We are a group of Dental Consultants who offer, improved practice morale; a happier, more profitable patient base;and improved home life; increased collections. (And yes, our average is 35% in year one.)

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Part 2: Go big or Go Home: "Big Thinks"

                                                                   Debra Quarles

“Big Thinks” come in different sizes and have different impacts. The one thing they have in common, though, is the requirement of time to consider what is going on in your practice.
Expanding your thoughts will also produce some other benefits. For example: having “Big Thinks” generally enhances a person’s ability to see things from another’s perspective as well as help to keep them focused on the big picture, both of which make individuals better to work with and for.
Every interaction we have with patients and other team members will be enhanced if we can enter their shoes. Seeing things from another’s perspective is one of the most important interpersonal skills you can develop. This does not mean, “giving away the store” or “becoming a door mat.” When patient challenges come to our attention, it means gaining an understanding of how it happened and changing our procedures or dialog to ensure miscommunications do not occur in the future. Seeing things from a teammates perspective may enhance how we share duties, or change how patients flow through our practice.
Gaining perspective also assists team members in seeing the big picture. Someone who was unaware of the importance of big picture thinking probably said the phrase, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Do not be that person. Instead, be looking ahead, focused on where your practice is headed and what can be done to improve it.
Team leaders and members who can see the big picture are better able to stay focused on the team’s vision and goals. Everything that is done in your office is part of the big picture patients see. Details are incredibly important, but when a team member lacks the ability to understand their impact on the whole, details are forgotten. “Big Thinking” keeps you and your team on target. Once you know where you are headed, you can evaluate everything to determine if you are going in the right direction.
Also, team members able to see the big picture are becoming increasingly valuable. They understand there is more potential when boundary-less behavior is evident in the workplace and understand each member contributes to a greater whole. They know it is not good enough to just understand and do their own part. More importantly, when team members see the big picture there is ownership.
Now is the time for some “Big Thinking” in your practice. There might be ideas like the world is round lurking in someone’s mind. It could be that more happiness is needed. Or it might be time to take a look at all those things we do each day out of habit. Perhaps we would find a “Big Think” that would make our lives easier and/or enhance our patient’s experience. You will never know what great ideas can be yours until you take the time out of your business to focus on your business.
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Debra Quarles is a positive focused, motivated professional with over 25 years of experience in the dental field. She is the author or Team Strategies, the Dental Practice Companion. Debra has a unique ability to assess dental practice productivity and a keen talent for communicating.  Experience has accustomed her to handling all types of issues that arise daily in dental offices and with dental teams of any size.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build teamwork and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.



Monday, May 27, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: "Big Thinks"

Debra Quarles


Our last article focused on abundance and checking your numbers to determine whether you were on track. This time we will talk about how to incorporate “Big Thinking” to take you to the next level in your practice.

Those who are successful, in ventures of any kind, know it is important to take time out of your business to think on your business. How much time do you spend on “Big Thinks?” Are you looking into the future and setting goals? Do you spend time thinking of new innovations, methods or ideas that could improve your practice?

The day-to-day activities of running your practice: caring for patients, working with employees and handling all the challenges of the day, is not conducive to having “Big Thinks.” Instead, time must be set aside where ideas can come forth.

In Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century, there was a librarian who was a curious man. One day he heard that in the well-known town of Syene on the longest day of the year, there was a water well where the sun would not cast a shadow. This perplexed him, as he’d noted on the longest day of the year in Alexandria all the pillars and columns produced shadows. So he made his way to Syene and on the longest day of the year he looked down the well. Sure enough, the sun did not cast a shadow. Nor did the sun cast a shadow from the pillars or columns in Syene. From this information Eratosthenes concluded that the Earth was round. Now that is a “Big” thought. In fact, it is an enormous thought. Not all “Big Thinks” are like that. Some are subtle.

One week a client was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. As she was enjoying the sun on her balcony, the maids came in to clean her room. She heard them singing. When she returned home, she called me immediately. “Debra,” she said, “the maids in Mexico were singing while they cleaned my room.” Her “Big Think?” The maids who were cleaning her room were going about their work happy. She wanted more happiness in her office. “Big Think.”

For more than a decade I’ve worked with a client. When I first started working with them, they provided me with a white board we leaned against their front office counter. I would spend time removing items that were already on the counter, find a way of propping up the white board and then a way of weighting it so it wouldn’t fall during my presentation. The board listed periodically and would fall. I would put it back and we would continue. It leaned a certain way and to see the words I wrote, some in the group would have to sit forward or move their chairs. Twice a month for more than a decade I did this. Then one day I had a “Big Think.” Perhaps I should bring in the easel I kept in the trunk of my car. The easel had not been in there for a decade, but I am embarrassed to say, it had been in there for a few years. I used it with all my clients who had started with me in the last three years, but had never considered the benefit it would provide to those groups who I had worked with longer. It had become a habit to move the items on the counter. A ritual to prop it up and only when I had time to think did it occur to me that I could make my life and the lives of the others in the meeting better by a change. That “Big Think” did not only impact one client. I had several others who benefited from the easel I kept in the car’s trunk. 

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build teamwork and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: Abundance Part II

                                                                    Lenora Milliagan

In Mark Fisher’s book, The Instant Millionaire, the millionaire asks someone wanting advice, “Why aren’t you rich already?”  If you aren’t already rich, answering is the first step in figuring out how to get there.  Not sure how to answer that question?  Try this.
Get the paper you wrote down your goals for the year on and under each goal write down the word “Obstacles.” Now write everything you can think of that is preventing you from achieving what you want.  Go ahead, don’t be shy, write it all down.  Fill up an entire page with everything you can think of.  Let’s say one of your goals is to add 40 new patients per month.  You might write as obstacles, “There are too many dentists in my area competing for the same patient base, there are not enough patients to go around.  The economy is so bad people do not want to come to a dentist unless it’s an emergency.  With everyone concerned about money, most people are shopping around for the best price or hopping from dentist to dentist using coupons.  I don’t have a big enough marketing budget to do anything about attracting new patients”

Now that you have all of the obstacles identified sit down and read them all out loud to yourself, or read them aloud to a loved one.  What you have created is “your story.” You’ve heard the expression, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!”  It’s true; many of us tell ourselves a story based on our perception of ourselves and the world around us. Pretty soon we start to buy into it. Then we may begin to identify with it. Sometimes we actually become so comfortable with our stories we define ourselves by them. What parts of your story have you bought into, or simply accepted as truth? What parts are self-limiting? These stories often contain fears, rationalizations, justifications, doubts, excuses and thinking errors. It’s a little more revealing to see it written down on paper, isn’t it?

The way you think changes the way you behave.  The way you behave causes results.  When you believe your patients cannot afford treatment because of the economy, you present the case differently than if you were thinking in more positive terms. You are applying a thinking error called the “externalization of blame.”  If the problem is due to external causes, it follows that it is out of your control, which follows that it is not your fault.  The logical conclusion is that you can’t do anything to change the situation. And this means you are not responsible for your results.  People who think this way frequently feel their lives are out of control thus making them victims of their situations.

Consider the way you present options for treatment to your patient. If a patient claims to not be able to afford treatment, it may be that he or she believes the expenditure is not as important as something else. Your job is to make sure you present treatment in a way that creates a desire or “want,” as well as clearly communicates potential health risks of refusing the procedure. If you approach a patient and say, “We need to take a pano x-ray today; its $100 and your insurance may not cover it,” the patient will most likely say no.   Change your presentation to “We will be completing your oral cancer screening today.  Since one person dies every hour in the USA from oral cancer, we would like to take an x-ray that allows us to see if you have any abnormalities that might be of concern.”  The patient, who is now informed of the actual facts, will most often desire to have the treatment even if insurance doesn’t cover it.  If you feel the need to add the financial information please say, “The fee is $100 and some insurances cover it.”

Be aware of the use of “limiting terms” in your life and practice.  “It’s just a cleaning,” minimizes the importance of the treatment.  Create importance by saying, “It’s your cleaning and oral cancer exam.”  Some dentists try to minimize fear by saying things like, “You have a tiny cavity.” But think about what the patient may wonder when presented with the bill.  If this was a tiny filling then why doesn’t it have a tiny price tag?  Think about the words you and your team use and what they can imply to your patients.  Perhaps you could say, “You have an area of active decay.”  What do you think of when you hear the word “active?” Think of the difference between a volcano and an active volcano.  One certainly gets my attention more than the other. 

Replace your negative thinking cycle with one of abundance.  Say to yourself, “There are more than enough patients to go around.”  “Everyone wants a healthy beautiful smile.”  And it’s true. Everyone does want a healthy beautiful smile.  There are enough patients to go around.  You are your own competition, stop worrying about the dentist next door.  If you create a positive, healthy, environment of abundance for your patients to enjoy they will stay with you and refer to you.  Exceed your patient’s expectations instead of just meeting them. 

We all want to be around positive, happy people who build us up and give us a reason to smile! Recognizing that your results are affected by the stories you buy into, how you think, and how you present yourself gives you the power to choose, the power to control your own outcome. Think in abundance!


Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 

Original Article published by

Tri-County Dental Society

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: Abundance

 

Lenora Milligan

In our last article we discussed the importance of setting goals, thinking big and reaching for the stars.  So, did you do it?  Consider this:  Mark McCormack, the author of “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School,” tells a story of a study done in 1972 with Harvard MBA students. In the study the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”  3% had written down their goals and plans, 13% had goals, and 84% had no specific goals at all.  During a follow up to the study 10 years later the results showed that the 13% that had goals, earned on average twice as much as the 84% who had no goals and the 3% who wrote down their goals, were earning 10x the amount as the other 97% put together!  The power of setting goals and having a clear vision can make you extraordinary.

As you read this you might be surprised to realize the first quarter of the year is almost over.  That means it’s time to check your statistics and see if you are heading in the right direction and at the right speed.  I suggest you compare your year-to-date production and collection to the same period of time last year.  Are you behind or ahead?  If you are ahead, then stay focused and good for you.  If you are behind it is time for course correction.  Project your production and collections forward to see where you will end this year if you keep your current pace.  To do this simply divide your numbers by the months represented and then times by 12.  An example:  If you produced $234.000 in three months then you have an average of $78.000 per month.  Times by 12 means you will finish the year at $936,000. Is that what you wanted?  This gives you a preview of where you are headed and gives you an opportunity to make changes before it’s too late.

I find it interesting that many dentists are having the best year they have ever had while their colleagues are suffering.  What is the difference?  The ones suffering would call it bad luck.  The ones prospering would say they “think in abundance.”


Lenora Milligan is a coach consultant with Salt Dental Practice Management. 

Original Article published by

Tri-County Dental Society

Continue learning by subscribing to our posts.  Check out updated positive quotes for your life on Facebook and Twitter And in need of something more, check out our website for speaking engagements, books and freebies for you office.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Practice how you want to play


Week after week you practice making your office stronger, better, and more of a team. Or you practice driving your employees into the ground, negativity runs the group and your office stays stagnate. However, your before game practice is how your going to play the game.

My youngest son is on a swim team. Every week, four days a week they get in the pool and swim up and down the lanes on the short course. But in May the short course becomes the long course. However, we have so many kids on the team, that there is no room to turn the lanes to a long course. Last weekend we had our first meet. Our team really struggled. Even though the distance they were swimming was the exact same they have swam a thousand times, it was different and they had never practiced on a long course. It was sad to sit on the side lines and watch them struggle to do something, we as parents knew they could do.  But they had never practiced on this type of course.

The time to try something new isn't when the patient is seated in the chair. By the time the patient gets in the chair you should have practiced this event a thousand times before. For example, if your front desk is working on how they answer the phone, have them role play different scenarios with other teammates. If you are planning on telling a difficult patient they need to pay 1000.00 dollars before they can continue, then your office manager needs to practice how that is going to sound. They should have questions they think the patient might ask and practice there responses.

Moving Forward
 Richard Carlson says, “You are what you practice most.” If you and your team practice time management, respect to everyone, and solid patient procedures from the first time a patient steps into your office all the way to when they check out, you will build the practice you want. Chris Corrigan, "Alive in the process of Art," says, "what happens when we are confronted with a huge question, for which the answers are unknown? What happens when things shift in ways that we have never trained for? What do we do then?If you have trained as a martial artist or as an athlete, you will know that only with practice can you be ready to face the unexpected and create a good outcome." When you practice you will win.


Ask yourself what can your office become if you begin to practice something better today?

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Monday, May 13, 2013

A Pep Talk

Sometimes we just need something a little different, hope this inspires you to be awesome!


Making a difference


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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Increase your mindset








                                                                                                              
We have been discussing and analyzing what type of mindset you are. Today, we are going to take this information and talk about how we can grow your mindset no matter whether you have a fixed or growth mindset.

The author of Mindsets, suggests five ways you can grow your mindset.

Number 1: Don't let yourself quit or give up. Life gets hard, especially when you are trying new things. It is easy to give into this and walk away. Or when you decided to take that new yoga class, did you quit right away? Did you tell yourself, your schedule got to busy or your family needed you. Don't fool yourself next time into believing your excuses. They are just that, excuses that are derailing you from achieving the things you want. Yes, it is hard at first, but give yourself time to make mistakes. Laugh when you do mess up. And chalk it up to you learning.

2: Seek constructive criticism. This does not mean any type of criticism. This means surround yourself with people who want to grow also. People who asks question and help you to move forward with your life. It's easy to be tempted to only higher people that say yes, but those people are not going to help you be better. They are not you g to give you want you need to grow your mindset.  Remember that is your goal, to become better than who you are today.

When I was in college I had a freshman grammar class. The teacher handed us a list of requirements. I remember sitting in my chair, tears threatening to spill over. He was going to grade us on proper grammar. I knew I was going to fail, but then he said something that changed my life. He said, "it's okay, if you don't know this stuff now. Ill work with each and everyone of you to help you be successful." But now I was left with a choice. Swallow my pride and ask for help or fail.

I asked for help, I asked for constructive criticism. It was the hardest class I have ever taken but it was the one I learned the most in. I learned what I was willing to do to succeed and came out a better writer. Not perfect, but better. The growth mindset allows your life to change when you allow others to give you feedback.

For the other three ways to increase your mindset check back Wednesday.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

What can we learn from a horse?
















You have probably heard of the popular tail of the horse Seabiscuit. You have maybe read the book or watched the movie. So, what does that have to do with you and the, "Growth Mindset?" Everything. Here was a team of people with a horse who wasn't supposed to make it yet, they believed in a horse, and they believed in each other as a team.

When you look at your own team and analyze it, you can see individuals who can't pull together. Or you can see a group of people with strengths and weaknesses and begin to rebuild.

Seabiscuit and his team showed America how far someone can push themselves to achieve the unachievable.  Red, the Jockey was blind in one eye. Seabiscuit was undersized and was supposed to be put to sleep. While the owner, Red and trainer Howard Smith complete this group, each one broken in their own way. Their spirit and hard work payed off for this team at a time when America needed something to believe in. 

Now is the time for you to remember this. They were broken but were able to believe in their own success and push themselves. You may not be the winning spot right now, but if you take chances, learn everything you can and constantly push yourself to be better you can become something more than what you ever thought possible.



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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Increasing your mindset part II




On Monday we discussed ways to grow your mindset. Here are the other three ways that author, "Carol Dweck, suggests you can grow yours.

3. Close your eyes and think back to your past. Is there a time in your past that you feel defines you or you think, "measured you?" Imagine that moment, and feel all the feelings that you felt when you went through it. The feeling of sadness, rejection and disappointment. It is okay to feel what you felt, they are feelings and they are not wrong. However, flip that switch to a growth mindset. Think about what you learned, how that moment changed your life and changed your future. How did it help you to become a different person and what did you walk away with that you didn't have before.

4. The fourth suggestions asks you to stop and analyze when you feel depressed. Do you give up and give in? Do you decide it's to hard, make an excuse and quit or do you keep moving forward? Well, instead I offer an alternative, imagine yourself jumping that hurdle. Crossing over the finish line and accomplishing whatever it was you were afraid to try. Take a leap of faith that with the right mindset and hard work you can accomplish what you set out to do and even if you fail, you will learn something. It will become a valuable lesson that you can fail and still move forward in life.

5. This next one is a plan for you to try something new that you have always been afraid of. Don't let the feelings of fear hold you back.


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