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February 1, 2023

5 Minute Positive & Productive Morning Huddle!

5 Minute Positive & Productive Morning Huddle!
Daily huddles are the best way to keep everyone on the team informed on the goals for the day and make the day flow more smoothly! It is important that they are both positive and productive to reap the best results. Time is often a deterrent. However, every practice can fit in a 5-minute morning huddle! Here are 5 steps to a positive and productive 5-minute morning huddle.
Morning huddles must be kept a priority! Nothing else not even patients can take precedence over them. Otherwise, there will always be a reason why it was canceled. Can you imagine a professional sport’s team not having practice? Morning huddles allow the team time triage and align on a game plan for the day. Which is why it is imperative that every team member scheduled including the doctors attend and be on time!
1. Have a positive huddle! Start out the huddle with something positive for example a positive quote, a prayer, kudos (highlight) from yesterday or a positive survey result! I post a daily quote on my Company Facebook Page (judykay.mausolf) for dental team huddles. A positive start sets the tone and leads to a positive huddle and day!
2. Give a heads-up of any changes in staffing for the day. Who is working and when. It’s all hands-on deck. Who can step up to help cover the shortage. Consider team members in all departments. Cross training enables business and clinical team members to assist each other.
3. Define obstacles and rocks for the day! The obstacles that may impede flow. As well as any rocks (tasks that need to be done that day or there will be negative consequences to the team, patients, or practice) that need to be completed that day. List and prioritize rocks. An example of a rock might be a lab case that needs to go out that day or ordering specific supplies if the practice will run out, or filling openings in the schedule for that day. Everyone at the huddle is expected to take part in sharing any pertinent information that may affect the flow of the day. Divide the tasks amongst the team. The goal is to maintain the schedule if possible. Otherwise, find a convenient time for the patients to reschedule. It may take some creativity including lengthening a day or adding a hygiene day.
4. Identify where to schedule same day emergency patients. We want to empower our business team to be able to schedule emergency patients proficiently. Identify two emergency times for the day. I have found it works best when the clinical team chooses a time in the morning and in afternoon to schedule emergency patients. Pick a time that is later in the morning and later in the afternoon to be able to accommodate the late caller.
5. End your huddle on a high note! A positive huddle close helps set the tone for the day! It’s so important that we start our day on a positive note. It could be something as simple as a high fiving each other and saying, “let’s make today a great day”!  Alternate who ends the huddle between all team members. Be creative and fun!  Bookend your huddles with something positive! The possibilities are endless!
 Implementing the 5-step 5-minute huddle will improve communication, team cohesiveness and patient care!

January 1, 2023

It’s All In The Close!

It’s All In The Close!

The success of a dental practice relies heavily on the close!  The patient and the practice both lose if case acceptance is low.  The patient experience can be perfect up to the close and yet everything comes to a halt if the financial close is awkward and uncomfortable. Practices invest heavily in marketing, branding, technology, practice management software, and clinical training.  However, many often miss focusing on the close to achieve success.

The ability to proficiently present treatment and fees resulting in case acceptance is critical to the success of a practice. The more patients understand their dental needs and the fees associated with treatment, the more likely they are to accept recommendations. We want the patient to understand exactly what they need, why they need it, and the importance of getting it done now.

Most people dislike surprises when it comes to dental care and costs. Real understanding on the part of the patient leads to case acceptance. Use stories and analogies focused on real life benefits for the patient. For example, eating corn on the cob or steak or even just being able to smile.

It is vital that the team member (presenter) presenting treatment and fees is confident and comfortable with this role. Seventy percent of case acceptance breaks down because of the way the fees were handled. The presenter must understand dentistry and absolutely believe in the value and the quality of dentistry delivered in the practice.

Teach all team members the procedures that are being performed in the office. Together as a team create and practice consistent treatment verbiage. Utilize the same verbiage the doctor uses to avoid any confusion and keep everyone in the practice on the same page.

It is critical that the presenter discuss the treatment and fees with enthusiasm. Listen to the patient’s financial concerns, enthusiastically promote the payment options, and clearly communicate the financial protocol. Our patients’ perception is based on only 7% of our words, 38% our tone of voice, and 55% our body language.

Consistent fees and payment protocols are vital to build the presenters confidence and proficiency. A dental practice is not a bank or a charity and deserves to get paid for services rendered. Never be uncomfortable about charging appropriate fees or pre-judge a patient’s ability to pay.

It is a lesson I learned well over 30 years ago. I can clearly remember misjudging a patient’s ability to pay only to find out later they were extremely wealthy. The patient arrived for their appointment disheveled and dressed in a dated threadbare running suit. I later learned the patient had just come from working on a home project. The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a great metaphorical reminder that means one shouldn’t prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone.

The following approach will enable the presenter improve case acceptance.

Mindset

The goal of the practice is to make it as comfortable as possible for the patient to have the very best dentistry available. Adopt a mindset of being an advocate to help the patient get the treatment they need and desire. Present treatment with care and concern not assumptions, judgement, or criticism.

Informed Consent

A successful treatment presentation results in informed consent not just scheduling treatment. Verify the following information with every patient.

  • Sequence
  • Time
  • Compliance
  • Investment

Handling Objections

It is essential for the presenter to actively listen to the patient’s concerns and comments. Their responses focused on What’s in It for The Patient (WIIFTP). Use patient focused benefits verbiage. Speak in “layman’s” terms so the patient clearly understands what is being said.

I have found the Feel, Felt, Found Method to show empathy works extremely well.

  • I can understand why you might feel this way. It tells the patient you heard them and empathize with them.
  • Other patients had initially felt that as well. It tells the patient they are not alone, and things can change.
  • What they have found was…. It tells the patient what another person found when they followed through, they got the results they wanted.

W.O.W. Process – Work, Options, When

It is important that there is consistency in treatment presentations amongst team members as well as clear documentation of all patient conversations. Utilize the W.O.W. Process to deliver consistent and effective treatment presentations. This is a second acronym for W.O.W. which is work, options and when. The W.O.W. Process is a simple three step process.

  • Work – Review treatment and fees with patient.
  • Options – Offer options, finalize, and sign payment arrangements.
  • When – Offer two available appointments and schedule an appointment.

Getting case acceptance is a win for the patient and the practice, resulting in a healthy smile for the patient and healthy bottom line for the practice. Email judykay@practicesolutionsinc.net to receive your white page on Delivering W.O.W. Treatment Presentations.

November 1, 2022

Get Grateful…Get Happy!

Did you know that grateful people are happier?  People who are grateful feel higher levels of wellbeing.  Grateful people are less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships. Grateful people also have higher levels of control of their environments, personal growth, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and success. Grateful people also have less negative coping strategies, being less likely to try to avoid the problem, deny there is a problem, blame themselves, or cope through substance use. Grateful people sleep better, and this seems to be because they think less negative and more positive thoughts just before going to sleep.

Sometimes it can be difficult to show gratitude when we don’t feel it. I think gratitude is kind of tricky. It’s one of those things that until we start to show it, we don’t feel it. The tricky part is how do we show if we don’t feel it? Do we fake it? I believe we get so busy in our lives we no longer perceive what we have as gifts instead we take them for granted. It is not until we lose them that we remember how much they mean to us. Life becomes routine and things are just normal, and we falsely believe normal will last forever.

As hard as these economic times can be…there can also be blessings. They force us to realize there are no guarantees and things are only as they are for the moment.  When we realize things in life and life itself is temporary, we no longer take it for granted and we feel grateful. So, if you like who and what is in your life right now right this moment, take this moment to feel grateful. Gratitude starts by being present in the moment.

You can get present this moment while you are reading this.  Just look…look all around you. Take a moment longer to rest in the moment and digest it all. What do you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste?  If tomorrow, all that was no longer, who and what would you miss? How funny when we push the noise aside how easy it is to be embraced with gratitude for all our blessings. How clear it all becomes, colors are more vibrant, sounds are musical, smells are sweeter, relationships have become precious, and everything comes alive. Only, isn’t it just the same as it was before…only now we see it.

The grass is greener on the other side is a very contagious comparison syndrome. You know, someone else has something, instantly we want it and think we must have it. We believe it will make our life easier, or better, or more meaningful. Only to find out once we have it, nothing has changed. Why is it we instantly see what we are missing and miss what we already have?  It’s because the…. grass is always greener when someone else has it!!!  The simple truth is we will never be happy with what we have until we are happy with what we have. Okay, so maybe that sounds a bit redundant. It’s not! It’s so simple it’s deep. LOL! Just think about it for a moment. It is only when we are happy and are grateful for what we already have that we began to feel happy for what we have. When we give thanks and appreciate the things that already exist in our life and stop comparing ourselves to others, we find peace and happiness.

Start and end your day with words of gratitude. It might be as simple as, “I am grateful to be alive another day to celebrate what life has in store for me.” Or “Thank you for another day!”  Do you remember the old saying count your blessings? When we get in the habit of counting our blessings, we feel gratitude. Think about all the things you are grateful for such as family, friends, health, home, work, the sunshine or even the snow. Take a notebook or your computer and write down the top 10 things that make you feel grateful. Funny, how once we start, we realize how many things we must be truly grateful for…okay, maybe top 20 if you can stop there.  Funny thing, I feel a greater sense of wellbeing just writing this!   Give thanks and appreciate the things that already exist in your life!  Stop comparing yourself and your life to others and you will find peace and happiness!

September 29, 2022

5 Strategies That Cultivate Positive Change!    

I help dental teams nationwide successfully embrace change. This message is dedicated to learning how to cultivate a culture where change can be a more positive, successful, and sustainable experience!  Change requires us to have courage to face our fear of the unpredictable unknown! Regardless of how dysfunctional, unhappy, unproductive, or toxic the current culture maybe it often feels safer to keep the status quo. The known almost always feels safer than the unknown. That is why the value of the change must be clear to those expected to make the change. It is important for the value and benefits of change to rate an 8 or above on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high. Otherwise, the chance for the change to be sustained is limited.

“Change starts in our mind!”

I facilitate Culture Camps nationwide.  I have found 5 consistent strategies that cultivate positive change!

  • Trust in leadership
  • Clear and consistent message
  • Structured plan
  • Adequate training and practice time
  • Realistic workload

Number 1!  Trust in the leadership. If the team members trust their leader(s) they will be more willing to step into the unpredictable unknown. Leaders can build trust by embodying the following traits:

  • Model the waddle is the number one leadership principle – in other words lead by example
  • Aligned leadership – Have a clear and consistent direction
  • Be transparent and keep the team in the loop as much as possible
  • Be open to suggestions and feedback
  • Address any obstacles, fears, or concerns the team may have in open communication

Number 2!  Communicate a clear and consistent message. Set your team up to succeed by communicating the change clearly and concisely. I suggest the following communication process:

  • Clarify expectations
  • Ask questions to make sure everyone understands
  • Write objective down in bullet points if more than a couple of things
  • Set realistic expectations for completion time and date
  • For more involved or longer tasks schedule a check in

Number 3!  Develop a well-structured plan. If you want the team to embrace a change, ask for their suggestions and feedback on how to implement the change. If you want the team to have ownership, give them authorship as well. A well-structured plan is well thought out and clearly defined. I teach teams the R.I.S.E. Implementation Process to help them work together to create a well-structured plan. R.I.S.E. is an acronym for Review, Implement, Sustain and Evaluate.  Email me at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net and request R.I.S.E. Process White page.

Number 4!  Schedule appropriate and adequate training and practice time. I have found that the most positive and successful changes happen when the team has time to train and practice.  Team meetings are the perfect opportunity for training and practice time.

Number 5!  Be realistic with workload expectations. It will be very difficult to get the team excited about embracing something new if they already feel swamped and are consistently running behind. It is important to evaluate if there is enough time, money and people to implement the change successfully. Even the most committed employees will become resistant to change if they are consistently overwhelmed.

Implementing these 5 strategies will help you cultivate positive change!

September 1, 2022

A Code of Commitments!

Even the best of us can lose our way in all the noise and hubbub of the day-to-day stresses! Establishing a Code of Commitments for the practice will help the entire team keep on track…even in stressful situations when the wheels fall off!

A Code of Commitments is about having a preplanned game plan on how to react. Behaviorally, that means testing decisions and planned reactions for “integrity” that support the core values before implementing them.

Here are 4 questions to help you create your own code of conduct:

  • Is it legal?
  • Is it ethical?
  • Does it align with the practice core values?
  • Does it support each other and the patients?

I suggest a team meeting (4 hours minimal) to establish a Code of Commitments for the practice.  Start the meeting by reviewing the practice’s 4 core values.  Owner doctors you will need to have established 4 core values in order of priority.  All owner doctors must support the same 4 core values.  Ask the entire team to share how, when and where they feel the Core Values are not being supported.

Utilize a large easel pad and markers to write down all the concerns being shared.  Discuss the breakdowns that are happening.  What current attitudes and behaviors support the Core Values?  What current attitudes and behaviors need changing to support the Core Values?  The behaviors you list that support as well as the necessary changes become your new Code of Commitments!

It is very important for the We Team (leadership team) to lead by example on whatever is established as the Code of Commitments.

Here is an example of a Code of Commitments.

  • Model the waddle you want to see
  • Set and maintain high standards – no double standards
  • Support a no gossip culture
  • Communicate openly, honestly, and respectfully
  • Treat each other as well as you treat your patients
  • Resolve conflict by going to the source the same day if possible
  • Take ownership, follow through, and be accountable for your mistakes
  • Support each other and help each other succeed
  • Hold each other accountable to the practice’s standards for behavior, communication, attitude, and service!

Having a Code of Commitments will empower the entire team to interact with patients and each other with integrity!

August 1, 2022

Three Reasons Why Incentives Don’t Motivate or Change Behavior!

Do incentives work? This is the question that I am consistently asked. I have seen many different incentive strategies with little to no positive outcome. It is disheartening when dentists tell me they gave their team money, gifts, or trips and didn’t receive even a simple thank you. Yet when I talk to the team, they say they are very appreciative and yet confused. They are not sure if it is a reward or an incentive with expectations to change something. An open conversation will go a long way in creating clarity as well as create an opportunity to express appreciation.

There is a vast difference between an incentive and a reward. Incentives have attached expectations to motivate and improve behavior or performance. An incentive is in essence an enticement to change something. A reward is simply a thank you for past performance without any strings attached. Incentives have future expectations attached to them and rewards do not.

Dentists and managers don’t often determine if they are offering and incentive or a reward. They give to the team with little or no explanation. Therefore, the team is unsure as well. What is the motivation for giving the incentive? Knowing whether it is an incentive, or a reward will make a big difference on your expectations and how you perceive your team’s response.

I have had the privilege of working with dental teams since the early 80’s first as a manager and now as a culture coach. I have yet to see where incentives have created any long-term change. The sad truth is that incentives don’t generate sustained motivation or changes in behavior. Any expectation of an incentive increasing and sustaining motivation and performance will disappoint.

The assumption that incentives work is prevalent, but growing evidence supports the opposite. According to numerous studies in workplaces, classrooms, and other settings, rewards typically undermine the very processes they are intended to enhance.

So back to the question…do incentives work? The answer depends on what we mean by “work.” Research suggests that incentives succeed at only temporary compliance. When it comes to producing lasting change in attitudes and behavior, however, incentives, like punishment, are ineffective. “Incentives are like throwing sticky balls at a wall and hoping they will stick.”

Here are three reasons why incentives don’t work.

1 – The first time you give something it is a surprise and greatly appreciated. However, it is human nature that once we receive something we expect it again.

2 – Incentives can feel like a manipulation similar to punishment. “Do this and you get that!  or do this or this will happen!” In the case of incentives, the gift may be highly desired; but by making it conditional on certain behaviors, the team will feel manipulated. That experience of being manipulated is likely to feel very similar to punishment.

Many of us have received conditional love. Conditional meaning that another person’s love for you, is contingent on certain actions, or things. Do you remember how you felt? It can feel manipulative, controlling and at times even abusive.

3 – Incentives can cause people to focus on the numbers instead of what’s best for the patient. It could even lead to unethical behavior such as unnecessary treatment.

We will be disappointed if we expect incentives to fix problems. Money, gifts, and trips don’t fix problems. It is important to understand the underlying causes and address the specific concerns.

So, what does work? Cultivate a happy, healthy, and high performing culture. Where the number one core value is that the entire team (including doctors) treats each other as well as they treat the patients. A happy, healthy, and high performing culture empowers:

  • Clear core values and consistent leadership
  • Opportunity to grow and learn
  • Value and appreciation towards each other
  • Trust and respect with coworkers and patients
  • Open communication and feedback
  • Recognition and respect for teamwork
  • Positive attitudes
  • Ongoing team building strategies
  • A consistent structured training program
  • A competitive compensation package

It will take commitment from the leadership team to maintain the culture. They are the ones who determine who will be a part of the culture. Anyone whose attitude and behavior does not support the culture values will not be invited to continue to be a part of the culture.

Implement the standards to cultivate a happy, healthy, and high performing culture. You will nurture meaningful relationships and positive lasting change. You won’t need incentives. The money, gifts, or trips you give will truly be a thank you reward with no strings attached!

June 30, 2022

The 5 C’s to Cultivate a Happier, Healthier, & Higher Performing Culture!

I have the privilege of working with dental teams nationwide to help them cultivate a happier, healthier, and higher performing culture.  I have created my Rise & Shine Culture Camps which is a customized practice driven focused training for the entire team.  There are 5 areas that we address to get results.   I happen to like alliteration which is why they all start with the letter C!  The 5 C’s are: Clarity, Compassion, Compromise, Celebration, and Commitment.

I have been invited to present this information and more in a half day program hosted by AADOM at their annual conference. I will offer a morning course and a repeat afternoon session on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022, in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona.  Click on this link https://www.aadomconference.com/ to learn more about this amazing must not miss conference!

The first C is Clarity!  It is vital for the entire team to be aligned in achieving the goals of the practice.  Clarity starts with the owner doctors agreeing on and defining their 4 Core Value words and communicating those words consistently through their words, actions, and attitude.  This is really where it all starts.  If the leadership team is not aligned the rest of the team will not be aligned.  This is the most important C of all as it is the foundation of the practice culture.  Please email me at JudyKay@PracticeSolutionsInc.net to receive a sample Core Value Words.

The second C is Compassion!  There will be ups and downs and obstacles along the way.  It is easy to get along and play nice when everything goes our way.  It is much more difficult when things aren’t working, and expectations aren’t met.  That’s when we often fall into the judgment thinking of should or shouldn’t!  They should have done this, or they shouldn’t have done this etc.…  It is imperative that we stop judging and instead show compassion for our co-workers and patients.  “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.” -Earl Nightingale

We often judge others in the areas where we feel the weakest. Instead remain in curiosity mode and stay out of judgment mode.  Judgment shuts us down and divides us.  Most judgments about people are based on incomplete information.  Curiosity, on the other hand, keeps us open to the possibility that there is something about the situation that we don’t fully understand.  Whenever I start to judge people –I ask myself: “I wonder what the situation is with that person?”

We show compassion by trying to be understanding, supportive, and giving the benefit of the doubt.  We achieve this by trying to walk in the other persons’ shoes to understand their B.O.A.T. (beliefs, opinions, assumptions, truths)!  Their why!  The questions I often use is, “Help me understand why…!”

The third C is Compromise!  The team is like a large puzzle that all need to learn how to fit together.  There will be different B.0.A.T.’s amongst the team.  It is important to compromise to work well together.  It is not just the new team members that need to learn how to fit in.  The existing team members need to learn how to fit with the new team members.  The puzzle changes each time there is a change in team members.  There is more than one way!  We need to compromise and create our new way 😊!   Someone unwilling to compromise is in essence saying they are unwilling to be a team player.  If they are unwilling to be a team player, they can’t be a part of the team.  It is both a difficult and simple concept to act on.

The fourths C is Celebration!  Look for what is positive and celebrate it every day.  The more we focus on what is positive the more positive we will create.  Don’t get lost in the muck of the mundane tasks.  Instead, consider the bigger picture.  We are changing people’s lives with better function and aesthetics.  The smile is the number one connector.  Our focus creates our attitude.  Look for things to celebrate in each other and each situation.  Focus on the good and we will find more in each day.  What we look for we will see!

The fifth C is Commitment!  Stuff doesn’t just happen.  It takes focus and work.  Everyone on the team is accountable to support the practice standards.  There can be no individual opt outs.  The team is like a group of fire fighters holding a net that supports the practice standards.  If someone opts out, they are in essence taking their hands of the net.  There are consequences to every action or inaction.  The consequence becomes a culture by default instead of by design when we don’t address unsupportive behavior.   We need to commit as a team to support the practice standards in every word, action, and attitude.  We will then cultivate a happier, healthier, and higher performing culture!

Come join me Wednesday, September 7th, 2022, in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona at AADOM’s Annual Conference to dive deeper into the 5 C’s to Cultivate a Happier, Healthier, and Higher Performing Culture!  Click on this link https://www.aadomconference.com/  to learn more about this amazing must not miss conference!

 

March 1, 2022

TeamWORK!  Takes work! 

TeamWORK!  Takes work!

Teamwork!  A phrase so often used loosely with so many different assumptions of its meaning!

According to BusinessDictionary.com, teamwork is “The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. … Teamwork means that people will try to cooperate, using their individual skills and providing constructive feedback, despite any personal conflict between individuals.”

The team part happens pretty easy.  Once we belong to a group or organization we automatically become a part of the team.  The WORK part of team work is not so easy!  It takes work to build happy, healthy and high performing team relationships.

This article is dedicated to the WORK part of teamwork.  BTW…this message works for your personal relationships as well.

I have spent years helping teams create a happier, healthier, and higher performing relationships.  Successful team relationships don’t just happen by accident.  They take work just like every relationship.  Yet the assumption is that we should all just naturally get along.

 

 

Communication is the first core fundamental in teamwork. It would be very difficult to work together as a team for a common purpose without it! The right hand would never know what the left hand was doing nor what was needed or expected. The team’s success would be limited to only what each person could accomplish individually.

It is important for the team to create standards on how the team would like to communicate with each other and patients to build successful relationships. The work part is the ongoing focus and commitment to support the standards even when we may not feel like it.

Successful team communication includes:

  • Communicate Clearly – Clarify expectations by defining who, what, when, where, why and how.
  • Communicate Positively – Smile at each other and speak in a warm and friendly tone.
  • Avoid negative sarcasm and gossip.  Go directly to the source.
  • Communicate Respectfully – Always consider how your words may impact the other person. Ask yourself; how can I say what I need to say and be respectful of how they may feel
  • Communicate Professionally – Use words such as yes, no, please and thank you.
  • Be mindful of your energy and filter your response.
  • Communication is 7% words, 55% body language and 38% tone of voice. Never approach another team member with anger or frustration on you will shut down communication.
  • Communicate and resolve conflict within 24 hours if possible to lessen frustration and assumptions from building.

Collaboration is the second core fundamental needed to enable the team to successfully work together. It is important to remember that there is more than one way (our way) to do things.  It is our responsibility as a team member to work well with our coworkers. We can make it easy for others to work with us.  Collaboration means:

  • Sharing thoughts and ideas about what works and what does not.
  • Being open (think outside the box creativity) and willing to listen to new and different ideas from others.
  • Agreeing on a solution that serves the best interests of the patients, practice, and team instead of any individual.
  • Continue to be flexible and to adjust until you succeed
  • Don’t take things personal.
  • Support your team members. Ask and offer help.

Celebration is the third core fundamental to successful teamwork. It is important to celebrate daily. Even the little things. If our focus is always on the next patient or task we will miss the good in the present moment and eventually we will lose our joy for our work.

Celebrate by:

  • Looking for and becoming aware of what is positive in the present moment. Right here right now what is good?
  • Being grateful for what is instead of complaining about what isn’t.
  • Showing appreciation to your coworkers and your patients.
  • Celebrating in the moment with a physical gesture for example a big smile, thumbs up, high five or even a Ta-Dah!

Implementing these three core fundamentals will empower your team to WORK together to build happy, healthy and high performing team relationships.

December 30, 2021

Conversation Versus Confrontation!

CONVERSATION VERSUS CONFRONTATION!

I have the privilege of facilitating R.I.S.E. & Shine Culture Camps for dental teams nationwide!  Click this link https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/culture-camp.html to learn more about R.I.S.E. & Shine Culture Camps!

The first day of Culture Camp is spent speaking to each team member as well as observing the practice flow.  I ask the same question to everyone.  The question I ask is, “If I could wave a magic wand and make things easier or better what would I change?”  The question opens the dialogue.  Most responses include concerns with doctor or team relationship(s).  I ask if they have tried to discuss it with the person whom they have the concerns.  The response is almost universal.  “No, I don’t like confrontation!”

 

 

There is a big difference between a conversation and a confrontation.  We can ask anyone anything if we are coming from a place of curiosity, care, and concern instead of judgment, criticism, or blame.  It is a confrontation when you are approaching someone with the intent to judge, compare, criticize, or blame.  The difference between a conversation versus a confrontation is based on your approach and your intent.  Be mindful of your energy and intent.  What are the results you are desiring?

The purpose of a conversation is to have a fact finding or fact sharing discussion.  The Approacher (the person initiating the conversation) must be mindful of energy, words, tone, and body language.  Never approach someone to address a concern when you are angry or unable to control your emotions or it will end up being a confrontation.  Approach with a question(s) to simply understand the “why” and not necessarily to resolve.  You may or may not be able to come to a resolution during the conversation.  It may take time for one or both parties to process through reflection and consideration of the other person.  Allowing time to process will remove the stress of having to immediately come to an agreement.  We also don’t want to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist while we silently stew over the situation.  The goal is to resolve within 24 to 48 hours if possible.  If you feel the need to complain to someone else (venting – which is a nice word for gossip) than it is important to approach the source and have a conversation.

The conversation is always in private and starts with positive clear communication.

Be specific instead of generalizing. Focus more on objective points than subjective opinions.  Just saying “I don’t like it or you’re doing this wrong” is not helpful. On the other hand, stating the specific strengths or skills you would like to see developed is helpful.

Don’t make it personal. Talk about issue not the person. Avoid saying, “you need to”.   Start the conversation with the word I instead of saying you. For example, “I noticed,” “I have seen,” “I observed,” “I am not quite sure what happened,” “Help me understand,” or when sharing feedback from others, “I have had reported to me.” “I” conversations are issue-focused instead of person-focused. Always consider how your words may impact the other person. Ask yourself; how can I say what I need to say and be respectful of how they may feel.

Break your feedback down into key points. Don’t give your feedback as one big lump. Break it down into various key points, then give your feedback point by point.  Give examples of each point. What are the exact issues, situations, or examples where the person exhibits the behaviors you highlighted? There is no need to highlight every single one.  Just disclosing a couple of examples per point will be sufficient. The purpose is to bring the person’s awareness to things which he/she may not be aware of and clearly illustrate what you mean.

Ask the other person what they need from you (communication, support, training, practice) to be able to achieve the desired results. Together discuss and agree on a resolution.

Life will be filled with concerns of situations and other people.  The confidence and skill to have timely conversations will help resolve whatever arises.

August 2, 2021

Delivering W.O.W. Treatment Presentations!

The ability to proficiently present treatment and fees is critical to the success of your practice.  The more your patients understand their dental needs and the fees associated with treatment, the more likely they are to accept your recommendations. You want the patient to understand exactly what they need, why they need it, and the importance of getting it done now.

Most people dislike surprises when it comes to dental care and costs.  Real understanding on the part of the patient leads to case acceptance. Use stories and analogies focused on real life benefits for the patient.  For example, eating corn on the cob or steak or even just being able to smile.

It is vital that the team member (presenter) presenting treatment and fees is confident and comfortable with this role. Seventy percent of case acceptance breaks down because of the way the fees were handled.  The presenter must understand dentistry and absolutely believe in the value and the quality of dentistry delivered in the practice.

Teach all team members the procedures that are being performed in the office.  Together as a team create and practice consistent treatment verbiage.  Utilize the same verbiage the doctor uses to avoid any confusion and keep everyone in the practice on the same page.

It is critical that the presenter discuss the treatment and fees with enthusiasm.  Listen to the patient’s financial concerns, enthusiastically promote the payment options, and clearly communicate the financial protocol.  Our patients’ perception is based on only 7% of our words, 38% our tone of voice, and 55% our body language.

Consistent fees and payment protocols are vital to build the presenters confidence and proficiency. A dental practice is not a bank or a charity and deserves to get paid for services rendered. Never be uncomfortable about charging appropriate fees or pre-judge a patient’s ability to pay.

It is a lesson I learned well over 30 years ago.  I can clearly remember misjudging a patient’s ability to pay only to find out later they were extremely wealthy.  The patient arrived for their appointment disheveled and dressed in a dated threadbare running suit.  I later learned the patient had just come from working on a home project.  The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is a great metaphorical reminder that means one shouldn’t prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone.

The following approach will enable the presenter to deliver W.O.W. Presentations.

Mindset

The goal of the practice is to make it as comfortable as possible for the patient to have the very best dentistry available.  Adopt a mindset of being an advocate to help the patient get the treatment they need and desire.  Present treatment with care and concern not assumptions, judgement or criticism.

Informed Consent

A successful treatment presentation results in informed consent not just scheduling treatment.  Verify the following information with every patient.

  • Sequence
  • Time
  • Compliance
  • Investment

Handling Objections

It is essential for the presenter to actively listen to the patient’s concerns and comments. Their responses focused on What’s In It For The Patient (WIIFTP).  Use patient focused benefits verbiage.  Speak in “layman’s” terms so the patient clearly understands what is being said.

I teach W.O.W. Presentations.  W.O.W. is an acronym for weed out the weeds.  A weed is anything that might make your patient feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe and possibly destroy the relationship.

I have found the Feel, Felt, Found Method to show empathy works extremely well.

  • I can understand why you might feel this way.
    • It tells the patient you heard them and empathize with them.
  • Other patients had initially felt that as well.
    • It tells the patient they are not alone and things can change.
  • What they have found was….
    • It tells the patient what another person found when they followed through, they got the results they wanted.

 

W.O.W. Process – Work, Options, When

It is important that there is consistency of treatment presentations amongst team members as well as clear documentation of all patient conversations.  Utilize the W.O.W. Process to deliver consistent and effective treatment presentations. This is a second acronym for W.O.W. which is work, options and when.  The W.O.W. Process is a simple three step process.

  • Work
    • Review treatment and fees with patient.
  • Options
    • Offer options, finalize, and sign payment arrangements.
  • When
    • Offer two available appointments and schedule an appointment.

Delivering a W.O.W. presentation is a win for the patient and the practice, resulting in a healthy smile for the patient and healthy bottom line for the practice.

Email judykay@practicesolutionsinc.net to receive your white page on Delivering W.O.W. Treatment Presentations.

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