Is Your Best Actually Your Worst?

From The Dr. John Meis Show

Is your best actually your worst? Here is something you may not want to hear, your very best employee may be what's holding your dental practice back. Listen in to Dr. John Meis in episode 14 to hear what he has to say about this.


(For those who prefer reading over watching the video)

Dr. John Meis: So here's the thing you don't want to hear. Your very best employee may be what's holding the practice back. Okay, so here's the concept. We see it all the time in coaching, and we call it your best is your worst. Sometimes that very best employee is the thing that's holding the practice back. I have four examples, two very common, two very uncommon, but still, you need to learn about them.

Dr. John Meis: The first one, we'll call our Mary, and this is a small practice, and Mary is the doctor's right-hand man. She takes care of all the insurance, all the business things, does all the scheduling, does a really, really great job, but she doesn't let anybody else touch kind of her area. She's got her things, and they're her things. Here's the problem. When Mary gets full, the practice stalls.

Dr. John Meis: The perfect example of this, a practice I know in the Midwest. Doctor's been stagnated for years, for years, more than a decade, and the reason is that his Mary just will not train other people on the front desk to do the duties, so as such, the phone doesn't get answered, the new patients never grow, and they just can't move beyond where they are. They're completely stuck because Mary is full.

Dr. John Meis: Mary is unaware of this, and the doctor's very proud of Mary, because Mary takes care of everything, right? But the doctor doesn't see what's happening is that Mary has stopped the progress of his practice, by not training other people how to do their job. Everybody in the office should be increasing their skills and delegating things to other people, bringing other people along so the practice is no longer dependent upon one person for any particular item in the office. If there's one person who knows how to do insurance, if there's one person who knows how to do anything, if that person leaves, the practice really suffers.

Dr. John Meis: The second example that I have is an employee. Her name was Christy, and Christy was a very, very good clinical assistant. She was the best the doctor had. She was the doctor's clinical right-hand man, and she would do all of the complex procedures. So she did the implants. Nobody else got to get near the implants. She was the only assistant that was able to do that, and as Christy did that farther and farther and farther, pretty soon, no one else even tried. Nobody knew anything about implants. They didn't know anything about the ordering. They didn't know anything about the supplies. And then guess what. Christy gets pregnant and goes on maternity leave.

Dr. John Meis: So for three months, the practice is stalled out on implants, because none of the team knows how to do anything, including the doctor didn't know the things that Christy knew, right? So Christy's unwillingness or inability to train other people was holding the practice back, and their entire implant program went on full pause until she came back from her maternity leave. Of course, it wasn't a simple maternity leave. She had bedrest, and then she had a baby, and then she had the time after, so it was months that the practice was stalled out on implants.

Dr. John Meis: Your best sometimes can be your worst, and sometimes, your best can turn very dark. Two examples of that. There was a treatment coordinator named Becky. She was very talented at what she did. She was able to get patients to agree to treatment, and she was able to find the money for those patients to get the treatment they needed. She was fantastic, but she wasn't able to teach anybody, or wasn't willing to teach anybody else how to do what she did. She definitely had a knack to it. She definitely had talent, but she didn't teach anybody else how to do it.

Dr. John Meis: Now, over time, she knew that she was unique, she knew that she was special, and her salary demands kept creeping up, and creeping up, and creeping up. The doctor moved to a new office, a lot of extra expense. The doctor's income went down temporarily, and she kept asking for more, and he finally knew he had a problem when she was making more than he was. Yep, he should have known there was a problem there, and she held him hostage. He said, "I need to make a salary adjustment, and it's going to be down for you and up for me," and she wouldn't go for it, and she quit. So, what happened was the practice went backwards. She went backward. It was a tragedy for both of them, so you don't want any Beckys. No one person should be the only person that does anything, because your best could be your worst, and it could get even worse than that.

Dr. John Meis: Let me tell you about Irma. Irma was the doctor's right-hand businessperson. She took care of everything. She took care of the bookkeeping. She took care of the accounting. She took care of the insurance. She took care of accounts. She did all the credit adjustments, and debit adjustments, and she did everything. She did everything, and the doctor noticed that the practice was growing and his income wasn't growing, and he began to get curious. He hired someone to look through the books, and guess what. Irma, over the previous few years, had embezzled more than $2 million from that practice. So, when that best is your worst turns dark, it can be very, very dark.

Dr. John Meis: So here's how it affects culture. Those employees that are unwilling or unable to delegate and to train don't have a place in your office. They can't do that. The culture goes bad. It becomes destructive to the practice. If you've had an experience with your best is your worst, or you know someone that has, go ahead and write the story in the comment section of this video. Be sure and share it with people so that anybody else who could learn from this concept has the opportunity to hear from your experience as well.

Dr. John Meis: I want to mention a couple of other things. This concept is mentioned in our book, and you can get our book for free. All you have to do is pay the postage. You can do that by going to, the And I always like to leave everybody with an inspirational quote, and here's mine for today. "A successful person never loses. They either win, or they learn, or both." I got that from John Calipari, so I want to see you be winners, learners, or both. That's for sure. So one final thought. Most of the dentists I know that are super successful figured out at some point in their career that they don't have to figure it all out, right? All they have to do is find someone who already has, figure out what they're doing, and model that. The best way to see the tips, tools, and strategies of the most successful dentists is at our Champions of Dentistry summit. You can learn more about that at, and with that, that's it for this episode of The Dr. John Meis Show.