If you missed that half hour as a senior where your professor taught you about leadership and running a business, you were up the creek without a hand piece.
As a graduate, you are armed with a great skill that improves lives, but how do you run a successful practice?
I’m going to give you a crash course that will have you ahead of 90 percent of the practitioners running successful practices right now.
There are seven divisions every practice has that you need to be accountable for. That doesn’t mean you need to do everything, but you do need to delegate where appropriate.
Here are your seven divisions:
The Executive Division of a dental practice includes two primary areas, executive and management. You, as a Dental CEO, are responsible for the executive level. Being an executive means being a leader. Leadership embodies the two I’s: Inspiring the team and Influencing the team. Inspiration comes from who you are “being,” not what you are “doing.” Being is also known as your context, or the philosophy you are putting behind all of your thoughts and interactions. A leader creates inspiration by emotionally taking the team to a place they have yet to experience. On a daily basis, the leader is responsible for motivating the team from the inside out. In order to cause that, you must understand each team member as an individual, and then your team as a whole.
As a leader, you are to keep the vision alive in the practice. This provides an exciting future for the team in which to live. Your vision is what you are committed to creating for your practice and community. It is also tied to your personal purpose. You will inspire people by bringing them forward into a common vision that everybody shares.
In order to Influence people, your word must have power. In order for your word to have power, you need to follow through on what you say you are going to do. You know this as integrity. You must honor your word as your word. If your agreements are being broken, as a leader, you acknowledge your broken promises. This will allow you to restore your word and be a great influence on those around you. When your team knows your word matters, when you speak and make requests of your team, patients and community, they know you are serious and will be inspired to follow through.
Management is the second level in the Executive Division. Your team leader is accountable for this level. Management consists of the three M’s; Measure, Monitor and Make things right. In order to measure, we create tangible results; DPOs, case acceptance, BBM, etc., for each area of accountability, including individual positions and as a team. The daily monitoring systems are your DPO tracker, treatment tracker, case acceptance and daily production and collections. “Making things right” is trouble-shooting if the integrity or metrics are not being met in the practice. This allows the doctor to be a CEO and focus on dentistry. The team leader provides a state of the union regarding the practice to the doctor during an hour meeting at the end of each week. The doctor, therefore, remains in control of the practice, while not having to micromanage and lack certainty on the status of the practice.
Next, is the Administrative Division. This division has three primary components. First is the area of human relations, or personnel. This includes the employee manual, practice agreements and individual agreements team member has within the practice. To run this successfully, have software similar to a patient chart with all the key information pertaining to each team member’s employment.
The Executive Division will manage from these agreements rather than from emotion. The second area is facilities. It is virtually impossible to deliver world-class dentistry in a world-class setting without world-class facilities. Review your physical environment checklist twice a year to ensure proper facility representation. Third is equipment. Choose one or two team members to oversee the status and efficiency of all dental and office equipment. This will empower you to deliver world-class dentistry and customer service in a world-class environment.
The third division is Marketing. Marketing is both internal and external. Examples of internal marketing include implementing the NextLevel methodology, the success of the hygiene department and anything that’s done inside the four walls with your existing patient base. External marketing is done outside the four walls to people you don’t know. External marketing brings in new patients and creates a name for your practice in the community.
The Sales Division is what we call “case acceptance.” That’s where a patient agrees to treatment, has a payment arrangement agreed upon with your treatment coordinator and an agreed scheduled time for treatment. The patient understands the problem, consequence and solution for their treatment. This includes “total” case acceptance. The treatment coordinator has a benchmark of 67-percent case acceptance. The treatment coordinator reports to the team leader (may be the same person) on a weekly basis with their metrics and findings to ensure the team leader can measure, monitor and make things right.
The next division is Production, or Scheduling, which is managing the schedule. The appointment coordinator, along with the support of hygienists and “NINJAs” (No I’m Not Just an Assistant), is accountable for maximizing production time and utilizing the NextLevel scheduling philosophy. The appointment coordinator is to adhere to, and focus on, causing results. This is critical in order to maximize your time in and outside of the office, and create the triple-win with patients, team, and doctor.
The next division is the Finance Division. A dental CEO is accountable for culture, vision and solvency. In the Finance Division, you maximize cash flow and accountabilities in order to manage overhead and solvency, in addition to ensuring the complete financial success of the practice. Having certainty around your current and future finances allows you to manage the growth of the practice and fulfill on the needs of the patients, the team members and the doctors.
The final division is Quality Assurance. This division has two levels, quality assurance for your internal customer (your team) and for your external customer (the patient). Quality assurance with your patients is to ensure your patients show up, carry a zero balance with the practice, stay for as long as they live in the area and refer other patients. Quality assurance will give you certainty on your patients’ expectations and allows you to serve them beyond their expectations.
Expectations can come in different forms; time, money or customer experience. Surveying patients after each visit will reduce attrition and give you a course-correction plan that allows you to expand responsibly. You will be able to isolate each individual patient’s needs and customize your care for them. With your team, there are many different areas that team members need to feel inspired and motivated. Conduct team member reviews every six months to gain insight on what each team member needs to feel inspired and to co-create a plan to live in to within the practice. Team member reviews also give you an opportunity to educate your team member on their performance in the practice and where there is opportunity for growth. An annual survey for your entire team is critical for you to be assessed in your role as a leader in the practice.
Well there ya go, dental CEO! My personal advice to you is to find someone to be your mentor and duplicate excellence by getting support versus trying to create mediocrity. No one wins alone!