Archive for Dental Coaching


It’s All About Questions

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What questions do you have related to your business that you would really like to get some feedback on?

Your list of questions might include
dental patient customer care

  • How am I doing as your boss?
  • What kind of a leader am I?
  • What can we do better to make your visit with us special and different?
  • What is the customer service level you perceive in our practice?
  • Who treated you exceptionally well during your last visit?
  • Where can we improve our service?
  • When and how would you like to be reminded of your next appointment?

If you REALLY want to know, take the time and ask the questions! Be prepared to learn a lot; share your survey results; articulate what ACTIONS you intend to take as a result of what you learned.

Use this surveying of your customers as a way to train your team and grow your profits.

If you would like a copy of my simple survey, “How Am I Doing As Your Boss” click on the link below, take it yourself then make copies and invite your team to take it anonymously, then compare the results. I suspect you might be surprised and you will have some concrete action steps for improvement in your team relationships.

Click here for the How Am I Doing as Your Boss survey.

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How well do you Empower your Employees?

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What is the possibility you are “enabling” your employees? If you are enabling, you are offering help that perpetuates rather than solves a problem.A doctor who allows a team member to arrive late routinely to the morning huddle because she claims she has to drive through heavy traffic is enabling irresponsibility. The doctor that tolerates an employee who constantly has to get up and down from the chair to retrieve additional instruments or materials is enabling inattention to detail and inefficiency. The team member who is “barked at” by the doctor in front of the patient is enabling disrespect.

dental staff accountabilityIt can be a fine line between helping and enabling. Some leaders enable people to remain dependent or unengaged. Stop making excuses and covering up for others!

The word empower is often over-used. Many employers talk about empowering their employees but, often, employees feel disempowered. Here are four of the top 10 things you can do that will really empower your employees, according to employees, not employers!

  1. Allow employees to actively participate in team and company goals.
    Look for every opportunity to include employees at every level of the organization – in being active participants. Employees often report getting one-way directives instead.
  2. Allow employees to suggest better ways of getting their jobs done.
    Ask for employee suggestions for other ways of getting the task or project accomplished. Listen and be willing to really hear the employees’ comments. Employees often report that they have no input and are told exactly how to perform their jobs, leaving no creativity.
  3. Provide positive reinforcement.
    Always listen and acknowledge your employees. Employees often report that their decisions and actions are second-guessed and that most, if not all, feedback given is negative.
  4. Clearly delegate responsibility and give the employees authority along with the responsibility.
    Do you give inconsistent messages? Do you ask the employee to handle a problem or project and then give them negative feedback or give them an assignment and then say “never-mind?” Employees often report that they are given tasks and then told they did it wrong.

To receive the remaining six of my Top Ten Ways to Empower Your Employees, send me an email with Top 10 – Empower in your subject line.

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Enable, Empower, Who cares: Just get the Job Done!

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Early on in my practice, I found myself being the first one into the office and the last one out. All the employees were waving goodbye to go home and I was “stuck” in my office for a couple more hours – dealing with piles of charts to review, return calls to make, prescriptions to call in, unmounted casts sitting on my desk…it felt never-ending.

First thing in the morning, they’d line up asking me to “fix” this and that. I was going nuts. I felt like I was on a gerbil wheel. Near exhaustion, I realized that I was ENABLING my team members to be DEPENDENT on me and I was not encouraging them to do things for themselves or to think on their own.
dental team accountability

  • They didn’t have to be accountable for their actions.
  • They didn’t have to take initiative.
  • They didn’t have to think on their own.
  • They didn’t have to worry about being wrong or taking risks.
  • Hell, they just asked me what to do and I told them!
  • BIG mistake!

To resolve this situation, I learned I needed to EMPOWER them


I had to learn to invite and train them to take the lead on decisions that directly impacted them, to assume responsibility to share suggestions and ideas about their work and how we can distribute the load. I needed to give them permission to think, behave, take action, to control their work and environment, and to do it autonomously. They needed to think on their own and not come to me for every “nit-picky” thing.

It took a lot of time and training…for me as well as them. However, when I made this commitment, my life changed. I delegated everything I could, explained expectations better with measurables, got home to my family for dinner, our practice grew, and the doctor was a much happier camper!

What can you empower, or train your dental team to do today? Please share your successes with me here, or on facebook.

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Dental CEO’s: Predict your Business Future

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You CAN predict your business future with a greater sense of certainty!

business strategy for dentistsYou now have a tool where you can craft a simplified business plan and then, unlike a typical critiquing session in which you have to determine what might go wrong, using the premortem exercise operates on the assumption that the “patient” has died, and so you get to ask what did go wrong. 

Now you can generate plausible reasons for the failure of your business plan and increase your future success by as much as 30%. You’ll identify your risks at the onset.

CAUTION: This takes effort, time and work! Success IS connected with ACTION. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, yet they don’t quit. So, what action will you take to assure your success?

Here are the essential steps to completing your premortem:

  1. Write a simple business plan. Engage a coach or business planner to help you with this process. No, it does not need to be an MBA project.
  2. building strong dental teams

  3. Share this plan with your team and your advisors (CPA, Coach, attorney, banker, etc.).
  4. “Mentalize” your plan. Close your eyes and visualize your plan happening. Think about and feel what success looks like.
  5. Close your eyes, be at peace and fast-forward three years. Regardless of all your hard work and efforts, your plan FAILED!
  6. Write down every reason you can think of for the failure of your plan.
  7. Share in a meeting with your team and/or your advisors and give them the opportunity to have them help you identify possible solutions (steps, processes or alternatives) that could be implemented in advance to prevent this failure. In other words, what would be a plan “B” or even “C”? Remember, “no one is as smart as all of us” ~ a Coach Ronism.

I am eager to hear from any of my readers who might be intrigued by this business plan/premortem concept.

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You CAN predict your future!

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Have you ever participated in a gathering, an event or had a “connection” that was so magnanimous that the likelihood of ever repeating or recreating it seems impossible. Well, that’s what happened last weekend at my annual client gathering in Cincinnati, Ohio.

grow a dental practice

Eagles, as you know, are powerful, visionary and solitary birds. However, they rarely congregate. Yet, when they do it’s called Convocation.

Accordingly we had a remarkable 2-day Eagle’s Convocation that was powerful in so many ways. In addition to creating a “safe place” to share challenges both personally and professionally; we laughed, supported one another, offered up collective solutions and developed a deeper appreciation for our commitment to care for the overall health of the patients we serve.

An additional focus of our Eagles Convocation was for me to coach my clients through a process where we did a “premortem” of their individual business plans that each had crafted and presented to our Mastermind group over the past 9 months. Not only have most dentists never written a Simplified Business plan in their entire career, most have never applied a strategic planning process to help them dramatically increase the success of meeting or exceeding their plan.

In our “premortem” exercise, they were charged with thinking about what they wanted to happen in their professional life…and then imagine their efforts FAILED! We then tapped into “group-think” to figure out what each doctor should have done differently to achieve his or her intended outcomes. Since a premortem is the hypothetical opposite of a postmortem and it comes at the beginning of a project rather than at the end, each doctor was able to determine how his or her plan could be improved rather than autopsied.

The results of this exercise, in addition to being incredibly powerful, opened business owners to blind spots, possibilities, solutions, and a greater sense of what their individual futures could look like.

growing a dental practice

I have reminded my clients that if you are constantly looking back (postmortem), chances are pretty good you’ll fall into a hole ahead.


How to Apply the Ten Foot Rule to your Dental Practice

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What are the implications for you as a Dental CEO regarding the message I shared last week? This Dental Tip (if you apply it) will enable you to enhance your office culture, have more patients choose to have their dentistry done by you, enrich your team’s morale, make you feel better, encourage staff retention, and make you a lot of money…AND it will cost you NOTHING!!

enhance dental team communicationsIt’s called the Ten-Foot Rule, so coined by John DiJulius of the DiJulius Group, the author of the book, What’s The Secret.

Just like saying GOOD MORNING had a magical effect on shifting my day from funky to spunky, the Ten-Foot Rule will have the same impact on your business and on every member of your team.

It’s remarkable in its simplicity and like I said, it costs nothing. Are you ready for this?

Tomorrow morning you declare to your entire team that, from this time forward, every time and any time (no exceptions) you are within a ten (10) foot vicinity of any human being in your office, you acknowledge them with a hello, a nod, a positive comment, a pat on the back, a simple smile, a “high-five” – ANY form of greeting that lets them know you see them and know they are a living human being. No looking down. No ignoring. No looking away pretending like you never saw this person. No looking straight ahead like a zombie or like you just got out of bed. You give your own positive version of Good Morning…even if it is afternoon.

  • There are no exceptions!
  • There are no excuses!
  • Even if you just saw, spoke to, or interacted with this person only moments earlier!
  • And it starts with the Leader of the business!

improve dental staff retentionCoach Ron’s One Week Request: Everyone in the office (Doctor included)…no matter how silly, stupid or ridiculous this 10-Foot Rule sounds, is expected to behave with this new approach. Do this and I promise you that you will notice the following:

  • It will enhance your office culture
  • You will have more patients choosing to have their dentistry done by you
  • You will enrich your team’s morale
  • It make you feel better
  • Encourages staff retention
  • It will make you a lot of money!

Lest you tell me I’m nuts or worse yet, unsubscribe from my incredibly valuable blog, JUST DO IT! Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.

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“GOOD MORNING” your way into a better day!

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Have you ever gotten up in the morning and feel “punk?” You know the feeling…not too perky – a little “off” – perhaps a bit grumpy…and for no good reason. You just woke up that way.

Well that happened to me the other day. Aside from feeling not so bubbly, I struggled to get on my bike for my 6-10 mile early morning exercise ride. I managed to get on the road and in traveling mode around the neighborhood at 6:30 am. I came across an inordinate number of people walking their dogs, jogging, even other bike riders.

grow a dental practiceAs I came upon the first person, I yelled out a not-too-energetic “Good Morning” and was returned with a resounding, “Good morning to you. I hope this is a great day for you.” Her response immediately perked me up. When I came upon the next person and the next and for the remainder of my ride, I found myself positively expressing an unambiguous “GOOD MORNING” to everyone I encountered. And, everyone reciprocated accordingly.

Forty-five minutes later when I returned home and dismounted from my bike, I felt energized. At that moment I realized I had shifted my thinking from a lousy day to a fabulous day. I had Good Morning’ed my way into a better day. My little hissy-fit morning turned into something so much better and it reminded me that a bad attitude is like a flat tire – you can’t get very far until you change it.

How do you turn a challenging day into a great day? I’d love to hear your thoughts here, or on my facebook page.

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How Intriguing are your Numbers?

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What numbers are you tracking in your business and professional life? What is important for you to be tracking?

Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Health: See the list I mentioned last week such as BMI, triglycerides, cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and what to track for business successheart rate. What others are important to YOU? How regularly are you exercising? How much water are you drinking daily? How many hours of sleep do you get daily? How many HUGS (yes, hugs) are you giving and receiving daily?
  • Business: Production, collections, number of referral requests, failed appointments, cost to the business of failed and short-noticed cancelled appointments, collection percentage, managed care adjustments, hourly productivity, P&L line item costs such as marketing, rent, lab fees, office and dental supplies, and any and ALL investments made in employees…not just their wages.
  • Financial: How much is enough? Are you being supported by a Certified Financial Planner to help you create your economic future of choice? How well have you calculated your year of retirement? How much do you save or need to save every year? Where do you want your kids or grandkids to go to school, college, and post-college? Are you on track to save for these expenses? How often do you intend to replace your autos? What are the returns you need on your portfolio to hit your targets? Have you established your investment policy guidelines that will help you identify your risk tolerance? Again, how much is enough and how will you know if you are there?
    The numbers don’t lie. What are yours?

Remember, there is a reason we have scoreboards at sporting events. There is a reason we have speedometers in our cars. There is a reason we count our money. What does your scoreboard tell you? At what “speed of life” are you moving?

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“ROMANCE” Those Who Are Important!

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I’m married to a remarkable lady! For those of you who have been around for a while, I call her “Sweetness.”

The Dental CoachOur 40th Anniversary is now less than 40 days from now. How do I know? My “love-muffin” (don’t puke), that I did not realize had a “romantic” bent, has reminded me of this significant date.

On June 2, just after I finished a coaching call early in the morning, my Sweetness came around the corner, still in her PJ’s/bathrobe and funny morning hair, with a BIG smile on her face and carrying a brown, stapled shut lunch-bag with “40” written on it. Now you have to know, being married to a Kindergarten teacher, our marriage has always been full of fun and wonderful surprises…and I was about to experience another one of her amazing and loving gestures (she made me feel like a kindergartner all over again). She handed the bag to me and stood in front of me and said, “Open it up” with a cute and curled smile on her beautiful face. Knowing her shenanigans, I had a suspicion what this bag with “40” written on it meant. Yet, I was conflicted as I didn’t anticipate this special moment and as I mentioned, she’s not the classical romantic. Really, my emotions immediately overtook me.

I eagerly opened the bag, having no idea what to expect other than knowing that my “bride” has done something very special for me. Inside was a bag of Riesen’s chewy, chocolate caramel covered in rich European chocolate with a note attached. I bet you want to know what the note said? Here it is: “There are soooo many Riesens why I love you!” While taken aback by this immediate moment, I immediately got up from my chair and hugged her like it was the last day of my life. She then said, “This is the beginning of a 40-day countdown to our 40th wedding anniversary…I love you…Expect something every morning to start your day with a smile.”

success tips from Dr. Ron ArndtOMG! As she left the room, and as I wiped away my tears of amazement and appreciation, I took a couple of minutes to reflect on how important it is to share our feelings, to accept love given willingly, and marinade in gratitude. Trish has made me feel incredibly important and valued. While I feel I adorn her with love and appreciation, to receive such a gift is breathtaking.

May I end this blog from Coach Ron with a few thoughts as I get to enjoy and experience expected, but unknown, surprises up to and including July 12, our anniversary:

You know you’ve found true love when you catch yourself falling in love with the same person over and over again.

Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion; today is special.

Falling in love is not a choice. To stay in love is.

P.S. If you’d like to see a few more examples of the morning surprise gifts/notes, this link will take you there.

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Are you ready to have “Fun” at your dental team meetings?

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What is the possibility that you might be able to induce more fun into your business or practice? Have you had traditions from years gone by that have faded away? What would it be like if you and your team put on your “creative Easter Bunny hats” (metaphorically speaking) and came up with some fun ideas for young and old?

building strong dental teamsAre you ready to have “Fun” at your team meetings? Here are some ideas

  • Have fresh flowers in a vase weekly to pass out to patients for making our day a pleasant one.
  • At your huddle, have a “grab bag” filled with prizes to acknowledge a team member for a job well done yesterday. She/he gets to “grab” from the bag.
  • Come dressed in costume to your team meeting.
  • Have a meeting that consists only of successes – nothing negative.
  • Hand out play money to the team members with good ideas. They can cash it in for prizes.

Did you know that a positive outlook does not depend on any particular circumstance? A positive outlook costs you nothing and, yet, it can bring you so very much. How can you be positive if everything is going wrong? A positive outlook is a great way to get things going right. You have to begin somewhere, don’t you? Why not positive instead of negative? You Can Never Be Too Old to Be Young!

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