Saturday, January 26, 2008

Practice vs. Playing the Game

The sounds of mourning could be heard recently all over the Dallas-Ft. Worth MetroPlex as the Dallas Cowboys lost in their bid to go the Super Bowl.  Nevertheless, the Cowboys have had a great first season under the leadership of head coach Wade Phillips.  Coach Phillips was initially mentored into coaching by another football coaching great, his father, Bum Phillips.

About 15 years ago I had the opportunity to meet and get to know Bum.  He taught me many football coaching principles that apply to business and to life.  One of those lessons was that in professional football, a player will spend 60 minutes of practice each week for every 60 seconds of actual game day play.  That is a lot of practice!

So how much “practice” have you and your team had in the areas that really count in your office? Areas like building your clinical protocols, improving your verbal skills, analyzing your numbers to see where quality care can be improved.  How much are you really “practicing” or are you just playing the game each day. 

Winning teams find practical ways to “practice” in the areas that make the biggest difference. 

Have a great week of “practice” as well as some great game days!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stop Cancellations

One of the three basic building blocks of the ToP Team Strategy is “The Score Board.”  ToP teams know when they are winning and how the score is kept.  The score is more than just tracking production and collections.  It includes all types of “player” and “team” stats that contribute to the overall success of the practice.

One number, of many, that we track is the number of cancellations and no shows that accumulate throughout the month.  When you track that number on a daily basis, it is a wake up call to get back on track with the ToPS “Stop Cancellations” protocol.

One sure fire way to keep that number down is to prevent new patient cancellations by having the doctor call every new patient before that patient comes in for the first visit.  That’s right, the doctor is going to call the patient and say:

“Mrs. Jones, this is Dr. Amazing calling about your first appointment in our office that is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 AM.  I am just calling to welcome you to our practice and let you know that we are looking forward to meeting you.  If there is anything we can do to make your visit more comfortable, you are welcome to give us a call before you come in.  Otherwise, we look forward to seeing you tomorrow at 10.”

The impact of this call is huge in the mind of the patient.  It is unusual, unexpected and very memorable.  It has also been statistically proven to dramatically reduce new patient no-shows and cancellations.

So, if you are sick and tired of the hole in the schedule that new patients leave when they no-show or cancel, go back to something that works.  Just try it for a week or two.  Track your results and see if your new patient no-shows and cancellations don’t go down.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'm just back from doing a training day with the practices of Dr. Ed White in Elizabethtown, PA.  I have known Dr. White for nearly 10 years.  One of the many things I admire about his management style is his habit of keeping his practice history present.  Every major event that helps build the practice is chronicled in some way so that it will be remembered by everyone on the team no matter when they joined the practice.  One way he does that is by painting the walls of the office lunch room with pictures of important events or concepts they have learned.  Whether is was the creation of their mission statement or a significant book that they read as a team, nothing is left behind as insignificant.  The past is kept in the present in order to keep the most important lessons implemented in the practice.

So what's in your history that that may have been forgotten?  How can you keep your history alive so that the most important lessons stay in the present in the hearts and minds of your entire team?  

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Keeping Score

One of my favorite pieces of literature is a speech given years ago by Albert E.N. Gray in which he said, “Successful people have formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”   He then commented that the things failures don’t like to do are the same things that successful people don’t like to do.  Successful people just do them anyway whether they like to do them or not!

So what are the success habits that create a ToP team?  For the last two weeks we have encouraged everyone to revisit the habit of goal setting by requesting and following the ToPS 2008 Goal Guide.  You can still request your free copy by giving us a call at 1-877-399-8677 or by e-mailing us at 

Once your goals are set, how do you know if you are accomplishing your objectives?  Great teams know what the “score” is all the time.  And the score is much more than just production and collections.  For example, to what extent are you really providing quality care?  Are you measuring it?  Do you know when you are “winning” clinically as well as financially? 

Keeping the right score is a habit that successful dental teams have formed.  As you work on your goals, ask yourself, “How are we going to keep score?  How are we really going to know if we are winning?”  If you would like some suggestions on how to really keep score that goes beyond mere production and collections, give our team a call and ask us how ToP Teams really keep score.