Archive for Dental Practice Core Values


Core Values and Vision: Business Jargon or Real Direction? (Part 2)

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As we talked about last month, the best and most essential way to create a positive, interactive dental workplace is by creating two critically important documents. The first is a value-centered set of guiding principles and the second is a clear vision statement.

Dental Business VisionCore Values Guide Your Actions.

• What you will or will you not do?
• What is a right or wrong action?
• What are the rules you live by?
• What are your principles or boundaries?
• What will you take a stand for? (If nothing, are all actions acceptable?)
• What do you ask of others?

It is important to work with a team of people whose core values reflect your own. Your business philosophy comes from a basic respect for each employee’s unique needs and talents…including your own.

Once your Core Values are in writing the next step is articulating your Vision Statement. Again, the doctor must be the one to identify the vision for the practice. This is not a group effort. While some “guru’s” would have you believe that the team needs to be involved, to participate, to get many perspectives, to be one with the universe. However, the reality is, over many years the doctor is often the only sustaining team member.

Staff members come and go but the doctor is often the only remaining constant. This vision is the real direction of the practice. Now that doesn’t mean that others may have an input, it simply means that the final direction is the responsibility of the CEO.

“Vision, like self-confidence, isn’t achieved by taking a pill or reading a book. A sense of vision
grows out of a set of values, experiences, individual reflections, and organizational wisdom and direction. If we see how our work supports and contributes to the larger vision, our work will seem more meaningful and can be more directed. ~ Jerry Moskus

Similar question: what is a Vision, how do I identify it, how do I make it compelling, and how does it impact my team and my office?

Your Vision is a colorful description of how the future of your business will be. It must capture the imagination so that your employees are prepared to devote themselves to transforming that vision into a reality. A compelling vision enables employees to feel that the end results are worthwhile; it gives a sense of direction; and it provides criteria so that employees can judge what is important or irrelevant.

Your task: to write, in not more than fifty words, a compelling vision for your business. Imagine this will be presented to every employee at a special team meeting.

Use these questions to give you focus as you write your Vision:

1. What is your practice especially good at doing?
2. How are you doing competitively?
3. What changes do you expect to see in the demand for your services over the next 3-5 years?
4. What other organizations do you consider ahead of you?
5. What do these more successful businesses have that you do not have?
6. What do you use to judge success and how well are you satisfied that you are measuring important criteria?
7. What books or resources can I “tap” to galvanize my thoughts?

In addition, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself to help you to clarify, articulate, and “see” your Vision.

1. What do I want my life to be like?
2. What do I want my practice to be like?
3. What type of patients do I want?
4. What behaviors from staff and patients do I want?
5. What kind of dental care do my patients require and expect?
6. What kind of facility do I want?
7. What impact will my team have on my success?
8. How can I identify and support all my stakeholders?
9. What are my feelings about profitability and financial success?
10. How would I want to interact with my team and our patients?
11. What would my patients tell me and others about my practice?
12. What would I say about my Dream Practice every morning when I walk in the office?
13. How would my patients feel about coming to my practice?
14. What else do I need to address or include that will inspire my team?

So, your Vision, supported by your Core Values serves as a compass. It lets you know where you are and what direction to go in when faced with several options. It is generally a lofty, inspiring statement of the ultimate destination of your practice. Ultimately it will enable you to: 1) Identify the very best destination. Do not settle for the second best option. 2) Support the highest principles that will guide your actions. 3) Describe the “big picture.” And 4) Identify outcomes you hope/intend to achieve.

Then utilize those documents to reinforce the values and goals of the practice. It is important that all team members own the core values and vision of the practice.

Every communication in the practice (e.g. all documents and policies) should be crafted around and support the values and vision. After creating the values and vision, team meetings and workshops need to be held on a regular basis to discuss progress in applying the shared values.

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Have you ever played Whack-a-Mole at your office?

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You’ve planned and are looking forward to having a remarkably productive first month of the year to set the stage for an amazing 2015 and…

contingency planning for dental ceo

  1. Monday morning your Chairside Assistant calls in sick 20 minutes before your first patient who is scheduled with you for a three-hour appointment!
  2. You have your most productive and interesting day of the month going smoothly until 10:45 a.m. when your air compressor craps out! The repairman can’t get to you until tomorrow.
  3. You have Mrs. Smith sitting in the chair at 8:00 am to seat six anterior veneers, and two minutes into your welcoming conversation with her, you’re informed that the veneers are not here!
  4. You’ve seated the denture yesterday and Mr. Brown was delighted with the fit, feel and appearance. You patted yourself on the back because it was a challenging case. It’s now 4:50 p.m. and your Appointment Coordinator advises you that Mr. Brown is coming in right now because his wife hates the color of his teeth and the dentures makes him look hideous!

If you have never experienced any or all or some permutation of these, you obviously have just graduated from dental school and have not had the opportunity to experience “life”.

It happens to all of us…that Whack-a-Mole process where by we think we have taken care of that ornery mole and then he pops his head up again in some other place. Just when we think we have everything under control, he pops his head up again! Uggggh!

Click here to read more about Whack-a-Mole Dentistry.


Who Are You Noticing?

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Dental CEO’s, who are you noticing? For many years, bosses thought that cash bonuses, higher salaries, or an expanding menu of benefits was all it took to encourage employees. Research over past decades, however, confirms something else.

The two motivational factors most mentioned by employees were not salary and benefits, but rather an interesting job and recognition for doing that job well.
Dental practice work life balance

Recognizing and rewarding team members for a job well done or for meeting a performance goal are not a luxury.

It is a basic requirement for strong teams, higher productivity, and a more effective practice. Praise packs power! Numerous studies have shown that a sincere thank you or a word of praise often means more than a pay raise or a gift. The power comes from the fact that you took the time to NOTICE and to ACKNOWLEDGE a team member’s actions. It makes them feel special; and everyone, whether they voice it or not, wants to feel special.

Dr. Gerald Graham, a specialist in employee motivation, found that personalized, instant recognition from the team leader made the highest impact on positive and sustained employee performance. Team members respond the best when the leader/doctor:

• Personally congratulates individuals who do a good job.

• Writes personal notes about specific performance.

• Publicly recognizes individuals or the team for good performance.

• Holds morale-building events to celebrate successes.

And this type of recognition costs nothing!

Coaching ACTION ITEM: “metaphorically” or really, why not plan to create “Bobble Head” experiences for your team as you design your 2015 recognition program? Watch your customer/patient service experiences skyrocket! How you treat your team members dictates how your customers are treated.

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Core Values and Vision: Business Jargon or Real Direction? (Part 1)

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The best and most essential way to create a positive, interactive dental workplace is by creating two critically important documents. The first is a value-centered set of guiding principles and the second is a clear vision statement.

To some this task may seem foolish, a waste of time, and just more ridiculous business jargon. To others this challenge may seem daunting. And to other dentists, they have discovered that to have a truly remarkable, life-balanced, and solution-oriented practice, the undertaking has been essential.

growth strategy for dentistsThe first of the two documents, Core Values, is the most critical. It is the responsibility of the doctor to establish a set of values that all team members will respect and adhere to on a daily basis. This is not an exercise where the team gathers in a quiet, dark room, sit on the floor, hold hands, hum while we light incense and then collectively share our deepest and innermost thoughts on what our morals for the practice need to be. This is the sole responsibility of the doctor…the CEO of the firm to author this slate of guiding principles.

So what are these Core Values, how do I identify them, and how do they impact my team and my office?

Core Values are the doctor’s equivalent to The Ten Commandments. They are the Guiding Principles around which the doctor will make ALL business (and personal) decisions. It is what he or she will view as “right” and “true.” These values are non-negotiable. They originate from the heart and soul of the doctor. They are the foundation and the backbone of the practice.

Any time there is a question about what to do in typical and unusual circumstances, when there are upsets about staffing issues, how to best to communicate with patients, how to behave individually and collectively, what choice is the most appropriate for the practice, everything……..the Core Values serves as the “Ultimate” guide. It is the “source of center” for behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes for everyone (including the doctor) in the office.

Identifying Core Values can be simple or challenging, depending on how you choose to attack this mission.

What most people have discovered is that their value system is “there”, they’re “inside them”, and however, they just have never taken the time or the effort to “get them out.”

When I ask my clients to identify their values they readily admit they know what they are in general terms yet they have never put them in writing. To help them and you, below are some simple ideas to improve your ability to identify your Core Values.

Find a quiet place and begin to write out what you value. Recognize that…..

  1. A core value is something I have chosen freely and with consideration for the consequences of my choice.
  2. A core value is something I prize greatly and has a positive influence on my life.
  3. A core value is something I want to publicly affirm.
  4. A core value is something I am willing to act on.
  5. A core value is something I would repeat……if given the circumstances, I would respond in the same way.

People expect to achieve certain ideals from their jobs, employers, and careers. These workplace values have a direct impact on your satisfaction with your job, with your career, and even with your life.

Since you are the business owner, your values affect how you run your business. What are your core values?

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Dr. Ron’s Real-Life Service Blog: Self Appraise Your Dental Practice

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So you think you are sooooo good? How do you know? Read how this creative young man determined his value.

A little boy went to a drug store, reached for a soda carton and pulled it over to the telephone. He climbed onto the carton so he could reach the buttons on the phone and proceeded to punch in seven digits (phone numbers).

real life stories of outstanding customer serviceThe interested store owner observed and listened to the conversation:

BOY: “Lady, can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?”
WOMAN (at the other end of the phone line): “I already have someone to cut my lawn.”
BOY: “Lady, I will cut your lawn for half the price of the person who cuts your lawn now.”
WOMAN: “I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting my lawn.”
BOY (with more perseverance): “Lady, I’ll even sweep your curb and your sidewalk, so on Sunday, you will have the prettiest lawn in all of Palm Beach, Florida.”
WOMAN: “No, thank you.”

With a smile on his face, the little boy replaced the receiver. The store owner, who was listening to all of this, walked over to the boy.
dental practice customer service

STORE OWNER: “Son…I like your attitude. I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.”
BOY: “No thanks.”
STORE OWNER: “But I just listened to you. You were really pleading for a job.”
BOY: “No Sir, I was just checking my performance at the job I already have. I am the one who is working for the lady I was talking to!”

This is what Coach Ron calls, “Self Appraisal.”

“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Why not autograph your work with excellence?”

What can you do in your work this week that will make your signature stand out?

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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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Who in your business can you ROMANCE?

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Now, before you get your shorts in a knot and presume that I mean “really romance,” what I really mean is what are the possibilities that there are team members, patients, or vendors that you can or need to acknowledge and recognize in some fun, easy, simple way?

Imagine if you took the time to “catch people doing things RIGHT” in your business. Imagine acknowledging people for taking great care of your patients, customers, or clients. Imagine receiving multiple referrals from those you serve. How can you “METAPHORICALLY” romance these important people?

Dental practice work life balanceHere are a few ideas for your consideration:

  • Tell team members why they are important. People who understand that their efforts make a difference to the success of the team want to make sure their team “wins.” Let everyone know how important they are – everyday!
  • Include your patients, vendors, and anyone who enters your practice. Let the world know about the achievements of your team. Another certification? Brag about it. Going the extra mile? Brag about it. Tell everyone about your great team!
  • Include your community. Let your local and professional communities know about the great things your team has accomplished. Put their picture in the paper or in a wall display in the waiting area.
  • Remember important dates. Birthdays are expected, but do you remember when each person joined the team? Make a note on your calendar or in the computer. When their anniversary pops up, write a short note, give them a gift certificate, or a special mug. They will appreciate you remembering their special day.
  • End team meetings with a round of acknowledging STAR actions.
  • Leave notes of appreciation throughout the office in unexpected places (i.e., the refrigerator or by the time clock).
  • Give an ABCD Award. Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.
  • Holiday shopping and wrapping can be tiring. Hire a personal shopper to help with the shopping and wrapping for one week.
  • Energizer Bunny® Award. Use a pink bunny to recognize the achievement of specific goals that required someone to keep going, and going…

Who in your business will you ROMANCE this week?

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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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Antithesis-Juxtopposed-Opposite…Real Service vs. Crappy Service…there is a clear distinction!

And for service providers and we business owners, we damn well better recognize that Social Media is turning the idea of customer service upside down. And I’m doing it right now.

delivering on your promise to customersSweetness and I, for over 10 years, have loved our queen-size Tempur-Pedic mattress that we purchased from Mattress Matters in North Olmsted, Ohio. Wanting to expand our sleeping quality, on March 28, 2014, we revisited this store and purchased a new king-sized Tempur-Pedic with the built-in cooling feature. How exciting for old people…I can tell you first hand.

At the time of the sale, we were told the store needed to order factory-direct, as our “kool/cool Tempur-Pedic” was not available in the warehouse. We were unaware of the extended delay in delivery that required two phone calls from us to discover the “when” on the delivery. When it arrived, the very contentious deliverymen indicated that when they opened the packaging, there was an obvious flaw in the mattress covering and that, while not structural in nature, could be handled with a new cover. The salesman was notified and we were told this was IMPOSSIBLE in the words of the factory folks. They promised to replace the cover and all would be “peachy-keen.”

So, as of May 27, 2014, over two months later and several follow-up phone calls and still no resolve. Here is my resolve: Never will I purchase from these folks…and now you know it too. I love the mattress; I really dislike the local service and “lip-service” about how “we take such great care of our customers.” BS! Tempur-Pedic, while a sleeping delight, also is a substantial investment. I would have expected something different. No thank you note for your business, no follow-up from the store to rectify the problem…only Crappy Service!

the most important thing you can do to delight your customersNow here is the ANTITHESIS…one of my favorite eateries is Hyde Park Grill in Westlake, Ohio. Being a HUGE steak-lover, I purposely visit this store because of the great attention to detail they direct to, not only their food, but to their “guest care.” This place is sooooooo good, that the presumption is that you will never have a bad meal. As is typical, I was served with panache’ by Rachel Gregor, Jonathon Bates, and hosted by Ornela Kryeziu. They made my guest and me feel like we were the only people in the place. I love rib-eye steaks and was suggested to get their most “tricked-out,” super-duper, ultra-aged, bone-in rib eye.

Taking their recommendation, I ordered and continued on with my wonderful evening with my guest, Camille. Her food was prepared to perfection. Mine was quite rare (I ordered medium). I requested it be cooked further and when returned was still rare. The third time was a charm! That steak was unbelievable! I felt like a cannibal as I feverishly devoured it. (I know, for you vegetarians or save the whale-type folks, this is sacrilege, so forgive me). Then, in a stealth-like fashion, Mr. Scott Mehl, the General Manager of the restaurant, approached me, stood with confidence and poised in front of me, placed his card to my left and said, “Dr. Ron, I regret your meal was not cooked to your liking and it took us three times to meet your needs. Your dinner is on me.” Leaving as stealth-like as he arrived, he would not accept anything but my recognition of gratitude. No “lip-service” here. This man and his team delivered Real Service.

So, whom would you like to do business with? Folks who bullshit and tell you all the fluff and accolades about what they “will” do for you…or the folks who tell you they are about excellence and then LIVE IT?

Often, it is not the company’s product or service that distinguishes it in the marketplace, but rather how a company interacts with its customers. I choose Hyde Park Grill in Westlake, Ohio.


Happiness is a Choice

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Is There a Place to *Herd* Sourpusses?

Recently I was out taking my 3-mile power walk through my neighborhood on an unusually warm and sunny early afternoon, when I came upon an elderly man and women (funny I use this descriptor as I too am old) who were doing some spring clean-up in their front yard.

With a pleasant smile on my face, I called out to both of them, “Good afternoon to you both.” Together they looked up surprised. In a stern-like fashion, with cold eyes glued to mine, the wife blurted out to me, “What is there to feel nice about?” The husband, standing about 10 feet away, shook his head dumbfounded, almost apologetically…like he knew she was a nutcase.

benefits of a positive attitudeI immediately stopped in my fast-paced tracks and looked directly into her cold eyes and said to her, “Ma’am, just about everything is good and I’m declaring this to be a great day.” I resumed my walk and, as I was passing her husband, I leaned into him and uttered in a quiet voice, “I don’t envy you!” His immediate reply, “Please take her off my hands.”

Now I know there will be some of you reading this who will share or lecture me the following platitude(s): “Hey Dr. Ron, cool your jets. You should be more loving and caring as everyone is carrying some kind of heavy load, or she’s having a bad day…blah, blah, blah.” I am proclaiming NONSENSE! How in the hell do you turn a “good afternoon” into a negative – particularly towards a swell guy like me simply walking down the sidewalk? Post Script: This is the third time this lady has barked out to me and/or my wife.

Please join me in declaring “I will not allow others to rain on my parade!” I am prohibiting sourpusses from invading my space and I am consciously surrounding myself with folks who inspire and believe the world looks brighter from behind a smile.

Sourpuss reminded me that you can’t change how people treat you or what they say to you. All you can do is shift how you react and whom you choose to be around. The next time I see Sourpuss, I intend to wish her a happy day regardless!

Be happy. Be yourself. If others don’t like it, then let them be.

Happiness is a choice.

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