and how they feel, both before and after treatment.

Encourage Two-Way Communication

Make sure that you strove for ongoing, two-way communication with patients. These conversations help ensure they understand their oral health issues, are educated on treatment options and are given solutions in a positive manner. Patients will know that your suggestions are offered with their best interests in mind — that you care about them as individuals, not as a mouth to fix or a goal to meet.

Schedule a consultation with our dental practice consultant today to discuss more techniques on how you can boost treatment acceptance and improve your practice.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Increase Marketing Investment to Boost Revenue | Dental Business Coach

Dental Business Coach

Every business experiences trends of increasing and decreasing revenues, and dental practices are no different. When new business slows and income begins to stagnate, many practice owners react by cutting back on budget items they think are most expendable. One of those is marketing. 

This is almost always a mistake. When you cut your marketing budget, your revenues almost always suffer. Today’s practices cannot survive only by word-of-mouth referrals. Your company needs to keep up a flow of new patients, not just in the weeks following a postcard blast or mass email. In addition, you need to maintain the loyalty of your existing patients. 

Consistent, effective marketing helps you achieve both goals. One recent study found by our dental business coach examined the marketing budgets of several publicly traded companies. The researchers found that businesses that were spending an average of 16.5 percent of revenue grew up to 15 percent annually, and those that spent an average of 22 percent grew 16 to 30 percent annually. 

Marketing can mean many things, from emails to brochures to internet outreach. Increasingly, it is digitally focused. A coordinated social media, advertising, and email campaign, for example, can serve to keep you top of mind in the worst of economic times. 

Of course, technology is a double-edged sword. While it is easier to attract and retain patients this way, it is also easier to lose them. A Salesforce study shows 70 percent of customers say internet searches facilitate their search for a business that better suits their needs. That’s where good, old-fashioned customer service comes in.

When your marketing budget increases, your revenue usually follows suit. There are several rough indicators that can influence how much your practice should spend on marketing:

  • Is your practice new? You may need to invest more until you have established a patient base.
  • Do you want to maintain the growth of your established practice? Compare your current growth rate to the number of patients lost in a year to help determine the health of your budget. 
  • Is business stagnant or decreasing? Consider investing an additional 5 to 10 percent above your current marketing budget, at least until the trend reverses.
  • How competitive is your local market? Higher competition requires greater investment to grow business. 

For customized advice on setting your dental marketing budget and growing your practice, contact our dental management consultant today.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

How to Handle a Toxic Employee | Dental Management Consultant

Dental Business Coach

Hiring new employees is time-consuming, stressful, and sometimes expensive. It’s no wonder, then, that many businesses find it more cost-effective and less emotionally taxing to retain employees, even if they turn out to be a negative influence. Enter the devastating effect of the toxic employee. 

Dental offices tend to be small and close-knit, which makes it even more difficult to confront someone about their behavior and let them go. While finding the right fit for your practice can be a challenge, holding onto a toxic team member can be far more costly.

What is a Toxic Employee?

A toxic employee may be a competent worker, or started out that way, and they may be decent people at heart. For whatever reason, however, their actions and attitude become a drag on the workplace culture. See if you recognize these red flags in your practice shared by our dental business coach:

  • Poor attitude: This type of person will exhibit passive-aggressive characteristics. They may agree with a directive on the surface, but accompany it with eye-rolling, exaggerated sighs, sarcastic comments, muttering, complaints, or a confrontational tone.
  •  Dishonesty: Whether blaming others for their own mistakes, refusing to accept responsibility, or outright lies and thefts, this type of toxic employee can harm your bottom line as well as morale – especially if you don’t confront it. 
  • Lack of engagement: This type of employee avoids work, lacks enthusiasm and is lackadaisical toward responsibilities. They are often inattentive at meetings and huddles. 
  • Falling work performance: The toxic employee will not do any more than the bare minimum of what is expected. They appear disinterested in feedback or training and are otherwise unwilling to improve.
  • Bullying behavior: Anyone who intimidates other team members, is disruptive, or otherwise makes others feel uncomfortable, could be a toxic employee. 

If you recognize any of these indicators, you have two choices. You can give them another chance or let them go. There is almost always an underlying reason for someone’s toxic attitude: The employee may be going through personal turmoil or carrying forth maladaptive behaviors from childhood. Some toxic employees don’t even realize they are behaving in a negative way until someone points it out. 

While practices are often family-like, keep any discussion strictly work-related. Outline your findings in a factual manner and document, if possible. Create an improvement plan and a timeline. Consult labor laws in your state for additional guidance. 

Your second choice is to outright fire the toxic employee. You may have no choice if you have found an issue that puts patients at risk or involves financial malfeasance.   

If you are still on the fence about letting a negative team member go, consider these consequences of keeping a toxic employee.

  • Loss of new patients: If a toxic employee is interacting with potential patients, they are creating a negative image of your business, which can lose hundreds or thousands of dollars in revenue.
  • Loss of existing patients: If they are treated poorly even once, they may choose to take their oral care elsewhere – and they may tell other people.
  • Loss of your best team members: Your best people want to work in a positive environment where they feel supported and appreciated. By tolerating the complaints, bullying, or shoddy work of one toxic person, you risk losing valuable team members.

Don’t compromise your business or your best team members by refusing to fire toxic employees. For more strategies to improve your practice, contact our dental management consultant.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

3 Easy Ways to Find More Time in Your Day | Dental Team Coaching

Dental Practice Management

We all have days when time management seems like a dream instead of a reality. Some days, making the clock work for you instead of against you seems close to impossible. If so, it might be time to reevaluate the strategies you are using to organize your day. What other tools could you be using to save your practice’s most precious commodity? Here are three methods shared by our dental business coach that can help you organize your time. 

1. Re-evaluate Your Time Management Tactics

Keep track of how you are spending your time. Write it down in detail. Do you tend to start one task, put it down and go back to it later? Maybe completing one task before starting another will help you check off more items at the end of the day.

What about interactions with your team? Are you so focused on keeping them productive that you neglect your own to-do list? Try this: Ask each team member to record their tasks for the day and send them to you in a quick, to-the-point email daily for a week. This will give you a good idea of who is doing what without micromanaging.  

Getting a clear picture of what each team member is contributing may also help you scale back on team meetings. Having a list of completed tasks at the end of the day allows for everyone at your practice to be keenly aware of who is accountable for each task. That kind of clarity encourages harmony.

2. Use Apps to Maximize Efficiency

There are many time-management tools available for your laptop and phone. Why not take advantage of apps and software? They can be extremely valuable for keeping track of hours and productive time. Everyone can benefit from efficiency apps. There’s no need to manage all aspects of your business manually unless that method works for you; if so, stick to it.

Take advantage of scheduling apps and software, too. You can schedule next-appointment reminder emails to patients instead of sending them in real time. This keeps you in regular contact with your patients and can help with retention, as well. 

3. Consider Express Check-In

One late patient can throw the whole day off schedule. Make it easier for your patients to register at the desk. Provide forms online for them to fill out before they set foot in your office and offer touchscreens to help them check in with a few touches. This saves time and prevents you from earning a reputation as a practice that always runs late. 

Your patients will not want to fill out redundant forms. Rework any documents or forms where possible to prevent redundancy.

Successful business leaders are experts at time management. Put methods in place that allow for concrete, quantitative results to measure productivity. Utilize technology designed to make your life easier and create a more pleasant patient experience. If you need help with time management and practice efficiencies, call our office and talk to our experienced dental consulting team.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053