Dr . Meis’s 10 Steps to Success (Part 3)

On today’s episode of the Dr. John Meis Show, Dr. Meis is sharing the last of his 10 steps to practice success.

Remember, this series is about simple steps that have a dramatic impact on the success of your practice (all without the investment of dollars, without learning new technology, and without any new techniques). These are strategies Dr. Meis uses in his own practices and in the hundreds of practices he consults with to help them reach their goals quickly.

Tune in now:

Dr. John Meis: The last of my first 10 steps to practice success on today's Dr. John Meis Show.

Remember that this whole series on the first 10 steps is talking about how returning to fundamentals can have a dramatic impact on the success of your practice without investment of dollars, without learning new technologies and new techniques. It's simple. Just return to some fundamentals and improve them incrementally.

Step number seven, assume positive intent, and I'm going to add assume positive outcomes. This is not what we naturally do usually. So here's an example of this. Office manager comes in and tells you, "Oh, Mrs. Jones wants to talk to you, doctor, and she only wants to talk to you. She wouldn't talk to me about anything." So naturally, in our minds, we're wondering why. We've created a blank, right? We don't know what it is.

Now, here's my question for you. We know that our minds will automatically and usually subconsciously fill in blanks. It just kind of seeps into the blanks, right? My question for you is, does your mind fill in blanks with what you hope for or what you fear? And for most of us, our minds fill in blanks with what we fear. Yes, scary little girl doll creature thing there. But here's how it goes. So, when you're filling in these blanks, you're probably thinking, "Oh man, she's calling to complain about something." Or "she's calling to ask for a refund." Or "she's calling me to let me know she's leaving the practice." Or some such thing, calling to talk about the team, whatever. Something negative.

Whereas, we could have filled the blanks with something positive, right? We could have filled the blanks with, "She's calling me to tell me about the three families she just referred or she's calling to tell me I'm the greatest dentist ever. She's calling to tell me that the cookies that she dropped by in the lounge were from her." Right?

We could have filled in the blanks with those things. So the lesson here is assume positive intent and positive outcome. If you assume the negative intent and you call Mrs. Jones, you're already starting from a defensive posture, from maybe an angry posture. And so you're starting to create really your own reality. So if you just assume positive outcome and positive intent, you'll be better off.

Step number eight, speak with kind candor. I so often under... When we survey offices on what's one thing that they want to improve, when we survey the entire team, one thing they want to improve almost always on the list is communication. And good communication is hard. Here's a funny little video that talks about how difficult good communication can be.

Speaker 2: Oh, no. Jesus.

Helen Marsh: Are you all right?

Speaker 2: No, I'm having a bit of a nightmare actually.

Helen Marsh: What's the matter?

Speaker 2: Well, I have all the international CEOs around the world this room. In 10 minutes, the annual summit is supposed to take place. They've flown thousands of miles to get here and my translator hasn't turned up.

I need to find someone who can translate into seven different languages.

Helen Marsh: Well, I can do that.

Speaker 2: Really?

Helen Marsh:Yeah. I did a TOEFL in my gap year.

Speaker 2: Welcome back to London. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Helen Marsh, who will be our interpreter today. So, without further ado, let's address section 1.1, multinational profiteering for the financial year 2005, 2006. Helen.

Helen Marsh: [foreign language 00:03:44].

[foreign language 00:03:56].

Hurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy. Hurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy gurdy. Gurdy.

Dr. John Meis: It's a silly little video but sometimes it seems like we aren't speaking the same language. And what I've found is that when we feel like we're not connecting with communication, is it because of how we're talking or how we're listening? And you got it. Most often it's because of how we're listening.

There's five stages of listening. The first is completely ignoring it. I see this so commonly today with all of our devices and social media. And people will be in their own little world while there's a conversation going on around them, which they're just ignoring.

The second is pretend-listening. And pretend-listening is when our mind is somewhere else. We're kind of halfway going through the motions and making it appear like we're listening but we're not really listening. We're certainly not paying attention.

Selective listening. My wife accuses me of this often where I can hear just fine "it's time for dinner" but I can't hear just fine "would you please take out the trash?" We hear the things that we want to hear.

Attentive listening is, okay, we're listening, we're hearing what people have to say.

And the highest form is when we have empathic listening. That is, we are listening to understand. So often when we're in attentive listening, we're listening but we're listening to figure out what we're going to say in response. We're not really in that spot where we're listening at that high level where we can understand where the other person is coming from on a logical level and a feeling level.

So, that's not to say that listening is the only problem. We often have a problem with talking too. People that are drawn to dentistry generally are very kind, caring people. And so, when it comes to having tough conversations, we tend to kind of pull back a little bit and not say what we really mean, not say it with the intensity that we're feeling.

There's a great resource on this, a book called Radical Candor that talks about how we can have conversations that might be considered difficult but do it in a way that is kind, is caring but gets the message across completely. It's a great read, highly recommend it.

Step number nine is manage your energy. I first learned about this years ago when I read this book, The Power Of Full Engagement. And it was talking about all the things that we do that keep us from being perfectly and powerfully engaged day to day. Some of the things that I've seen people waste energy on is not being cautious about what they eat, not being cautious about the amount of exercise and the timing of the exercise they get, and also not having good sleep habits. These are three things that if they are not in line, you are not going to have maximum engagement. And if you don't have maximum engagement, you're not going to get maximum results. It's that simple.

And the last of the steps is to practice active gratitude. This picture of the Four Peaks in Arizona and they're beautiful mountains, don't have snow on them very often. They are absolutely gorgeous. I get to look at them every single day. And every single day when I look at them, it reminds me to think of something that I am grateful for. So, every day I'm able to come up with something that I am grateful for. Today, it's that I'm in this beautiful studio and I'm here with my assistant Krista, and we're having a fantastically productive day. So, when you think of gratitude, just when it comes to you, it's not nearly as powerful as if you have a ritual to actively think about the things that you're grateful for. You can't be grateful and angry at the same time. So, those are the first 10 steps to practice success.

I hope you enjoyed them. Remember that the book that Wendy Briggs and I wrote together reached number one bestseller status on Amazon. The book is called The Ultimate Guide To Doubling And Tripling Your Practice Production. Remember, it's available to you. And I've got a deal for you. Here's the deal. If you pay the postage, I'll buy the book. That simple. You get a free book. All you have to do is pay the postage. You can get that deal by going to YourUltimateGuideBook.com. That's it for today. Hope to see you on the next dr. John Meis show.