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Coach’s Corner | Team Retention

One of the recurring themes I heard in 2021 was the struggle to find team members. Sadly, I do not think those struggles are going to be going away anytime soon in 2022. For those of you who have participated in my Coach’s Corner for a while, you know I do not view the world from a negative perspective. I choose to view things from a positive standpoint which is why I will use this month’s Coach’s Corner to discuss how to retain your team. 

Let me back up for a moment and say there is a huge difference between having employees and having a true team work with you.  I define employees as a group of people that work for an organization.  They may have a goal to accomplish but do not understand how their role and responsibility is related to the rest of the company. Employees will complete tasks that are assigned to them but will not care how that relates to anything else in the organization. They just want to check off their to-do list. 

Contrast that, with what I believe, a dental team should be. A dental practice team is a group of people working together cohesively towards the clearly defined and stated goals of the doctor. There is a very high level of patient satisfaction while knowing that all members of the team are accountable to each other using their individual strengths to enhance the performance of the team. A team will sacrifice for each other. As the doctor, you will not have to ask someone to take care of something, it will already be done. A team takes responsibility for their individual actions and are accountable to one another and the doctor. 

The doctor, whether they want to or not, is the leader of the team. Your leadership plan will dictate how your team will accomplish the goals you have set for your practice. The problem arises when the doctor does not have a clear plan or no plan at all. It is impossible for a true team to work together and accomplish goals if there is not clarity and understanding on how they are to do it. That is what your leadership plan is about. 

I have worked with hundreds of practices across the country and that is the number one thing most practices are missing. The most basic is your mission which brings everyone together on the same page. Next, your leadership plan, or as I like to call it your gameplan, is paramount to getting your team to work as a team – that is foundational to your practice. There are many segments that need to be present in your gameplan. The next segment is your vision. I have a unique way of putting that together in such detail it will become a part of your business plan. Your culture is the next segment that needs to be addressed. In a nutshell, I define culture as what is or is not acceptable. 

As you can see, your gameplan needs to be set up in a particular way, just like you would set up for a dental procedure in a particular manner. I make analogies all the time about how a process is needed for clinical work as much as process is needed to lead your team. Discipline is needed for both. The difference is one you have studied for many years in dental school and the other, leadership, requires you to learn to make your practice successful. Leadership is even more challenging since you are working with people or human behavior.  

You can see why having all of these critical segments in your leadership gameplan is a necessity. By spending the appropriate time in creating your leadership gameplan, this will help you not only retain the team members you currently have but will also help you hire the correct team members with the appropriate skill set.  

I know from working with my clients that the struggle is real right now. Let me help you by organizing your leadership gameplan. You can reach me either on my website, www.victorydentalmanagement.com or email  lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com 

Common Characteristics of High Performing Teams | Dental Team Coaching

Dental Business Coach

Teamwork makes the dream work, or so the saying goes. With a team of rockstars behind you, your business can truly soar into the success that you envisioned when you first started your own company. However, creating that amazing team can be more difficult than you may have thought. Even if you have the right people, there may be something that is holding them back from reaching their full potential. Look at this list of common characteristics of high performing teams. Which ones are your team performing well on? Which do they lack? By comparing this list to your own, it may just give you the insight you need to reach the next step.

No Individual Member is More Important than the Team:

In any business, there are going to be some members of the team that are in positions of power. However, this should not make them more or less important than any other member on the team. When your team knows that they are all equals working to accomplish the same goal of success for your business, it can help create a team that relies on the necessary people to get the job accomplished.

Each Person Carries Their Own Weight:

It’s important for every team member to be performing optimally in their own role. When one person is falling behind, the rest of your team can struggle to pick up the slack while maintaining their own work. Ultimately, what this characteristic boils down to is mutual respect. If you have a team that respects each other, they’ll be working to ensure everyone has what they need in order to do their job as best they can. Without that respect, it’s likely that people will be performing the bare minimum in their role. Our dental management consultant can help each member of your team reach their full potential.

Trust:

As important as mutual respect is the level of trust your employees have in each other. When you have a team that trusts one another, it allows for strong cohesion, conflict management and natural agreement when issues arise. Cohesion built upon trust means that every member of your staff is working towards the same goals, knows how to work together, and can make the right judgement calls when problems arise.

Understanding Limitations:

Some of the best teams know when it’s time to ask for outside help. Whether it’s a task that your team may not have the experience or knowledge to fully complete, or the workload seems to be simply more than they can handle, outside assistance or perspectives are nothing to be ashamed about and can help your team succeed at a higher level.

If you and your team require help with any of the functions of your business, our consultants are here to help. Whether you need improvements in your systems, organization, team cohesion, or anything else, we can provide you with the help you need to succeed at a higher level. Call or contact our dental business coach today to get started. 

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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The Power of Feedback in Improving Workplace Performance | Dental Management Consultant

Dental Business Coach

The exchange of feedback between leaders and their teams is an almost non-stop process. Official, or not, good leaders are as willing to listen to feedback as they are giving it out. Feedback is one of the most important aspects of improving performance, and yet it can be one of the most difficult things to hear. Very few people enjoy viewing themselves in a critical light. Below, our dental management consultant will outline some of the best ways to not only get constructive feedback, but also how to handle feedback for optimal benefit when it comes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For It:

People will often assume that if something is wrong, they’ll be told and corrected. While in a perfect world, this may be the case, it is unfortunately not the reality. When you directly ask for feedback, you give your employees and your leaders the opportunity to give you valuable insights into the operations of your business. Without asking, you may be missing out on mistakes being made, or innovations that have changed business for the better.

Even if this feedback is not received in an official setting (such as a brief “on the fly” direction) it can give you the ability to bolster your systems and improve business. Make sure you ask for that chance as frequently as possible.

Don’t just React – Listen and Digest:

When feedback comes to us, it can sometimes be difficult to not feel personally attacked – especially if the feedback is critical. The worst thing you can do in this type of situation, would be to react without really considering what the other person is saying. Make sure you hear what them out and think about why they feel the way they do.

Do your best to stay clear headed and ask clarifying questions to help you fully understand the other person’s view point. Sometimes, the most positive and helpful feedback can be misinterpreted and turned into a destructive situation. If you need to take the time to digest, think about asking for time to do so. It never hurts to come back and be able to discuss feedback in more detail and from a different perspective. Taking whatever space and time you need will ultimately help you deal with feedback in a more constructive way and help you to understand your business and your leadership style better.

Reflection is a Form of Feedback:

A conversation with a manager or employee is not the only way to get feedback. You can also learn a lot about your strengths and potential limitations by reviewing the successes and failures you have had in your position. Is the same failure happening over and over again? It may be time to figure out the root cause of the issue and create a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Criticism, constructive or not, can be difficult to hear. Ultimately however, that brief time of difficulty will turn in to large dividends for both you, your team, and the business as a whole. If you’re looking for constructive feedback from an outside perspective that can help your business grow, contact our dental business coach. We’ll be able to analyze your strengths and areas for improvement in order to help you bring your business to the next level.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Data Security Best Practices | Dental Management Consultant

Dental Business Coach

Though most of the attacks making headlines are those aimed at large organizations or political groups, roughly a third of all data security breaches in the last few years have occurred in the health care industry. Of these, employee error caused three times as many breaches as external attacks. In addition, more than half of the businesses who experience a security breach have fewer than 1,000 employees.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all health care providers to take steps to protect the private information of their patients from hackers, thieves, and staff. While no data security system is foolproof, there are some best practices that can help to decrease your risk of an information breach, especially from employee error. Here are some of the best practices from our dental practice consultant you should be enforcing:

  • All computers should be placed where screens are not visible to patients or visitors.
  • Every computer should have an encrypted password for access.
  • All passwords should contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and/or symbols and should be changed regularly.
  • Passwords should never be written down in any place accessible by the public. It is preferable that they not be written down at all.
  • Every staff member must be fully educated about the importance of data security practices, their responsibility to follow these practices, and the potential repercussions for failing to comply.
  • Office computers and internet should not be used to check personal email or visit non-work-related websites.
  • Ensure all firewalls, software, and operating systems are kept up to date.
  • Wireless networks should be shielded from public view.
  • Every computer should have antivirus software installed and kept up to date.
  • Do not access office data remotely from a shared computer or unknown WiFi network.
  • Smartphones, tablets, laptops that have access to any work systems or emails should be password protected in case lost or stolen.
  • All hard copies of patient data should be shredded.
  • All transmitted data should be encrypted.
  • Sensitive information, such as social security numbers, financial data, or other private information, should never be sent through email or instant messaging services.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance protection.
  • If a breach does occur, take appropriate action immediately. Contact your legal counsel for advice.

Your first and best defense against the theft of sensitive patient information is the integration of data security best practices into your practice policies. Meet with your team to discuss any changes you need to make and your expectations of compliance. Protect yourself, your team, and your patients by working to protect the integrity of your systems. Contact our dental business coach for more information.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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4 Simple Ways to Make Stress Work for You | Dental Business Coach

Dental Consultant Near Me

Stress is an inescapable part of life. Whether you’ve just opened your business or have begun planning for retirement, you have experienced some amount of stress along the way. Doctors, scientists, and media outlets have spent many years warning about the dangers of stress. Too much stress too often can cause negative effects on our physical and mental health. However, before giving in to chronic tension and depression, consider a few ways from our dental consultant you can make stress work for you.

  1. Focus on the positive side of stress. In small, sporadic doses, stress can increase brain function for gains in creativity and problem solving ability. It can boost your immune response and provide the motivation you need to engage your issue. Over time, small amounts of stress will even enhance your resiliency for managing future difficulties.
  2. Change your self-talk. Instead of stumbling and dwelling on the negatives of your current predicament, start incorporating the idea of “yet.” The phrase “I can’t…” has an entirely different tone than “I can’t…yet.” Once you have reset your self-talk to allow for the possibility of change, you will find yourself ready to brainstorm creative strategies for moving forward.
  3. Tackle problems one at a time. Select one specific aspect of your life that is causing you too much stress. Focus on the root cause of your stress and decide on a plan of action. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to delegate tasks to a member of your team. New habits take time and training, but can create real change to improve your life. Continue working your plan, refining as needed, until the stress is no longer a factor. Choose another challenge and start again.
  4. Embrace levity every day. Celebrate birthdays, small victories, and changes in the weather. Add laughter to your workday. These will cut tension in the office and refresh you and your team. Your patients, your team, and you will enjoy the more cheerful and relaxed atmosphere this creates.

By embracing the motivating influence of stress without allowing it to drive you down into anxiety, you can generate positivity, creativity, and effective change. However, if you have chronic stress that is substantially affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. To best help others, you must first care for yourself. Contact our dental business coach for more information.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Coach’s Corner | Spirit of Thankfulness

This week I hope you are taking a break and celebrating Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones. 

For my family, there will be a seat missing this year. Last month, my Nana, who was over 100 years old, passed away. She lived such a long life and taught me so much. It is in her honor that I dedicate this Coach’s Corner to her, discussing what she taught me, and how this can relate to your dental office. 

To say her generation understood hard work is an understatement. As a small child, she grew up on a farm and knew hard work equaled the amount of food on the table. Living through the Great Depression, she watched her family learn the hard way about how to save money. Growing up in this ever-changing environment also taught her what self-discipline looked like on a practical level. 

When she married my grandfather, she worked outside the home, which was rare in those days. I can recall the stories both of them shared with me about life during WWII. They both worked during the day in their respective jobs, and when they got off work, they worked again at a gas station/grill that they owned. I took for granted their entrepreneurial skills which I have in my blood. My Nana was so proud of me owning my own company.  My grandparents would share how soldiers were passing through town and sometimes they just needed some help. They gave away so much to others because it was the right thing to do in that situation. It was given in the spirit of loving others. 

I think you can see how these examples relate very easily to your dental practice. Getting into dental school takes a lot of discipline to study to obtain the appropriate grades. Working hard and having perfect clinical skills is not suggested- it is expected as a dental student. After doing all of the hard work and graduating with your degree, then you make the decision about how you are going to practice dentistry. Will you join a practice as an associate, or will you start one from scratch? This is where your entrepreneurial skills come into focus. For those of you who have the flexibility, you will give away some of your dentistry for free since it is the right thing to do in certain situations. Every dentist I have met has a giving heart. 

It is in that spirit of thankfulness that I hope you are surrounded by your loved ones and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please get in touch with me at lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com

Visit my website: https://victorydentalmanagement.com/

Things to Consider Before Buying New Dental Equipment | Dental Team Coaching

Dental Business Coach

Dental Business Coach

No matter how well-equipped your office is initially, time, wear, and changes in technology will at some point require you to purchase additional or replacement equipment. There are a few points you may wish to keep in mind before making your final decision on a major equipment purchase for your practice.

First, take your time. Like with any other major purchase, rushing into a decision can be costly. Instead, spend several weeks in preparation for this choice. Meet with your Dental CPA about any tax implications and ask if there is an optimal time to make such a purchase. Consider carefully the following factors to be sure you are choosing the right piece of equipment for your needs:

  • What is the main purpose of this equipment?
  • What features do you want/need it to have?
  • Are you and your team going to need extensive training to use it?
  • How often is this equipment going to be used?
  • Will it fit the space available?
  • Will you have to make changes to the space to use this equipment (ie, wiring, utility connections, etc)?
  • Is the manufacturer reliable?
  • Does the manufacturer provide good service for their equipment?
  • How long should this equipment last?
  • What is the expected benefit of this upgrade?
  • When do you plan to have it installed and in use?
  • If this equipment is to allow new services, is there a demand for those services in your practice/community?
  • Will your pricing for your services offset the investment cost and still be competitive in your market?
  • If the equipment you are buying is used, have you obtained an independent opinion on its condition?
  • How does the cost compare to other models? Other manufacturers?
  • Can you purchase directly from the manufacturer to save on cost?
  • Have you compared pricing from a variety of sources online?

While not all of these may apply to your equipment purchase in every circumstance, it should be clear that major dental office equipment should never be bought on impulse or without thorough consideration and research. Recommendations from other dentists or your dental CPA can also be helpful in narrowing your search.

Your dental equipment plays a vital role in the quality of care you are able to provide to your patients. When it is time to add or replace a piece of that equipment, make sure you take plenty of time to research, refine, and select the right piece for your practice. This will help you be certain that your investment will bring value to your practice for years to come.

To learn more, contact our dental management consultant today.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Be a Leader, Not a Manager | Dental Practice Consulting

Dental Practice Management

Dental Consultant Near Me

Practice leaders set the standard and pace of your work. Managers hover and maintain status quo. Which definition sounds like you? Changing the way your practice is structured or operates can be a vast undertaking. Use these tips to get started on a path for developing an innovative practice that you lead, not manage.

Leaders Innovate

Leaders develop ideas that further practices. Managers use the framework that is already in place. Don’t hover over your hygienists or office staff. Let their work speak for itself and step in where necessary. Demonstrate to your team the qualities you want through your own actions.

Do What You Do Best

The majority of your time should be spent with patients, that is the best use of your abilities. This means you must delegate tasks to other team members. Leaders delegate tasks. Let your office staff handle the clerical side of the practice. Utilize a hands-off strategy where appropriate to free your time for patients.

Track Team Tasks

Rather than micromanaging your team, have them write or email their daily tasks to you. This will allow you to track the team’s progress and use of time. It will also save you from constantly asking, “What did you do today?” Hold your team accountable for their tasks. Request that your team define their tasks in quantitative terms. Spot-check as you feel necessary.

Know When to Hire and Train

When your practice feels swamped, hire and train. Leaders can recognize if their team is unable to handle the current workload. Pushing your team beyond their limits is not going to produce the results you are striving to achieve. Your team will work best when they have the necessary time and resources to do their tasks.

Leaders don’t have the time to micromanage. Leaders know when to back off and let the practice run on its own. This doesn’t mean you should let your entire operation always run on auto-pilot, but focus on letting each team member contribute their abilities in the best capacity. The only way to break through the status-quo is to allow for new ideas and strategies to take hold. This cannot be achieved if you are spending your time hovering over your team. Transform the way you manage your practice and your practice will transform itself.

To learn more, contact our dental business coach.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Making the Right Impression | Dental Practice Management

Dental Consultant Near Me

When clients visit your office, they observe. Your clients are going to make decisions and judgements based on what they see. If you don’t already, you need to think in the same manner your clients do. If you were a new client to your office, would you schedule a second appointment? Here are a few elements to consider.

Your Office’s Appearance

Look at your office. Is it clean and hygienic? Is it cluttered, dusty, or musty? Your clients will pick up on elements such as these. Make your office spotless. You risk your professional credibility if your office appears to be dirty. Clients are visiting you for professional treatment, so the environment must be clean. Décor matters too. Consider repainting your walls to be a soothing light blue or green. What artwork do you have hanging on your walls? Project a modern atmosphere to create confidence in your methods.

Your Team’s Appearance

Both you and your team should always be presentable. Is a team member coming to work wearing wrinkled clothing or covered with pet hair? Are phone calls left unanswered? An observant client will notice and it could cost you repeat business. You are in the business of retaining and serving your clients, so your team needs to smile often and set a confident, professional tone.

Keeping your office clean is a key element to client retention. Create an environment that makes your clients feel comfortable. Visitors will interpret your office and the appearance of your team as a reflection of your professional capabilities. It is imperative in today’s age of social media and online reviews that you present a positive impression of your business. A misstep on your part may be read by other prospective clients online.

Make the right impression with your clients if you hope to gain repeat business.

To get started with a professional consultation, please contact our dental consultant, Lynne Leggett.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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Revitalize Revenues through Increased Investment | Dental Business Coach

Dental Practice Consulting

Every business experiences trends of increasing and decreasing revenues. When new business slows and income begins to dip, many business owners react by cutting back on the item in their budget they think is most expendable: marketing.

The unfortunate reality is that this is almost definitely the wrong step to take. When you cut your marketing budget, you reduce your revenues as well.

Today’s business cannot survive through only word of mouth referrals. Your company needs to attract new clientele on an ongoing basis, not just in the weeks following a postcard blast or mass email. In addition, you need to engage and maintain the loyalty of your existing customers.

Consistent, effective marketing helps you achieve both ends.

One recent study examined the marketing budgets of several publicly-traded companies. The researchers found that businesses that were spending an average of 16.5% of revenue grew up to 15% annually, and those that spent an average of 22% grew 16% – 30% annually.

When your marketing budget increases, your revenue follows suit.

There are several factors that can influence how much your business should be spending on marketing.

  • Are you a new startup company? You may need to invest more until you have established a client base.
  • Is business established and you want to maintain growth? Compare your current rates of new customers to those lost annually to determine how your current budget is doing.
  • Is business stagnant or decreasing? Consider investing an additional 5% or 10% 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 more advice regarding your marketing budget and business growth, contact our dental consultant.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053
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