EP57: High level Implementation Drives Results with Dr J Michael Williams

Dr. J Michael Williams has a 1 million dollar dental practice and earned our Team Training institute Implementer of the year award for 2018.

In this episode of the Double Your Production Podcast, Dr. Williams is sharing how to implement important changes in your practice to quickly create this level of success.

He’s sharing his process for giving his patients in Dunn, North Carolina world-class service (and the production follows).

Listen now:

Welcome to the Double Your Production podcast with The Team Training Institute. The one place designed for dentists and their staff who want to grow their practices by following in the footsteps of those that have done it or in the trenches. We know exactly what you're going through. And now, your leaders, the stars of the podcast, Dr. John Meis and Wendy Briggs.

Welcome everybody to this episode of the Double Your Production podcast. I'm Dr. John Meis. And with me on the podcast is Wendy Briggs. Hey, Wendy.

Good afternoon. It's always great chatting with you.

And we are so excited to have Dr. J Michael Williams with us and he is an amazing guy. He won the special award from The Team Training Institute last year. He was our Implementer of the Year so that's a huge deal. So Dr. Williams, do you want to tell everybody a little bit about yourself and your practice?

Absolutely. First of all, thanks for having me. I graduated dental school in 1996 from UNC Chapel Hill. As soon as I left, I went immediately into an associateship private practice here in my small town of Dunn, North Carolina. And after a few months, I realized that that was really not the direction that I wanted to go. So in August of '97, I opened my own practice from scratch. I had one assistant, one hygienist, and one front desk in about 900 square feet with three chairs. It was extremely scary but we started from scratch. And actually, I still have the very first patient that left me a voicemail about making an appointment. He still comes to see us.

Is that right? Oh, that's cool. That's great.

So we were able to stay in that small office for five years before we grew out of it. I expanded into a larger office. We now have-- I work out of three chairs. I have two hygienists and nine total staff.

Well, it's terrific. Yeah. So yeah. Implementer of the Year, why we gave you that award was that our coaches who follow your progress on at least a monthly basis, sometimes more frequently than that, just were singing your praises about how you go back and how you take the things that you've learned from our Blue Diamond Retreats.

And you've taken the things that you've learned from the website and you go back and you get them done and to a very high level. So I'm curious if you'd share with us some of the secrets about how do you do that? How do you take those ideas? It's such a common frustration among dentists that they learn something. They go back to their team and they just really struggle to get things implemented. So you've cracked that code and I'd love to hear your thoughts about how you do that.

Well, first of all, I would say, for many years, I would go to different courses by myself and I would fall into that trap. You hear so much and you learn so much and you come back and you're excited about it. Well, not any of your staff has really seen it or heard it. And they're like, "Oh, four, five days, this will be over with and we're back to normal."

So several years ago, I started taking my office manager, Janna, is with me on almost every trip we go. And then we would take one or two more in different departments. And after each day of meetings, we would sit down at the end of the day and go over it and really look at what we thought was most important and what priorities were first, second, or third. We would work on it on the plane on the way back, or I would. And then as soon as we got back in the office, it really turned into Janna's job to get it implemented. She and Caitlyn, our treatment coordinator. That took me out of the loop. It took, basically, the responsibility off of me.

So really, my secret is finding very good people to implement things that we've talked about as soon as we learned not wait a week when you get back. But I think our secret was to really sit down as soon as the day's over and create an outline and then put it in place.

I think that's a super good point. And for years now, Wendy and I have always noticed that the ones who captured the information to create a plan quickly are the ones that really do a better job of excelling.

I think that's such a good point, Dr. John. And what I think our listers might want to know is implement of the year, that's great, but where is he now, right? Here's where he started. What's the impact that you've had with implementing some of these changes? I think that's important for us to talk about too.

Yes. I think, Wendy, before you came online, Dr. John and I were talking about a quick little story, if you don't mind, back-- Wendy, I think I saw your first meeting. I attended one of your first meetings in June or July of 2017 and we found out about you through our Henry Schein representative and my office manager came to me and said, "We need to go to this seminar."

And I really looked at it and I think the price of it was about $1,200 or so. I said, "I'm not going to that. I'm not in the mood for it." She said, "Oh yes, you are." So she made the reservations, she got everybody hotel rooms. You were only about 45 minutes from us. So we went up and you started. And right off the bat, just some of the ideas that you were talking about, I thought, was brilliant yet common sense. Most of us probably don't do it: fluoride, sensitivity issues, that kind of thing.

So at the first break, I asked my rep how much does one application of fluoride cost me. And I think he said a $1.32 or so. And I said, "Well, have a dump truck load of it sitting at my office." And on Monday, we started that and I think we've had almost 90 to 100 percent acceptance since July of '17. We signed on with the Blue Diamond Group that day, I think, or a week later and got started. And our numbers from '17, we finished about 1.6 million total production and/or collection. And with one month left to go in 2019, we're sitting at 2.5 million.


Same office configuration really, no additional providers. Just getting more effective.

Correct. No additional providers. We have hired one additional assistant that floats from front to back and mainly works as a hygiene assistant. So that has been tremendous. And I will also point out that through the coaching in the hygiene, each hygienist has doubled their production per month.

That's awesome.

That is fantastic. Another thing that you said here that I think is important to point out is you went to the course and Monday, right, the next Monday, which is day one back in the office, day one, you made the change.

We did.

Really, the people that execute, execute really well on day one. And we know from watching people get training-- I learned this from watching people get training in Invisalign. If they didn't do an Invisalign case in the first week, the chances of them doing one goes down dramatically. And so getting right on it with the day one is fantastic. Another the thing I want to point out is that once it was decided what was going to be done, it was off your plate, wasn't it?

That's correct. And that goes back to having really good people around you from top to bottom. And once we made a decision then I was able to just go back and practice dentistry not have to worry about it.

So it wasn't even after he went, Dr. John, really? Remember he said he wasn't even all on board about going in the first place [laughter]. But his team said, "We're going." Sometimes, being able to have relationships with your team members where they care just as much about the success of the practice as the owner doctor does, is so critical. And then also to your credit, Dr. Williams, you listened and you went, right?

Yeah. I mean, that's exactly right. When I just first looked at the advertisement for the class, I thought, "I just don't know what we would get out of it." And she had spoken to the rep and gotten all the details and just told me when we were going to go. And I respect her enough and we went, and here we are.

Yeah. Awesome.

And so you talk about about, "I just went and did dentistry," but that's really not very common. Most people want to check in, they want to be looking over somebody's shoulder, they want to be telling them how to do it. And so you didn't micromanage it all. It sounds like you really did give people the responsibility and the authority to get it done.

Well, we did. But they would be really quick to tell you that I am a terrible micromanager. That I want to do that all the time [laughter]. But I've been working really hard for the last two years to let that not be the issue. Goals, if I start they start calling me Micro Michael, so they just get out the word.

Oh, yeah. Good. Good. And your taking that feedback from your team is so important. And giving them the chance to succeed. Maybe they won't get it 100% right, but that's still better than you having to do 100% of it.

Oh. Absolutely.

So yeah. Well, good for you. I'm glad to hear that you've made a lot of progress on that and that your team really appreciates that.

Our team has really excelled in this. Everybody has taken it really from the start and ran with it because, at the end of the day, it helps their bottom line as well. So each of them are making more, they've got more bonuses. And it has been a team effort. And it's been really nice to watch.

Yeah. It always is. If it's going to work, it's going to be because it's a team effort. That is super fantastic. So, really, you have a million dollars. How did that come about? When people haven't had a jump like this, they think the jump, when it's over, it looks like chaos. They think everybody is running around with their hair on fire, that there's a lot of stress. Some people think, "Oh, yeah. You just go down faster. Your quality is going down." It's all these, kind of, myths or mindsets that hold people back. So tell about what it feels like in your office now.

Okay. Well, really, if you think about it, some of that is where hygiene is doubled.

Oh, yeah.

So if both hygienists were making, say produce, 20,000 a month, each of that 40. So if they double, that's 80,000 a month. So there's a big jump right there.


The other thing that we did is I sat down and really wrote out the things that I really preferred to do the most, and then we started concentrating on those. I do a lot of removable and extractions. We do a lot of implants. We do a lot of invisalign, crown and bridge, and all of the other stuff, we would kind of fit in where we need it to, or fill in holes or gaps.

I hate doing those. If it's a fairly simple endo, anterior, back to molar, I've got a friend of mine that loves doing those. So he comes in once or twice a month and does them. Patients don't have to leave the office. So I really don't think-- honestly, we worked a lot smarter and not harder, and the bottom line has increased exponentially by being able to do that.

Yeah. So you created real clarity on what you want your practice to be and what you didn't want your practice to be. And you did that for the whole team.

We did.

So that kind of clarity is so helpful for teams.

One of the things, two, I would say, Dr. John, is a lot of the fears that we hear from practices, as you mentioned, they can register a million dollars jump, all of these things might be happening or must be happening. Sometimes, I hear things like, "Well, they must not be doing high quality dentistry, or they've shifted, and now it's all about the money."

And I'm hoping that our listeners who're just listening to your talk can understand that that's not the case with you and those who know us really well know that that's not what our program's about anyway. But there's always these assumptions, right, that, "gosh, if you're focusing on fluoride and sealants and desensitizing agents," and like Dr. John said, a lot of this is same day dentistry and next-dollar phenomenon that your vision and core values have changed.

But I know you, and I know your team, and I know you're not all about the money. So could you kind of clarify that a little bit-- maybe speak to that misunderstanding or maybe that false judgment that we tend to have.

Right, well first of all, I think if you do the right things for the patient, the money and the production will fall in line. We don't ever make treatment plans based on how much money we're going to make-- I mean, I don't. So doing the right thing-- all patients really need fluoride. Why do we just offer fluoride to kids? Adults probably drink more sugary drinks than anybody. We have a aging population, so why shouldn't we offer desensitizing agents?

All of that-- it doesn't mean they're going to do it, but if we offer it to them, then most likely they are. Because it makes a lot of sense. And then on my side of it, certainly the quality does not fall down. As a matter of fact, what we found is we were doing more extensive treatment plans, so I was working probably not as hard and doing longer appointments.

And the production was much better than me running around three or four different rooms trying to do one or two fillings in each room. Doing six or eight implants on a lower arch in an hour is much more profitable than trying to do 10 fillings in four different rooms. So I know the quality is better in my one hour doing implants than trying to do 10 fillings in five different rooms.

Yep. That is why it's such a myth that there is a correlation between productivity and quality. If anything, the higher the productivity, the higher the quality.

Right, because I think you're focused more on larger treatment plans and doing things exactly as they should. And we schedule for that. Sometimes if you see our schedule you think that's impossible, but a lot of our schedule is we overschedule a little bit of time for each procedure in case something's going on that we're not backed up through lunch or after 5 o'clock. There is rarely a day that we work through lunch or we're not done at 5:01.


See, a lot of people would be thinking, "Well they must be working 12-hour days." There's all that.

"He's dragging his exhausted butt home. He's got ice bags on his neck, and-- [laughter]."

We have our morning huddle at 8:30. We start seeing patients at 9:00 AM. We take lunch from 1:00 to 2:00, and we leave at 5:00. And that's four days a week.

That is fantastic. That is fantastic. So, Dr. Williams, you and your team came out and did a vision day and I wonder if you would talk a little bit about that. In your own words, describe what a vision day is and what it meant for you and your team.

Okay, great, yeah. We went out this past October. My office manager Janna went with me and our treatment coordinator then went with us. I also took my wife because she's just not working out practice. And I wanted somebody with a view of what we were going or what we did sit down and discuss to say, "Okay, this makes a lot of sense." Or , "This doesn't make a lot of sense."

And she stayed in the meetings with us the entire time and actually told us that she enjoyed it. But we spent two days with you, and you had sent us some questions to go over and some things that we wanted to discuss. And I really didn't know what to expect. But I will say that having to sit down and really the way you walk class through from a start to finish to create a vision, I thought was extremely helpful. Then you start digging into numbers and it gives you some idea of how to start looking at things. All that was extremely important to us and helpful.

Since we have gotten back, we are on the cusp of trying to determine, and this was part of our vision day, if we're going to kind of stay status quo where we are - we have no debt in our office right now - or to either try to expand in our current situation. The only issue with that is parking is a major concern. But we went ahead as soon as we got back and we had an architect come in. And we've had an area in the back of our office where we could expand six more chairs.

We've also looked at another space which is only about an half a mile of where we are now. It's a much larger building. And we're currently waiting on the plans to be returned for that space. We also went ahead and started interviewing dentists for possible associateships. And we've had our first sit down with that which went very very well. Right now, we're just on hold waiting for the plans on the second building. And we're just going to kind of sit down and financially see which one makes the most sense to us.

Oh, that's so exciting. That really is. It's so exciting.

Now, the vision day, what I see often happening with a lot of our members that do this is they come in with a vision or an idea of a vision, and they leave with such an expanded vision, right? You're thinking differently, and you're looking at things that you probably two years ago didn't even think would be possible and things that weren't on your radar.

And that's the power of vision day, is all of a sudden now, here you've got, you've had such a tremendous growth because of the hard work that you've put in. But look at where you're going. That's what I think is so exciting and so rewarding about vision days is we see from the outside looking in. We see tremendous growth and it's super exciting like Dr. john said, we love to see good people like you create a bigger future. Not just for yourself and your family, but for your teams and your patients, your community. It's really exciting for us.

Yeah. Wendy, I think you're exactly right. You do create that vision day. And Dr. John helps you realize what is actually possible. I mean, we talked about maybe going into 2, 3, 4 different locations as a possibility. But our main concern at this point is getting the home office expanded and going from there. So you're absolutely right. It's quite amazing what can be laid out to [view?]-- some people may have not even ever thought about.

Yeah. And that's what makes Vision Day so much fun for me-- is that just because of the wonderful experiences and mentors and people that I have been so fortunate to meet and learn from over the years. Now, I really understand what's possible, and I've seen it done repeatedly over and over, and predictable-- and everything's predictable. The results are predictable. The challenges are predictable, but you put in place the things that you're putting in place that you're already got in place at your main office.

And as you expand that to a size that allows you to continue to grow-- and now, you've got a second doctor in, and now the practice is less dependent upon you. Hygiene continued to perform whether you're there or not. You have a little more freedom of your time. Now somebody else is doing some of the procedures you don't like to do. You're keeping it in the office.

You're able to focus on the ones that you do. So not only will the associates' productivity grow, but yours will grow as well because you're able to focus on those key things that, number one, you're so good at, and number two, that you enjoy so much.

Right. That's exactly right. In our interview with our associate, that's-- we sat down, and I said, "Look. Let's not waste each other's time." I said, "This is exactly what I'm looking for. I just spelled out exactly what you said." And she was very open to that idea. So it sounded like it was going to be a good start to the interview, and it went well.

But that's exactly what I'm looking for-- somebody to allow me to do the things exactly what I want to. That doesn't mean they've got to sit in here and do fillings for the rest of their life, but it gives them some time to get some experience and then start moving into implants and endo and ortho or whatever they want to do.

Yeah. Right. And they have--

And all of that erodes your price.

Exactly right.

And I think that's really fascinating about this, Dr. John, is-- we talk about the growth he's had thus far, right-- of almost a million dollars. And that doesn't even include the plans that he put into place from the Vision Day. Right?


I mean, in reality, that's future growth that we know will happen. So I propose that one year from now we meet again on this podcast.

There you go [laughter].

I mean, look at the impact. Right? Because it's continued growth. That's what so exciting-- is that once you-- now that you know what you know, Dr. Williams, you're probably never going to go back to practicing the way you did.

Probably not. I want to try to keep going forward.

Yeah. Well, that's fantastic. Well, I so appreciate you being on our podcast today, Dr. Williams. You are an absolute hero to me. I'm so proud of you and your team and all of the things that you have accomplished and so excited for the bigger future that you're building for your patients, for your team, and for your family. So good for you.

Well, thank you for having us, and we look forward to talking to you again and seeing you at next meeting.

Okay. Sounds good. So if you want to learn more about the principles that Dr. Williams has put in place in his practice, you can go ahead, and if you pay the postage, we'll send you the book for free. And you can get that at UltimateGuidebook.com. That's the ultimate guide to doubling and tripling your dental practice production, and if you have interest in a Vision Day, you can call our office. And that's at 877-732-2124. Wendy, any last words of wisdom?

No. I think it was a great conversation. Obviously, Dr. Williams, hopefully, we try to celebrate your providers. We love to hear hygienists doubling their production. So I'm sure they've earned their diamond pins and are happy as can be, but we're super proud of them, too. So pass along our regard. Give them a high five from us, and we'll look forward to seeing them at the next retreat as well.

Okay. Thank you so much. We will.

Sounds good. Thank you.

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