I've been a success coach for dentists all across North America, I often get this question, "I want to be more successful. What should I do? Should I do more marketing? Should I buy this technology? Should I take this course or that course?" Well, I tell everyone the same thing. There are 10 steps to do before you do any of those things, and the first part of the 10 steps, we'll be talking on today's Dr. John Meis show.
When I tell people about Meis's first 10 steps, I like to remind them of the story of John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach who won more national championships than any other coach. I've heard the story that at the first practice of every year, he would show players how to tie their shoes correctly. You can imagine how these players would grumble about doing something so simple as the first thing that they were going to do in practice. But Wooden would talk about the small things or the big things, and getting these core fundamental things down right is what wins basketball games. An untied shoelace at a bad time in a close game could turn a win into a loss very, very easily.
So these first 10 steps, the first one is show up, and show up a little bit early. I know Woody Allen has the joke, "Being there is 80% of success." I believe that. Being there on time is even better. Being there early is a little bit better. That may get you to 90%, and being there with the right mindset is what gets you to the top. So how do you show up? Are you a little bit early to the morning huddle in your office? Are you prepared? Do you have your notes? Do you know what's coming in the day? Do you have something that you're going to teach the team during the morning huddle?
Do you show up to work every single day, physically and mentally prepared to perform, or do you show up sometimes energized, sometimes fatigued, sometimes happy, sometimes moody? Do you stay in the office all the hours that the office is open, or are you one of those that are looking to sneak out a little bit early every day, a little bit early for lunch, coming back from lunch a little bit late? Those aren't being on time, right. So are you there whether you have patients scheduled or not? Whether you have a full schedule or an empty schedule, are you there?
I learned about this from many of my previous mentors, and I had an example of where a doctor had really not understood this principle, and it led to the failure of his practice. This young man, who was a nice guy and a good dentist, graduated from school, started a scratch practice right out of school. Really though thing to do, right? Big challenge. He started out, and he wasn't as busy as he wanted to be. His new patients were improving, and his patient flow was improving, but it wasn't going as fast as he thought it should or wanted it to. So he figured out that if he was... that he could do in three days the same productivity that he was doing in four, so what did he do? He closed the fourth day. That's right, so the practice was only open three days. Given a little more time, he realized he could do in two what he was doing in three, so he took another day off every week, and the practice was only open two days a week.
I got involved in this practice because we were acquiring it, and we were acquiring it from the bank, because the bank had foreclosed on the practice, because he couldn't pay his loans. The day I visited the practice, the practice was only open, now, a day and a half a week, and he was doing an exam in which he saw a patient that needed a crown. So I thought, "Great. He's only got two patients on the schedule all day. He'll take care of that crown right now." No. No, he didn't. He scheduled the patient for a later day. Why? He wanted to get out to lunch early. That's not being on time. That's not being present, right?
Step number two, have a yes attitude. A yes attitude is, "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to support the team, create an amazing patient experience, and produce high-quality dentistry. I am willing." Some of the places where I see doctors stumble here. Are you willing to add more treatment to your schedule? We know that same-day dentistry is one thing that improves case acceptance, it improves the patient experience, because of its extreme convenience, improves practice productivity, and greatly improves practice profitability. Are you willing to do it? Are you willing to add that one or two extra procedures in every day, even though it's kind of tight, schedule-wise? Are you willing to do what it takes to make that happen?
Next, are you willing to interrupt your procedure to check hygiene? I've seen doctors that felt like their procedures were more important than what the hygienists were doing, and would happily let the hygienist get behind schedule while they were tied up in their own procedure. That's not a yes attitude. That doesn't lead to a great team experience, and it doesn't lead to a great patient experience.
Are you willing to do what's necessary when the office is behind? Sometimes, we know it's crazy. Sometimes, people show up, you don't know they're coming, you add some treatment in, people come late, people come early. You're trying to make it all flow. Are you one of those doctors that is willing to do whatever it takes? Maybe it means setting up a room. Maybe it means seating a patient. Maybe it means cleaning a room, tearing down one. Maybe it means taking radiographs. Maybe it means even sitting down and starting a hygiene visit, even cleaning teeth. Are you willing to do all those things? Because they may be necessary in order to support your team and to have a great patient experience, with practice productivity and profitability. Do you have a yes attitude when it comes to all those things?
Next one is watch your body language. I've been in 313 dental practices now, in six different countries on three different continents. I've seen a lot of the good, and the bad, and the ugly, and what I can tell you is that we communicate with each other with body language much more than we think we do. So if you have body language that sets the wrong tone and the wrong mood, you're creating a difficulty for your team and a less positive patient experience. Here are some of the things that I've seen: I've seen the rolling of the eyes when the team suggests something. The team comes to a doctor, says, "Hey, we've got this simple restorative procedure. We're going to slip this in for a same-day today," and the doctor rolls their eyes, or they take a heavy sigh. What you're telling your team is you're not willing, right? Your body language is telling your team you're not willing. You'll maybe go along with it, but you don't want to.
Do you think that makes them more likely to bring things to you, or less likely? Well, of course less likely. I've even seen doctors who slammed drawers, and slammed cabinet doors, and slammed their office door. I've seen, a time or two, a dentist throw an instrument out of frustration and anger, right? These are body languages that are not going to produce a positive experience. I've also seen where a doctor will completely ignore the team, will not communicate, hides in their office, doesn't come out when asked. Patients are waiting, doctor's just sitting there ignoring everybody. Again, you're demonstrating with your body language that you're not willing, and if you're not willing to be more successful, your team will not fight to get you there. The other one that happens is angry looks, where just with a look, you can shut someone down. You can shut someone's ambition down, simply with an angry look.
So, remember: Leaders set the tone. There's some good news, though. If you're not in the right mood, you can still set the right tone, by acting as though you're in the right mood, right? You can still set the right tone, because we all know, we're not in a perfectly positive, upbeat, "Let's go get them," mood every single day. That's impossible. But acting like we're that is possible, and should be done every day. Remember, your team will mimic your behaviors. You're the leaders. They will do what they see you doing. The standard is not set by what you say. Hey everybody, I want to remind you... The standard is set by... the Amazon number one... what you do... bestseller that Wendy Briggs and I wrote, The Ultimate Guide to Doubling or Tripling Your Practice Production, is available, and I have an offer for you.
Here's the deal. If you pay the postage, I'll pay for the book. That's right. Free book. You pay the postage. You can get it at yourultimateguidebook.com. In this book, Wendy and I describe the five strategies that we use to transform practices. We talk about how to maximize hygiene productivity using the three roles of the modern hygienist. We talk about maximizing restorative results by clinical efficiency and same-day dentistry. We talk about building a leadership team that takes care of all the headaches in the practice, so that the doctor can focus on his or her productivity, providing even more value to patients. We'll talk about tiger-proofing your practice to provide long-term security, and we'll also talk about how we replace your salary with profits. The five major strategies that we use with our private consulting clients are all in this book, and you can enjoy it too. Go to yourultimateguidebook.com. That's it for this episode of the Dr. John Meis Show. I'll see you next time.