Friday, December 30, 2011

A Habit for 2012 Success

I spent some time this week with a group of dental students from all over the world at the Alpha Omega International Dental Convention. We discussed the Common Denominator of Success - the things that make dentists and professionals in general successful.

Among the many factors that create the Common Denominator of Success is habit. One of those habits is setting and reaching goals. For over 20 years, I have asked 4 basic questions that are the standard for staying on track with goals. Ask yourself how closely you adhere to these 4 questions:

1. Do you have goals?

2. Are your goals written down?

3. Do you review your goals every day?

4. Do you keep them with you or have them in a place where you can see them every day?

There is some magic in being able to answer all of those questions with a “yes.”

Several years ago I was speaking at the gathering of three high schools in New Braunfels, Texas when I asked all of those 4 questions to the graduating seniors. There was only one student who was able to answer all four questions with a “yes.” Upon further inquiry, he shared that his father had taught him this goal setting system when he was in middle school. As a result, he set his sights high and was able to take state in track and get a full ride scholarship to the university of his choice. There are more stories like that than I could ever have time to write.

There is some magic in making a decision and sticking with it until it has been accomplished. The biggest step is the first step -- decide and then write it down.

Have a Happy New Year as you decide, write, review and accomplish in 2012.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Which side of the fence?

Have you ever had a moment when you were very grateful for past decisions you made because of the position it has put you in now, that you never anticipated?

I have thought many times over the last couple of years, how grateful every dentist should be that he or she chose dentistry as a profession, instead of medicine and its related cousins, for the pure fact that dentistry continues to allow you the independence and freedom to practice how you want, where you want, and charge what you want without government


This fact was brought to my attention this week as I sat with many of the top leaders of the optometry world. Optometry is stuck in the middle of the healthcare battle with private insurance on one side and government healthcare on the other. If optometry has its way, it will go the way of the rest of medicine and be part of the total healthcare equation with government involvement. Why? Because government reimbursement for eye care services is more favorable than private insurance…for now. No telling what it will be in the future. With the future so fuzzy in terms of government’s long-term involvement in healthcare, it is a tough decision to make because of all of the future unknowns.

But for dentistry, staying independent and out of the government healthcare debate is a good place to be. Stay informed. Stay vigilant. Protect the freedom of the profession.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Who is in your Kitchen Cabinet?

In 1831 President Andrew Jackson dismissed five of the eight people in his official cabinet. Many accused the president of being overly influenced by what they called the president’s “kitchen cabinet” or close friends who advised the president informally behind the scenes. Since that time, “kitchen cabinet” has been the term that describes the “real” advisors that the president relies on the most that have the most influence.

We just spent the last few days in the ToPS “kitchen” at our Annual Planning Round Table where dentists met for most of the time in groups of 8 to 10 with specific discussion topics and practice problems to solve. They each served as the other’s “kitchen cabinet.”

The ToPS Round Table meetings have become one of the most valued assets participating dentist have. A sounding board of objective peers who are willing to share their own experience, gives the participant a broader base of options to chose from as they develop their future plans. As they say, “Two heads are better than one!”

Join us for our next ToPS Round Table on June 14-16, 2012 where we will help you assemble a kitchen cabinet of your own that may be the key to your future success.

For more information on the ToPS Round Table, give the ToPS team a call at 1-877-399-8677.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A “Thanks” to Build Your Business…

It seems like everywhere I go in the country there are those who cannot resist talking about the “economy.” It seems to be the best excuse for why their business is not doing well.

Blaming the “economy” is just one more way to “live in lack.” It is the constant counting of all the things one does not have. And the more “lack” you see, the more “lack” you get. It makes you feel miserable and then you make everyone around you feel miserable as you talk about… "the economy.”

Consider instead a study pioneered by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough highlighted in the New York Times this week and detailed in Dr. Emmons book entitled Thanks! In their study, they asked a group of people to keep a journal of things for which they felt grateful. After two months, the journal keepers felt happier, more optimistic, had fewer physical problems, and spent more time exercising than did their counter-parts in the control group who did not keep a gratitude journal. The gratitude group also got better quality sleep at night!

It is funny how we sometimes need science to validate what we already know deep down to be true. Having an attitude of gratitude is a better way to live and leads to a better quality of life in every area, compared to living a life of lack.

So as you kicked off your holiday season with Thanksgiving, make giving thanks a regular habit. You’ll feel better and it will make the people around you feel better too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Acres of Diamonds

I have known Dr. Tim and Kathy Droege from Breese, IL for nearly 16 years. They have a thriving practice in their rural farming community of 3,200 people. Kathy grew up there and the two of them met at a nearby University. They started a practice from scratch 25 years ago after being told that there was not enough dentistry for them to do there.

This week, I had the opportunity to go to Breese for the first time and film an upcoming Crown Council “Practice of the Month” feature.* Despite what the Droege’s were told 25 years ago, they have built one of the finest practices in America. By understanding their patients, offering exceptional service, and offering dental services that are not available for miles, they have become THE practice not only in their town, but THE practice for miles around.

The Droege’s remind me of “Acres of Diamonds” popularized years ago by Russell Conwell, founder of Temple University. The story is about a farmer who sold his farm to go in search of diamonds. He searched all over the world for years only to die broke and discouraged. Meanwhile, the buyer of his farm discovered one of the largest diamond mines in history on the same land the first farmer had sold to him. What the first farmer looked for all over the world was sitting right under his feet.

The Droege’s found their diamond mine right under their feet in Breese, IL. There’s nothing magic about Breese – they made the magic happen there.
What is sitting right under your feet that you may be gazing for off in the distance? There is no magic out there. You make the magic happen…right where you are. If it can be done in Breese, IL – it can be done anywhere! So start digging – right where you are!

* Make sure to catch the full presentation of the Crown Council Practice of the Month featuring the Droege’s practice coming soon on

Friday, November 11, 2011


While in Toronto this week speaking at the Toronto Academy of Dentistry, we discussed The Law of Compensation which says: Help people get more of what they want and less of what they don’t want and you won’t have to worry about what you want.”

I believe that any business or person that benefits from the patronage of the people in any type of community has an obligation to give back to that community in some way.

As an example of that principle, I was delighted to invite Will to the stage in Toronto. Will is a twenty-one year old young man who has benefited from the services of “About Face,” a charitable organization in Toronto that helps children correct cleft pallet, hair lip, and other facial issues. Not only has Will’s quality of life improved by the surgical and counseling services of “About Face,” but he has chosen to donate a portion of his time back to the organization to help other kids who are now going through the same process. Will received, and now he’s giving back.

Translate that law into everyday business practice and we find that 67% of consumers choose to do business with an organization that is involved in some type of cause related marking over the competition. Cause related marking is where you are involved in some type of charitable cause or activity.

Recently, our own Smiles for Life Foundation ( surpassed the huge milestone of having raised and donated $30 million to children’s charities around the world. Millions of children have benefited from the efforts of Crown Council dental teams who raise the money each year by whitening patients’ teeth who in turn make a charitable donation. It is a win-win for everyone.

If you have never been involved with Smiles for Life, now is the time to sign up for the campaign that starts in the spring of 2012. For more information on how you can get involved, log on to or call the Crown Council at 1-800-CROWN-58. If you have done Smiles for Life before, now is the time to start planning a successful campaign.

A well-known verse in the Bible says, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Those who practice dentistry have been given a lot. And so, we need to give back.

Join us in the upcoming Smiles for Life campaign as we do good by giving back.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Options and Odds

The Natural Law of Options says that the more options I have to choose from as a consumer, the less likely I am to make a decision. That’s why presenting patients with too many treatment options for THEM to choose from only creates confusion and inaction.

But consider this twist: the more options YOU have to draw from to provide a solution that fits your patient’s exact situation, the greater the odds that you are going to hear a “Yes.” For example, the greater your clinical skills, the more you are prepared to provide the exact treatment the patient needs instead of having to refer it out.

Consider the same principle in financial arrangements. How many different ways do you have for patients to pay for treatment? The more alternatives you have prepared, the greater the odds are that you will have something you can present that will fit their exact financial situation.

Take a moment right now and think or write down all of the different financial options you have available for your patients. How many do you have? Three or four? When I ask people to go through this exercise, I usually get a list like this: Cash, check, credit card or some type of patient financing. (We recommend that you have at least three forms of third-party financing available…not just one.)

So if your patient can’t pay for it today, they don’t have enough credit on a credit card and they don’t qualify for third party financing, you and your patient are out of luck, right? Right…if those are all the options you can provide them.

But, what would happen if you had 10, 20, or even 50 different options at your disposal that you could use to find a solution to their specific financial situation? What would your odds be now? I think you would agree that they would significantly increase.

If you want to significantly increase your odds of financial arrangement success, join us for a special Crown Council webinar “50 Ways to Pay” on Monday, November 14 at noon Central where Total Patient Service Practice Advisor Tanya Bailey and myself will review 50 different ways that patients have paid for treatment. It will include an update on the latest developments from some of the top third party finance programs as well creative ways you may have never thought of for patients to pay for treatment.

If you have not already received an email invitation to register for the webinar, contact us today via e-mail: or call 1-877-399-8677 today for more information. It will be a valuable hour packed with financial options that will significantly increase your odds of success.

Friday, October 28, 2011


One of my mentors is Scott Gross, author of Positively Outrageous Service and a library of other great books. Scott and I were neighbors (kind of) during the ten years that I lived in the Texas Hill Country. I lived in Hunt, Texas and he lived in Center Point!

I was reminded of Scott this week as I sat down at a Chili’s in Goshen, IN the night before doing a presentation to the local dental society. I was with Stuart from the Crown Council and as our server, Stephanie approached with a welcoming smile, I told her that Stuart had come all the way across the country especially for some of Chili’s delicious chips and salsa. She grinned and said she would make sure to take care of his request. In a few minutes she came back with not one, but two baskets of chips and salsa; a regular size basket for me and a JUMBO size basket with two cups of salsa for Stuart!

Later as she brought our check at the end of the meal, she included two large bags of chips to take with us with two containers of salsa and thanked us for coming in. Naturally, we left a BIG tip.

Stephanie exemplified the three ingredients that my mentor Scott Gross likes to call Positively Outrageous Service:

1. Random,

2. Unexpected,

3. Out of proportion to the circumstance.

Just by listening and responding in an “extra mile” fashion, Stephanie gave us an “Outrageous” experience that put a smile on our faces and had us talking for days…in fact, I am still talking about it!

So, find something “outrageous” to do today…Positively Outrageous. It will put a smile on your client, customer or patient’s face and have them talking about you for days!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Feed The Fire

On the wall of my office is a large frame that contains my Eagle Scout Award and my picture as a high school student. One of our suppliers was in my office recently and spotted the frame and commented about the benefits of Scouting and then added, “That’s great you helped your SON get his Eagle.” Wow! I did not realize I looked that old!

Even though my experience in Scouting took place almost 3 decades ago, the lessons learned are as fresh as if they happened yesterday. They are lessons that serve me well today.

For example…

One of the keys to building, starting and maintaining a campfire is having and continually providing the right fuel. The fuel that it takes to start a fire is different than the fuel that it takes to keep the fire burning.


Regularly I get asked what it takes to stay motivated; what it takes to keep the “fire” burning. There are a few basics that are required to start the fire of motivation and to keep it burning brightly:

1. A personal vision of what you are working to accomplish that excites you.

2. The right people that surround you who support and work with you to carry out that vision.

3. Continually adding knowledge to your brain bank of things that will move you closer to your vision.

4. Regularly feeding your mind with positive, uplifting literature and material that puts you and keeps you in the right frame of mind.

5. Regular physical exercise to keep your energy high. There is a direct correlation between your physical health and fitness and overall motivation.

So what are you doing to fuel the “fire?” Motivation is not something that happens to you any more than staring a fire is something that happens spontaneously. You make it happen by following simple rules.

So get on track with building and fueling your fire, whatever your fire is for. Find the fire, build it and let it burn bright. Just like I learned in Scouting, camping (life) is a lot more fun and enjoyable around a warm fire that burns bright than it is in the cold darkness of the wilderness.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Be Different

Psychologists tell us that there is a natural pull to want to be like those around us. At our ToPS seminars, that is something we have taught for years. It is important that your patients and clients see you as someone they can relate to; someone like them.

But when it comes to business, it can get you in trouble. Take the airlines for example. It seems like they all follow each other. One established a fee for baggage, they all follow suit. One quits serving snacks, they all jump on board.

Banks seem to do the same thing. Bank of America recently started charging a fee for using their debit card. Other banks are starting to follow right behind.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for a bank to start running ads that say, “Convenience shouldn’t cost, it should pay.” A bank could really capitalize by running in the opposite direction.

Take Southwest Airlines for example. While all the other airlines charge for checking bags, Southwest doesn’t. They are different. So different that they are just about the only airline that makes money!

So don’t be a follower when it comes to marketing your practice. Take a look around and go in the opposite direction. You’ll be noticed, recognized and appreciated by new patients who can tell you apart from all the rest.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's not the money, it's the Perception of it.

I was at City Hall yesterday filling out the necessary paperwork for a sign permit. I struck up a conversation with the gentlemen next to me who was also filing paperwork for a sign permit. He mentioned he needed to see a dentist because he was interested in veneers on his six upper front teeth. Always eager to give one of our clients some business, I told him I happened to know a great dentist just down the street.

He went on to tell me about how he’d been to see this doctor before, but the cost they quoted him for a smile makeover was too expensive and how “back in the day” he remembers going to the dentist and it was “never that expensive.” At that moment I smiled to myself because I realized, it wasn’t about the money, it was about his perception of what he thought dental work should cost.

So really, your fees are not the problem. Perception is! You’ll gain far more ground by working on your patients’ perceptions than you will fretting over your fees.

But before you start looking for the magic phrase that will resolve someone’s questions about what you charge, remember that we often move too fast to solve patient problems that we really don’t understand. Maybe it is the scientist in us that looks for the perfect material, procedure, or instrument to treat the clinical problem. We have been trained for the “quick fix.”

People are not problems to be fixed. Just consider if someone says you are expense, is it could be because:

1. They have not been to the dentist for some time and are comparing today's fees to outdated fees? (Like our friend at City Hall).

2. They have never had a lot of dental work done, so they don't know what it costs.

3. They are having some financial stress so everything sounds expensive?

4. They are surprised because they thought they were just going to have to pay for a routine cleaning and then discovered that there is more work to be done?

5. They have never placed that much value on their mouth or their health and have not considered what it was really going to cost to stay in good shape?

6. It is the first time someone has had a conversation with them from a
“comprehensive care” point of view instead of just trying to maintain the status quo?

7. They just say that about everything to try and get a better deal!

The list could go on. The point is that it’s impossible to answer the question without first getting additional information. The same way you couldn’t tell a patient over the phone how to treat their toothache without first having done an exam to see the real condition.

Every patient has a unique situation…a story. Until you really understand them, their story, and their reason for asking, there's no quick fix verbal skill that will answer their question. It's about the relationship first, not the case or your fees.

So the next time you get the “Why are you so expensive?” question or one similar to it, just stop. Take a deep breath. And listen as you ask…"Tell me more about that.” You might be surprised to hear what comes next. The reason behind the question will most likely be something you had not anticipated.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Administrate or Innovate

Leadership in any line requires many different skills. Some are in direct opposition to each other. For example: administration vs. innovation.

Administration is the skill of managing people and organizations so that everything runs smoothly and stays aligned with policies and procedures. In many ways, it is the art of maintaining the status quo.

Innovation is the art of progress and change. Many times it requires challenging the status quo by looking at things in a different way and acting outside the “norm.”
As a general rule, for every innovator, there are 10 administrators. As humans, we crave stability and the status quo. It feels safe to us because of the consistency. Because of that natural tendency, most have to consciously work at innovation. The irony is that while administration feels safe, innovation is the essential ingredient to surviving and thriving.

History lauds, honors and praises the innovators, but is relatively quiet about the administrators. That’s because we admire the rare and take the common for granted.

History honors Thomas Edison as one of the most important figures of the 20th century. Why? Because his numerous innovations changed the way we live. Meanwhile, can you name any one of the administrators that ran Edison Electric or General Electric in the subsequent years? If you can, the only one that comes to mind is Jack Welch because he dramatically innovated the way General Electric approached its business.

So, step out of administration from time-to-time and INNOVATE! Ask:

- How can I make things better?

- What type of business would put me out of business?

- What would we look like if we expanded by 10 times?

- What weakness would I exploit if I were my competition?

- What is something I would never consider changing?

If you want something to administrate in the future, you better start innovating today!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Wake Up Call to the Realities of Business

Dr. Bob Maher called our attention last week to a Seattle Times article about decreased insurance reimbursement rates to dentists in Washington. View article by clicking HERE.

I always scratch my head when I hear that dentists are angry, shocked, and surprised when reimbursement rates are cut. Of course they are getting cut. They always do…over time. The reason? Greedy insurance companies who want to make more profit? That is what most would like to blame it on. But, the reality is that there is a natural law in business that states that prices (exclusive of inflation) will always decrease over time. They always do. Think about the price of new technology. When it first comes out on the market, it will always be priced at its highest. As competition enters the market and the basic product becomes more widely available, manufacturers figure out how to produce the product more efficiently, reduce costs, and provide the product at a better price in order to stay competitive and profitable at the same time.

If you are in dentistry, think about what intra-oral camera technology cost when it first came out. Today, better technology is available at a fraction of the cost. More competition produces more expertise in the market place. That expertise creates more ways to produce a better product at a better price. That is what continual improvement is all about. It is also why companies are always seeking out new technologies and products to produce.

So instead of being a victim of the Natural Law of Decreasing Prices, go with it.
Do the following to stay competitive and relevant in the market:

1. Be disciplined in the effort to control and drive down costs. Do you know what your true costs are? Do you have budgets for these costs? Do you have discussions with your team on how to control and cut those costs?

2. Find more ways to be more efficient without cutting quality. Other companies do it all the time.

3. Measure quality and efficiency. If you don’t know how to measure these things in a dental practice, it is high time you learned!*

4. Constantly be looking at new services you can add to your business or practice. The newest services always demand the highest prices. Over time they will decrease, so get in early before the competition.

5. Quit complaining and being a victim and wake up to reality. For some strange reason, there are some professions that think they are immune to natural laws in business. They’re not. So you can complain about it and lose, or go with it, get ahead, and win. Winning seems like a better choice!

* The Total Patient Service Institute measures a unique set of data points in dental practices so improvements can be made constantly in service, quality and efficiency.
To learn more, call the Total Patient Service Institute at 1-877-399-8677.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Is Your Practice a “Staples” or an "OfficeMax?"

We are fortunate in our town because we have plenty of choices. When it comes to office supplies, for example, there is a Staples just 5 minutes away and an OfficeMax 7 minutes away. If that does not work, you can get to an Office Depot in 10.

I went into Staples recently looking for four items. I wondered around trying to find what I was looking for. When I finally found someone to ask for help, he pointed me in the general direction and gave me an isle number. When I got to checkout counter, I asked the clerk if they happened to carry any other computer speakers than the ones they had on display. She didn’t know, but she told me I could go ask one of the guys on the floor if I wanted to know. I chuckled. She looked at me. I simply told her that I did want to know and that is the reason I asked! She then proceeded to ring up my order incorrectly, twice, and never called for the guys on the floor to answer my question. I decided that the competition might be more worthy of my business so I thanked her and drove two more minutes to OfficeMax.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at OfficeMax and was greeted at the door by an OfficeMax associate who asked if he could help me find what I was looking for. I was expecting a pointed finger and an isle number, but got an escort instead. He walked me to every place in the store where I was looking and offered to order the computer speakers I was looking for but that they did not have in stock. It took me 1/3rd the time at Office Max as it did at Staples and I was glad I went. The clerk at checkout was courteous and efficient and I was out the door in no time. I even saved $10 over what I was going to pay at Staples.

Now I don’t know if I would find the same service at the OfficeMax 20 minutes away as I did at the one 7 minutes away. I don’t know if I would have received the same lousy service at Stapes at a different location either. All I know is that…

1. You are the brand when the customer is standing in front of you.

2. Brands are as strong as they are consistent. But if I only go to one location and that location always has good service, that brand to me is consistent.

3. When customer perception of the product is about the same, your biggest point of differentiation is service.

Ask your team today, are you a Staples or an OfficeMax? It all comes down to service. If you haven’t trained and re-trained on it over and over and over again, you are probably a Stapes. It rarely happens on accident.

Make sure to che
ck out the upcoming ToPS Total Immersion dates at Bring your team. Take your service to the “Max” with the Total Patient Service difference. Otherwise you are bound to be Stapled!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fraternity Rush and the Law of Harmony

I like to start stuff! It probably started with the Legos I played with as a kid, before the days of kits with pre-designed models.

Early in my college experience I had the opportunity to start a chapter of the largest fraternity in the country. I jumped at the chance to create something new on our campus. It was a great experience that taught me many lessons of launching a new business.

The most distasteful part of the process, however, was fraternity rush. It was not the rushing part where each house is vying for their share of the incoming freshmen, so much as the vetting; sorting through the potential candidates to determine who would receive a “bid” or an invitation to join and who wouldn’t. Passing judgment on each rushee was a painful process.

As time has passed since that experience, I have come to appreciate more and more the rush process. It is very similar to hiring and building a team in your organization: generating potential team members to interview, screening, interviewing and then determining who you think will be the best fit for your team.

What you are looking for is the right “fit” because you know if the person you select is the right person, you tap into the Law of “Harmony” or the Law of the MasterMind which says: Two or more minds joined together in harmony form a third mind more powerful than the sum of the parts.

Harmony is a critical ingredient of “health” and growth. When there is harmony of purpose and process, there is momentum and progress. When there is disharmony, there is “dis-ease” and lack of progress.

I was in two offices yesterday that had just finished their best month ever. It was very evident why. There is a spirit of harmony in each where team members support team members and everyone is working in harmony to help each other accomplish the practice and goals. There is momentum because there is harmony, that allows for laser like focus on the unified purpose.

So if there is “dis – ease” in your team, ask yourself to what degree you have a unified purpose and harmony toward the goals you have set. The movement and momentum you experience toward your goal may very well be determined by the harmony you have on your team toward your unified purpose.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why wrestlers should play basketball

My sport of choice in high school was wresting. (I tried basketball but the height thing was a problem for me!) I must have been aching for punishment because wresting has to be one of the most physically demanding sports there is.

At the height of a particularly stressful period one season, our coach walked in with a serious look on his face and told everyone to get up to the basketball court upstairs. We all knew the worst was coming and were sure that he had some type of unbearable conditioning exercise planned. After dividing the entire team into groups of five, he pulled out the basketballs and said, “play ball” with a big smile on his face. For the next half hour we had a blast on the court. As we concluded, the coach simply said, “you were all getting way too serious and stressed out. Now let’s go back down stairs, and give it our best.” It was the perfect activity for the moment. It bonded us back together as a team and got us all back in the right frame of mind.

Every great organization has to strike the balance between skill building and motivation. There are some aspects of the business that require training, repetition, relentless skill building and improvement. On the other hand, we all need some inspiration and “motivation” from time-to-time. It is a balance. If there is too much of one or the other, the results don’t match up.

So if you feel like you have been down on the “mat” for too long and you are about to get “pinned,” gather the team together and go “shoot some hoops.” On the other hand, it may be time for some more serious practice on the “mat.” Every organization needs both on a regular basis. It is all about balance.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why My Wife Doesn’t Have Periodontal Disease…

If you have had any experience with me in a seminar or any other format, you know about my family. With seven children, there is always a lot to talk about.

This week I was relieved to discover a new way to know that Cheryl, my wife and mother of our 7, does not have periodontal disease.

A recent story on Fox News reported the findings of a scientific study that correlates periodontal disease to fertility problems. The study found that women who have periodontal disease take on average two more months to get pregnant than women who are healthy. With as many trips as we have made to the delivery room, Cheryl must be pretty healthy!

To view the Fox News segment, log onto:

This most recent finding, along with all the others, keeps pointing to the same thing: What we are doing in dentistry has more to do with overall health than we have thought. If you have been to our ToPS “Total Immersion” course, you will remember how we talk about “4th Generation” patients. It is very clear to me that dentistry has moved from the 3rd to the 4th Generation…treating with the “whole” person in mind, not just their teeth.

Add to that the fact that patients today expect their dentist to address whole health issues, not just teeth issues. Patients get it. Medical research gets it. The media gets it. The profession as a whole needs to get it. “Getting it” means not only changing your mind set, but changing the way you interact with your patients.

One of the greatest steps any dental professional can take is to totally grasp the new paradigm of periodontal disease and its treatment. As mentioned in previous blogs, Dr. Tommy Nabors has spent most of his dental career and his childhood (really!) studying the nature of the disease. He and his team in Nashville have a unique perspective and approach that works. That’s why they are in the top 1% of offices nationwide in periodontal treatment effectiveness.

I begged Tommy to lift the lid on what he is doing and host a limited number of offices on August 26-27 at his practice in Nashville and share their “Secrets of Periodontal Therapy.” It will change the way you look at and treat your patients.

For more information and registration, call 1-877-399-8677 or e-mail,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How I Know My Wife Does NOT Have Gum Disease!

If you have had any experience with me in a seminar or any other format, you know about my family. With seven children, there is always a lot to talk about.

This week I was relieved to discover a new way to know that Cheryl, my wife and mother of our 7, does NOT have periodontal disease.

A recent news story on Fox News reported the findings of a scientific study that correlates periodontal disease to fertility problems. The study found that women who have periodontal disease take on average two more months to get pregnant than women who are healthy. With as many trips as we have made to the delivery room, Cheryl must be pretty healthy!

To view the Fox News segment, log onto:

This most recent finding, along with all the others, keeps pointing to the same thing: What we are doing in dentistry has more to do with overall health than we have thought. If you have been to our ToPS “Total Immersion” course, you will remember how we talk about “4th Generation” patients. It is very clear to me that dentistry has moved from the 3rd to the 4th Generation…treating with the “whole” person in mind, not just their teeth.

Add to that the fact that patients today expect their dentist to address whole health issues, not just teeth issues. Patients get it. Medical research gets it. The media gets it. The profession as a whole needs to get it. “Getting it” means not only changing your mind set, but changing the way you interact with your patients.

One of the greatest steps any dental professional can take is to totally grasp the new paradigm of periodontal disease and its treatment. As mentioned in previous blogs, Dr. Tommy Nabors has spent most of his dental career and his childhood (really!) studying the nature of the disease. He and his team in Nashville have a unique perspective and approach that works. That’s why they are in the top 1% of offices nationwide in periodontal treatment effectiveness.

I begged Tommy to lift the lid on what he is doing and host a limited number of offices on August 26-27 at his practice in Nashville and share their “Secrets of Periodontal Therapy.” It will change the way you look at and treat your patients.

For more information and registration, call 1-877-399-8677 or e-mail,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Tragedy of an Infection

The tragedy at our local elementary school this spring was the husband of one of the third grade teachers who cut his finger at work. He washed it and put a small bandage on it. In fact, he washed it every day. It did not seem to get much better, but because it did not hurt, he just kept cleaning it until his wife, the teacher, insisted he go and have it checked out. By the time the lab results came back testing him positive for a staph infection, it had spread throughout his entire body and he ultimately passed away.

If only the wound had been checked and the lab test done earlier, he could have been treated for the staph infection in a timely manner and his life would have been saved.

The way this wound was initially treated
is similar to how many patients, and frankly, many dental practices, treat periodontal disease. “Just clean it.” Unfortunately, just trying keeping the “wound” clean won’t take care of the ultimate problem.

How we think about periodontal disease and how it is treated has changed. It is no longer just site-specific. It is a systemic problem. Grasping the concept and emotionally embracing it is as big of a problem for some practitioners as it is for patients.

Making the shift requires several steps:

1. Totally understanding the true nature of periodontal disease and its systemic and total health consequences.

2. Having the right diagnostics in place, including Oral DNA, that will identify the type and severity of the systemic problem.

3. New treatment modules that address the “whole” problem, not just the localized problem.

4. Presentation and verbal skills that help patients make the shift and embrace the problem and what it will take on their part to treat it.

Earlier this year, I watched with amazement as this transformation took place in the professional lives of entire dental teams with which we work.

We invited Dr. Tommy Nabors and his dental team from Nashville to come spend the day presenting how they think about, approach, and treat periodontal disease in their practice. Within a few short hours, entire perspectives were changed and the teams walked out with a new commitment to treat the disease in a new, more comprehensive way. Over the months that have followed, I have observed that commitment come to life in the lives of the patients they treat. The teams have changed, and because they have changed, their patients changed as well.

Don’t miss a great opportunity to have your team experience the same thing on August 26-27, 2011 as Dr. Nabors and his team open their office to a few, select dental teams as they present their entire periodontal therapy program and how they use it every day in their practice. Their case acceptance results are just as impressive as their clinical results not to mention the fact that this team of three hygienists does over $1 million in hygiene production a year. It will change your perspective. It will change the lives of your patients. And with what we know about the far-reaching, total health consequences of periodontal disease it will save lives.

For more information on Dr. Nabors and his course, call 1-877-399-8677 or e-mail:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to make 10+10=100

Having just finished our ToPS “Halftime” Round Table meeting where dentists from all over the country came together for two days of idea exchange and practice planning, I am reminded of simple math as follows:

10+10=100 but if you simply turn the + sign on its side you get an “X”. That minor change creates the following equation: 10x10=100. With very little effort, you get exponential results.

Those exponential results are experienced every time we have one of our Round Table meetings. 8 to 10 dentists have a set of facilitated discussion topics and exercises that help everyone share the best of what they are doing as well as explore new ideas and ways of doing things. The result is a new “frame” for the practice and new ideas to implement for better results.

Think about it. Just about every business leader is isolated in daily work. Working with employees and customers all day leaves a void of interaction with those who can relate to the real challenges faced in the business. But when two or more of those leaders come together to share experiences and exchange ideas, a dynamic is created in which problems are solved, ideas are generated, and new results are realized.

I challenge you to participate with us in our next ToPS Round Table meeting on December 1-3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas where those who are committed to being the best come together to become even better!

For more information, contact the ToPS Institute at 1-877-399-8677 or e-mail:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Frances and the Dominican Republic

Four years ago, we launched through the Crown Council and Smiles for Life Foundation an ambitious dental humanitarian project in the Dominican Republic with the goal of changing a culture. Each year we take four expeditions of Crown Council teams to the D.R. to work side-by-side with Dominican dentists and dental students to serve those in the country who have little or no access to dental care. For an up-close look you can visit

The organizer and inspiration behind this ambitious project is Dr. Roy Hammond and his late wife Frances. Roy and Frances took me on my first dental humanitarian expedition in 2003 and I will never forget it and the lessons learned.

Toward the end of that trip, I remember many of us dragging. The days had been long, the weather was warm, and our energy levels were low. On that day, Frances Hammond came up to me and said, “I know we’ve worked on a lot of teeth during this week, but we didn’t come here to work on teeth, we came to work with people.”

We were scheduled that day to work at an orphanage for blind children many of whom had been abandoned by their parents. Our patients that day would never see us, they would never see the faces of the people helping them or working on their teeth. These children would only remember how we made them feel.

Frances gathered the dental team together for a “Morning Meeting” and reminded every one that dentistry isn’t about how many patients or procedures, the greatness of your technical expertise, or even teeth. That’s right. It’s not about teeth. It’s about the people and how they feel because we have been permitted to come into their lives.

That day, I watched in amazement as our exhausted team rallied around the true purpose of the mission, to serve people. I watched blind children feel the true care and concern from people they would never see with their eyes. It was a transforming experience that grounded me in the real purpose of service.

I have always been grateful for that lesson Frances taught all of us. She left a legacy behind when she passed away in 2009 that lives on in the work that continues in the Dominican Republic and the work that goes on every day in the practices that take the opportunity to serve there. They bring something back that positively influences the way they practice dentistry every day at home and the way they live their lives

So remember, it is not about the teeth. That’s a lesson that can be learned and relearned every day in every practice.

For more information on how you and your team can participate in the Crown Council’s dental humanitarian efforts, call: 1-800-276-9658 or e-mail

Friday, May 27, 2011


A friend of mine recently got engaged. He and his fiancé will be married within the next month. It is refreshing to watch them because there are some lessons which we all need to be reminded of personally, as well as professionally.

When engaged to be married a person is:
Totally focused on the opportunity at hand, and
Not entertaining other offers!

Contrast those characteristics to a professional I met recently who said, “If I could find something else that paid as much as what I am doing now, I would quit what I am doing now. In fact, I am looking.”

This professional could have used some reminder lessons in “engagement.” Just look around the next time you go out to eat. There will usually be a couple sitting all by themselves, looking longingly into each other’s eyes, with no clue or awareness that there is anyone else in the room. They are either dating or engaged!

Look around a little more and you’ll see a guy who is totally into his PDA while his date’s eyes wander to find the man…she WISHED she had married!

When engaged to be married or engaged in work, the characteristics are the same. You…
Dream of how wonderful things are going to be,
Plan to make amazing things happen,
Dedicate your time and your energy to making it all work.

Failure to accomplish the end objective has more to do with engagement than perhaps any other characteristic. When you are engaged, your time, attention, thoughts, dreams, aspirations, plans, and nearly every waking moment is focused on making IT work. Whatever IT is.

So, get engaged! Recommit to your work with the same passion that my friend has for his upcoming marriage. With that level of commitment, everyone else will get out of your way so you can get to the alter. The alter of your accomplishment!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Who is your competition...REALLY???

It is a question I ask groups nearly every week. Who is your competition? If you are in dentistry for example, you might make the mistake of saying that your competition is the dentist down the street. That kind of thinking might be seriously limiting your success.

Think about it:

· Over 50% of the people in any market do not go to the dentist on a regular basis.

· 80% of the population has some type of periodontal disease.

· You’re not everybody’s “cup of tea.” Not everyone is going to like your personal style or your way of doing business. They will go somewhere else. That is the bad news. The good news is that other people are not going to like the dentist down the street and would rather come to you.

“Competition” in a healthy sense of the word may be the best thing that can happen to any business for several reasons:

· To one extent, the more competitors there are, the more educated the market becomes and the more likely more people are to buy.

· Healthy “competition” creates the opportunity to differentiate and tailor your service to a more specific clientele that will be more satisfied because you are more closely serving their needs.

· “Competition” makes everybody better because you have to stay on top of your game to stay relevant.

I have always thought how much better dentistry would be if dentists, especially in the same market, were willing to share their clinical data. If they would compare and help each other improve clinically, the entire market would benefit as well as the patients in it. Besides, patients rarely make the decision about their dentist based on clinical quality. Unfortunately, they are not very good judges of clinical quality of care. Quality is the moral and ethical responsibility of the dentist.

So think of the vast untapped market of patients that are waiting to be served. In most markets, there is plenty to go around for everyone if you are properly positioned and move forward with a defined purpose instead of being threatened by the “competition.”