475: Expert Strategies for Motivating a Team That's Not Quite on Board | Dr. David Maloley

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Show Notes

I'm excited to announce that the Pediatric Dental Marketing Course is officially open for enrollment!
This comprehensive course, developed by Minal Sampat and myself, is tailored specifically for pediatric practice owners and their teams. It is designed to turn your pain points into stepping stones for success, and to help you become the trusted dental home for countless children in your community. Head over to our site to enroll now! https://pediatricdentalmarketingcourse.com/

Guest: David Maloley

Business Name: Relentless Dentist

Check out David's Media:

Website: https://relentlessdentist.com/

David's Podcast: https://relentlessdentist.com/podcasts/

Reveal the Hidden Potential In Your Practice! https://app.tryinterface.io/s/64c79b5f-a27b-41b8-b3a0-ea9dfe3eeedf

Other Mentions and Links:

Voices of Dentistry

David's Past Episode: 198



In-N-Out Burger

Kois Center

Peter Drucker

Deion Sanders

Minal Sampat


Host: Michael Arias

Website: The Dental Marketer

Join my newsletter: https://thedentalmarketer.lpages.co/newsletter/

Join this podcast's Facebook Group: The Dental Marketer Society

My Key Takeaways:

  • What are the key aspects to a high performance and self-driven team?
  • The drawbacks to a top-down, authoritarian, leadership style and effective alternatives.
  • How to build your patient experience around referrals, so patients can't help but refer their friends and family.
  • The difference between self-managing team members, and those that need more guidance, and how to manage both.
  • How to escape the tyranny of "urgent" tasks and ease your mind.
  • How to manage a team that isn't fully on board with the plan.

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: This is the Dental Marketer, the podcast where we teach you how to effectively market and grow your dental practice. And my name is Michael Adias, and my mission is to help you, the practice owner, attract new patients immediately, and effectively market and grow your business, so you can become the go to dental practice in your community.

Now, today we're tackling a challenge. That you faced at one point or another, and that's how to build a thriving team culture when not everyone seems to be on board and joining us is a seasoned expert, second time guest, Dr. David Maloli. David was on episode 198, The Relentless Dentist, and in that episode, I'm going to put a link to it in the show notes below.

Or you can go on the website and just search up episode 198. And in that episode, he talks about why having clarity is everything when starting a practice. The tough times you will face when you own a practice that you absolutely cannot avoid. And how to become a better leader for your team. And so that's what we discussed in that episode on 198.

But in this episode, we dive miles deeper into a couple things. Specifically, a lot of those things that we talked about, but much, much deeper. For example, We discuss breaking down top notch teams. So have you ever wondered what it takes for a regular group of people, and what do you have to do to turn them into a supercharged team? Well, That's what we dive deep into in this episode. Into what pushes teams to the top. And lights that motivational fire under them. Then we also discussed the flip side of traditional leadership. And so we're going to chat about why the old school bossing around leadership might not be cutting it.

We're diving into ways to lead that boost and inspire and not just boss around. Then we also talk about making your patient experience share worthy.

So Dave's got the lowdown on crafting a patient experience that's so awesome, folks can't help but tell their friends about it. So get ready to learn how to make your patients your biggest fans. And then we're also talking about balancing self managing and guided team members. some teams they're a mix, right?

Some people love their freedom, while others need a road map. And we're gonna chat about handling both kinds of team members, and letting everyone shine in their own way. And then, we'll discuss ditching the everything's urgent mindset. And Dave's got tips. to help you shake off that constant to do list pressure uh, that we all kind of feel like we have. So let's figure out how to take back your time and what really matters in this episode.

That's what we're going to discover with Dr. Dave Maloli. But before that, I want to ask you, Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and noticed, the people you're following the pediatric dentist or pediatric practice, and they have thousands of followers, and you notice people are engaging with their content?

They're creating content you love, that other people love, and you just know that they're attracting new patients every single day through Instagram. And you've thought to yourself, how incredible would that be if I had an Instagram account just like them? How fun would that be? Well Stick around after the interview to learn exactly how to do this, but for now, let's listen in to Dr.

Dave Melloli. David, how's it going? Michael,

David: I'm awesome. How about yourself?

Michael: Doing pretty good, bud. Doing pretty good. It's been a minute. I think the last time we physically spoke was at Voices of Dentistry pre

David: pandemic. Right. Yeah. I was going to say it's probably a different world that we're both walking in currently, relative to the last time we

Michael: spoke.

But since last time, and even in the episode, which I'll put in the show notes below, so, the listener can, you know what I mean, follow up and listen to it. But at the same time, you've always been really keen on leadership. You've always talked about it. Right now, currently, are you, are you working in a practice clinically or no?


David: not. I sold my practice literally right before the pandemic would have taken it from me. So I saw my last patient in March of 2020.

Michael: Oh, nice. Okay. So then right now, what are you currently doing?

David: I exclusively coach. Single location, dental practice owners. Um, I've done that one on a one on one basis for about five years.

And I really focus on performance, which is to me, the people side of things, not only what's going on internally for the doctor, but how does that radiate as a force for good towards the teams? And I'm also building a platform called Dentist Ascend, and that's to really give that demographic, single location dental practice owners, every competitive edge, giving them, I've really analyzed the market once because I was in it for a long period of time.

It's easy to see what are all the things that they need and what are all the things that would be nice, but create friction and getting them to progress from current state to desired state.

Michael: Gotcha. So is it more monetary? Like, Hey, look, I'm trying to break even Dave. And I need to get me there. Right? Like I'm struggling.

It's been two, three years. Right. Or is it more like, Hey, the team sucks. I hate coming to work. Money's good. I just, Mondays, when Mondays come around, I get sick, right? Which one is it kind of more?

David: it's both. Um, I created a methodology called the dentist of sun methodology to make sure that, cause my background before I was in dentistry, I was really in performance working with elite athletes and my career kind of.

Went full circle when I realized that I was kind of born to be a coach, that's what was allowing my practice to prosper was me coaching up my teams that led to, you know, one on one coaching engagements, but I think it's dangerous to separate one from the other because, you know, I call the top tier and enjoy cashflow, like how profitable are we, what are the business mechanics that are leading to that, but if you drill down.

A layer below that, I call that enthused clients. So what sort of clinical care and patient experience are they getting? And then that's going to lend to. Enjoy cashflow, right? If we go a deeper layer than that, who's creating the experiences, the doctor and the team, I call it enhanced culture.

And then the driver of all of that in my, with my clientele where they have one location and they're really masters of their craft, but they have to parallel their craft with. Leadership and business acumen. I call that elevate confidence. What's going on for that doctor? Or not going on for that doctor in some cases.

To, that's inhibiting them from being at their best at work.

Michael: Gotcha, okay. That make sense? Yeah, so this is a process, a system you've created,

David: right? It is, it's an integration between business consulting and performance coaching. That, I've been around the block enough and I've I've been in the pit of despair as a practice owner myself for long periods of time, it helped me see what was genuinely high leverage for the doctor and also like what are the things that we're chasing and they're expensive, but they're not necessarily high yield.

Michael: Okay, so you mentioned pit of despairs. What are some? Of the major pit of despairs that you remember where you were like, geez, my gosh, how am I going to get out of this? That maybe nowadays you see that coming back up or that's happening a lot with uh, some of the colleagues. Yeah,

David: I think One of the phrases I go back to often is that we don't have business problems We have personal problems that manifest in our business and that really humanizes the process But for me in the first few years of my startup practice My wife was medevaced to have my son, that was a big trauma to me because I didn't know if either of them were going to come home, quite frankly, a few years after that, my wife had a stroke in my office again, medevaced to Denver to save her life.

And the straw that broke the camel's back was about six months after that were half my team quit all in one week. it was more of a mutiny, kind of orchestrated by a toxic office

Michael: manager. was that during the part where your wife had the

David: stroke or no? It was like six months after, yeah.

When, right when I was at my lowest and a shell of a man, and I really needed my team, it fractured. And... It was difficult financially, it was difficult emotionally. I remember having so much anxiety that I'd be bent over in the shower dry heaving before work some days. And so I had to crack the code because I knew that game wasn't sustainable at all.

Michael: that, man, that is. So then what were some of the things that you started doing? Because honestly, Dave, if I was in, I'm just trying to think, trying to put myself in your shoes. I would kind of just say like, I'm just going to give it all up right now. Right. That's like priorities. My family team doesn't want to be here.

Fine. I'm selling right. Like I don't, I don't care. I'll, I don't know, be an Amazon driver or something. But Yeah. Yeah. For you, what were the steps if you could pinpoint and kind of like break it down to us in a system, the first one to three steps that helped you to get out of there?

David: Well, most of my work now is around flow.

Like how do we find this optimal state of productivity where we feel good? Things kind of happen that feels magic, but we're putting effort into it. Just has all of our focus and attention. And now I can look back at those times and realize what wasn't working, where were the burnout triggers in my life?

And also, where was I almost stumbling across flow triggers? And so the first one is purpose. I moved to this mountain town for a reason. And I had a little boy and I literally remember looking at him and his crib. He was sleeping one night and I was, I could feel my insides like quivering from all the anxiety.

And I said to him, Bennett, I don't know how I'm going to figure this out, but I'm going to find a way. So in the flow continuum, you kind of need curiosity, passion, and purpose stacked really high when you get in those difficult situations. know that now. I didn't know that then, but I happen to have a little boy right in front of me that I didn't want to say, Hey, listen, it was a crash and burn.

And we decided to move to Denver and gave up on the dream. So purpose was the big one. Um, the second one was. Accountability. I mean, when I look back at that moment of team unity, I don't know that I would want to work for me either. I wasn't, I was short. I didn't have much in the tank. I didn't sleep very well at night.

and I'm sure they felt that and I'm sure when they left they felt somewhat guilty, but they were trying to preserve themselves. So I had to realize that everything that happened in these four walls was my responsibility, whether I liked it or not, whether I was prepared for it or not. And then the third one would be understanding what team building really means.

I, my background was more from, I grew up on a farm and then I worked in high performance athletics for a long period of time. And those environments are very authoritarian. And I kind of thought, Hey, my name's on the door. It's my license we're working under. I signed the paychecks. So I point in that direction and you go in that direction, right?

Well, not, not so much. It sounds good in theory, but. This isn't the military and my team always had other options and it created a lot of pain just because I didn't really know how to articulate, Hey, let's make this a meaningful, meaningful workplace for you. What gets you excited to come to work in the morning?

What has you for feeling fulfilled at the end of the day and then chasing there, going back to curiosity, passion, and purpose, what are the things that you're interested in? What, how can we further educate and develop you? So. It was this top down management where we started into, we moved into a very horizontal management structure where everyone owned their zone.

Now I know that it's self managing teams, but that's really what allowed me to not only survive. In a weird economic climate in a resort town that has nasty seasonal trends and end up being really proud of the product, meaning that patient experience, the reputation, but also all the outputs, all the things that happen when you run a smart business.

Michael: Yeah, I like, I like that part at the end right now. So the product that you're trying to put out is the patient experience.

David: Yeah, I, I believe. Again, I don't know that I could have articulated this as clearly then, but now I've got some separation and I coach clients on this. The idea that we were building into our patient experience was referral centricity.

What if. The purpose of an appointment wasn't to get case acceptance. What if it wasn't to get them to reappoint? What if it was something higher and bigger, which would be give them an exceeding expectations experience where they couldn't help, but tell the next person they saw on the pickup line at school or when they went back to work.

And when you build your. around a referral, you know, that people aren't just going to give it out, you have to earn it. And so that was the product you know, extends into reputation and ability. but that's what I always challenged my team is. We've got dozens of people on the schedule today, but that one in front of you right now, what can you do to make them feel like they're the only patient on our schedule today?

Michael: I like that, man. That's super different. So how did you do that? How did you create that experience? So the end goal was always a

David: referral.

Well, if you don't mind, let's go into another flow trigger, a big flow trigger. We talked about purpose was a big one. Talk about curiosity. We talk about passion, but a massive one is autonomy. And when I started making my team, the CEO of whatever they were doing, it might be the schedule, it might be the finances.

It might be the hygiene op. It might be one of my ops. That's when that really flourished. And I just. Decentralized operations, basically, although it was a small facility, I decentralized operations and task them to surprise and delight the patients on the schedule. And one patient might want to get in and out.

So the surprise and delight was efficiency, but the other person might want, you know, if they're, if they have more time on their hands, they might want the additional touches like, Oh, I watch. HGTV when I came in last time and they remembered it and that program was up when I walked in the room. And it doesn't take much really to surprise and delight somebody because most customer experiences are pretty mediocre, right?

Yeah. But it's all these little unexpected touches. It's nothing's going to blow you away. It's just that, wow, I got a birthday card from Dr. Maloli. Wow. We got a handwritten thank you after I was there one visit. Those little things compound like crazy.

Michael: Interesting. So it's more of the, um,

David: the details. Yeah.

The details that seem trivial at first, that's a really good way to put it. If you didn't do it, nobody would miss it. And the fact that you are doing it, it doesn't take you five or 10 minutes. It takes you a moment, but just that little bit more eye contact, a little bit more conversation, remembering where they went to vacation last summer, because he put it in the notes, all those little things.

And a small town or in a big town where people, they want, they feel ignored and they want to feel like they're valued. If you just put a few little deposits on that emotional bank account each time, it really adds up and it's that emotional connection. Now, more than ever, that people are really longing for.

Michael: Yeah, I remember, I think that was in, and for anybody, for, for you, you're listening, I'm going to put it in the show notes below to Dave's, uh, newsletter, because I think today you sent something like about the three points to, to ponder and, and one of them was to rethink. Touch points, It was where can you inject and genuine care into the um, I guess this part of it, right?

is this something that you recommend like everybody on the team should ask themselves this?

David: Everybody on the team, every appointment, every day. Every day. It's a moving target, you're trying to customize it, you're trying to make it unique and personalized and unexpected, and there's different strokes for different folks, and somebody might love all your reminders and somebody might hate all your reminders, so you have to customize the experience, and I think, you know, there's a lot of people that are scared about this corporate takeover or what you want to talk about, um, I don't think it's real, I think Yes.

It's a, just a different model. And if you want to win at your own model, you get excellent at your craft, which is dentistry, and you package that in a incredible experience. And you can run circles around anybody because it's so rare. I mean, I live in a high end area and I can go to an expensive restaurant and the steak might be good, but then the service is mediocre or I might go into retail and the same thing.

So if you can surround yourself with a handful of engaged, creative people, they don't have to be trained in dentistry. In fact, sometimes I think it's a liability for them to have spent a long time in dentistry because then you have to take them through this unlearning process. That experience goes beyond the golden rule of, let me give you the dental experience I would want.

It's upgraded into, let me understand the experience that you want and make sure that I give you that, and then nudge it up just one more rung and say, wow. Like. You'll never believe what happened at Malovi's office today.

Michael: I like that. Well, have you ever experienced a day where, I mean, somebody's expressing this.

They're wanting it. They're like, yeah, okay, guys, we're all gonna, what, where are the touch points we can add? And then there's like that one team member that just all the time, right? They're there, they get excited, then they bring it down and they get excited and then bring it down. what do we do with that?

David: it's a big question. I mean, there's 80 percent of the workforce that are disengaged right now. some people are just risk averse and any change feels like a threat to their day. And so they need a little bit more coaching and nurturing and reminders. Most leaders get sick of saying the same thing over and over, but it's important that.

We find the things that are precious and valuable to us, and we never stop talking about it because people will drift. Right. So there's that well intentioned person. And then there's the other person who might be like, Hmm, sounds good, but it's also a lot of work. Let's just see if we can let this blow over.

And then you have that other insidious person. That's like, no way I ain't doing that. And then they start to kind of toxify and contaminate the others. So I really believe the future of leadership is. Understanding how to coach and develop your people, not just in dentistry, but in the workplace, because if you don't invest in them, they're always going to be looking for their next best.

And so you have to, almost like what we just talked about with the patient experience, you have to customize the employee experience as well. Because some people are already self managing. If you start over managing them, you're going to run them off. Other people are used to being dependent on somebody else for making all the decisions.

And if you don't nurture them to be decisive and confident and develop their skills and mindset, then you're going to run the top team member off too, right? So it's... Understanding how to build teams and grow people it used to be a, would be nice to have that skill, but now it's mission critical.

Cause you're just going to have churn if you don't figure it out. So, that's a bit of a tangent of what we were just talking about, but to anchor that or bring that back home full cycle, I think understanding. How to get the best out of your people and making sure that your people understand, they really have three jobs, right?

first job is to be good at their job, whatever that is, scheduler again, financial arrangements, dental assisting. The second job is to be a great teammate because if you're really productive and a toxic team member, then it's a no go. You're going to make the other people worse at their job. Like we were just talking about.

And the third part is to grow. And it's the interesting thing about leadership is it's good for all people to grow. It feels fulfilling when we're expanding our capacities and capabilities. But that said, even though it's good for us, that most people will dig their heels in a little bit. So you have to build that into the culture of what are you going to focus on in the next 90 days?

How are you going to get better? How can I support that? How can I be. How can I provide you the tools and training to get there? because if you get in any signs of status quo in this radically changing world, then it'll start to pass you by. And to me, that's the most dangerous thing of all is thinking what got us here will get us there.

The big word that's getting kicked around in corporate circles is radically adaptable. And then there's like the laws of physics involved, right? An object in motion tends to stay in motion. The object at rest tends to stay at rest. And if you let your people rest on their heels and aren't telling them, like, part of your job is to get better at your job, then bad things happen.

The consequences are too great for me.

Michael: Yeah. So then. In, in this time where you're, if you can recall, like when you're busy, right, you're dealing with an employee, you're dealing with the patient, you're dealing with your own CE, right? Your own family, all this stuff. How can we tell what are the like marks of, Oh, they've been status quo for a minute now.

Like they've been just, I don't know if they're, they're going down or up. You know what I mean? Like they just kind of passed by the radar because you're so boggled down with everything else.

David: I think what we're, if we go to the root cause here, I think we really have to focus on what are our priorities and I'll share with you my personal experience, um, kind of an extension of what we were talking about earlier.

That was about. Almost 10 years ago, where I had the family incident and the team mutiny and had to rebuild and then found out that it was a team member that was staying that created all the mayhem. in that churn, I noticed as I was rehiring for those positions that I wasn't getting as many applications as I used to.

And. It wasn't that we had a bad reputation. It was just when people left, they weren't leaving my practice to go to another practice. They were leaving town because of cost of living. So a lot of the supply and demand issues that are, people are experiencing now. I felt that a long time ago and. What I had to do was prioritize making, even over patient care, which is hard for me to say, but it was true.

I realized that if I didn't have a great team, I wasn't going to have that great patient experience. So I had to take that workplace environment and move it to the top of the list. What do I have to do to ensure that this is one of the best workplaces in town, not in dentistry, but again, facing competitors and banking and retail and hospitality.

And so we have to move that to the front. And if we've moved that to the front. To sustain this team and allow this team to grow and flourish. Then we make the time for immediate feedback each and every day. We build some of that feedback into the huddle system, so that they don't have a chance to drift.

And if they start to drift, that's when you start coaching them harder. And it's not to be mean, it's actually an act of kindness for the rest of the team to not let somebody pull down on the bar, like lower the standard when everyone else is raising the standard. So it's really our duty as employees, but you have a point, like there's 10, 000 things that we.

Can be doing, we just have to make sure we know what one, two, and three are. And then we never lose sight of those priorities because not doing it again means this cascade of turnover and drama and gossip and being on the reactive side of that I've experienced it. And I wouldn't recommend it. I would recommend staying on the proactive side and really build a team, really a team building machine that has a communication cadence daily.

Weekly, monthly, quarterly, uh, to make sure that people are always in momentum.

Michael: Gotcha. Okay. Now, a lot of the times, Dave, how do you think we should handle this? Like when we're, we want to like, we're new, right? Maybe we've been open for a year or something. And we're looking to grow, but, you know, employees are scarce, right?

Or, or just help is not as, uh, available as it used to. And you feel like you've created this beautiful workplace, but it's kind of like, they're like, oh, this is how much you can pay. Now I can get paid more at Bucky's, right? Or, oh, this is how much you're going to get paid. They're paying me more in and out or something.

Right. and you're just thinking it's only monetary. Like there's no way I can pay you that much. That's it's just, I don't have it. What do we do in that

David: scenario? It's funny. You say Bucky's cause I was just in Tennessee and they had this big sign out front, like 35 an hour for this 150, 000 for a night manager.

And I was like, wow, this is competitive. Yeah. It's a big deal. again, something that I experienced in my local market where the cost of living is really high and I had to do a frame shift, meaning I couldn't see a team member as an expense ever. Cause I'd look at my payroll costs and I'd look at my overhead percentages and the payroll costs as a part of those overhead percentages.

And I think, well, I'm way out of standard norms. But my alternative was also not having an employee and we have three columns full of hygiene and no hygienist. That's also a huge financial liability, not to mention a liability for your reputation and all these things you built up. So we have to look at them not to dehumanize people.

I love people and I literally believe that all humans have unlimited potential. Some of them want to step into that and some of them don't clearly, but. if I got the feel during the interview process, that somebody was looking for something different, they were looking for a true culture.

They were looking for more than just trading their time for my dollars. Then usually I was willing to invest in them and sometimes they came in really rough, meaning they didn't know a molar from a premolar They were rough around the edges, but they just didn't have any skills. And so we always started with customer service and said, the dental stuff will come from the reps.

Right. And. So if I have to pay somebody 30 an hour or 35 an hour, my immediate question is, how do I make this person worth 90 an hour to the organization, either three times their wage or four times their wage and. It's like that ever seen those Peter Thiel questions, like he'll say, what if I had to accomplish my five year goals in six months, or it's something that's like so mind breaking.

You're like, I, at first you're like, I can't, there's impossible, but if you sit with that for a while, you start to understand, like. Okay. If team overhead is say 33 percent and the rest of the overhead is 33%. So we're now at two thirds basically, right? And I'm getting 33%, which isn't an ideal dental practice.

But when you're starting out, it's not uncommon for these numbers to skew like that. You start to realize an hour of the team's time is equivalent to an hour of my time. And so if I can save an hour a day by delegation, if they can prevent work and worry, if I can optimize this practice by only doing the things that.

Require a dental license and then the high level CEU activities, you can hire all day. You just have to make sure that they're creating boundaries for you so that you're protected from decisions that you don't need to make. And then you, again, upskill them and train them up and up and up because the biggest risk in most of these situations is not having that person.

Gotcha. So. You don't want to hire a knee jerk and get a, you always want to hire for culture fit and values alignment easier said than done, but you at least want to be screening for that, but the market will tell you what you need to pay for an employee and some sort of notion like this isn't sustainable is sometimes too quick of a reaction because what's not sustainable is.

Bringing temps all the time and paying them 80 bucks an hour. What's not sustainable is your stress because you're onboarding a new person every two weeks. So there's a lot that goes into that, but I hope I've unpacked it enough that you have to like almost look at it like a fixer upper, like, okay, I'm getting this home for 260, 000.

What do I have to do to make it worth 400, 000? That's easy to. To dehumanize it and put it in, into real estate forms. But if you're a good leader and a team builder, you can help that person see parts of themselves, the potential that no one's ever unpacked. So now you're serving yourself, you're serving the team member, you're serving the patient and you're serving the team.

So that's the, we talk about a rare and valuable skill in this economy. It's that like being a builder of people and a unifier of teams. It almost solves for every other problem you have, your cashflow problems, your patient retention problems, your, I can't sleep tonight cause I'm too anxious problems.

Like if you focus on that team dynamic, a lot of the other things take care of itself. It's especially in a, economy and a society now where people aren't as loyal, where they're more likely to skip work because there's. Eight inches of powder on the mountain, or they have something better to do. You really want to create a system and a machine, meaning this culture that attracts top talent, and then also helps them understand that you can go looking for greener pastures, but you're unlikely to find it.

Michael: Interesting. I want to kind of rewind a little bit. You, you mentioned something with a team member. You said you don't want to overmanage them. How do you know when you are overmanaging someone?

David: That's a really good question, Michael. I think you have to make sure technical term is psychological safety.

That means no matter how long that you've spent at this practice, you No matter how much experience you have, no matter how loud you are or quiet, you are that all voices are need to be heard around here. So part of that, from a practice owner, you need to know, you need to ask them, like, what brings out the best in you.

And sometimes you have to take them back to, like, who was a boss that you felt like didn't know how to bring out the best in you? And what were they doing? And then don't do that, right? Because the awareness sometimes isn't there, so you have to unpack it slowly. But you also have to make sure that there's an open dialogue, that if they feel like you're taking away some of that autonomy unnecessarily, that they let you know that, hey, Doc, it really makes me feel XYZ when you do this.

And so it really has to be a dialogue and that psychological safety and. The open dialogue, the radical candor can only happen in an environment of high trust and high care. So the first job is to really give a damn about your people. And the second job is to make sure that they know that you have their best interests at heart.

Now, where that gets complicated is where you have the radically independent person who's incompetent, who really needs guidance and coaching and management, right? So you have to be able to flex in and out, engage your Conviction based on somebody's level of competency, and there's graceful ways of doing that, right?

It can be, uh, what's the marketing term? It can be a welcome guest or an annoying pest. Sometimes it's just a matter of your approach when you're managing those people. But it's not a one size fit all approach. And what happens sometimes is you have top performers that drift because they've got something going on at home with a spouse or a sick parent.

So you always have to be on your toes as a leader because there is no checklist or prescription for this. It's you being hyper aware and knowing that your number one job first job is to, is to role model away. So who are you when you come to work? Are you representing the brand? And then you have to teach them how to think, giving them frameworks in which this is how we operate.

This is how we take care of patients all from the surprise and delight thing to simple rules like No one sits in reception longer than five minutes or something like that with rare exception, and then you have to challenge them. And so that goes back full circle to what we were talking about earlier, about making sure that you're there for that graceful nudge to make sure that they're staying in momentum.

And when you do this right, it starts to look like a flywheel at first. It takes a lot of effort going back to your young dentist. It's like, I'll never figure this out. I've been there, but over time. You start understanding how the mechanism really works, and it takes less and less management from you.

You can't be hands off. Because all organizations will drift if there isn't somebody to tend to the belief system, the vision, the mission, but over time, it should get easier and people should be really good about getting work and worry off your plate. So you can focus on that coist training or the ortho training or all that stuff that really is going to pay the bills, but you're too busy doing 20 an hour stuff, cleaning up messes, putting out fires.

Living in the tyranny of the urgent, all those sorts of things, that's, we have to evacuate the doctor from that so that they recover that freedom and realize, okay, now my career is what I thought it would be in the early stages. Gotcha.

Michael: Awesome, David. I appreciate it. ask mainly that question because I feel like that's a lot of the times we... Maybe we do that and maybe we're giving too much autonomy to someone who doesn't need it. Right. It's like, Oh, you're not doing anything kind of thing. Right. But just looking busy. And then there's sometimes where it's like, cause of that, maybe we've been scarred.

We do that with people who don't need it. Right. We're like, okay, wait, no, trust me. You're going to be, and we kind of push that on them. Like you need this type of guidance and all this stuff. Although they need guidance, everybody. Right. But it's more like. You're micromanaging now, right? And then that can be, heavy.

You're just like, ah, you don't really believe me. You don't trust me or, I don't

David: know, I can go further than that. Another component that really needs to be plugged in here that we should talk about is peer to peer coaching. You have to make sure that your environment is feedback rich and it's not just top down.

It's not just the senior people down. It really is this environment where everyone's trying to get better. And they all are human and humble enough to know that there's blind spots. I remember one day... I have a pretty small space, less than 1200 square feet. And so the sterilization was right across from op two and we did the whole Disney thing.

This is front stage. This is backstage. These are things that we only talk about backstage, but there was some personal stuff being talked about in hygiene and the hygienist with her patient, the chair heard it. And I didn't have to address it because she addressed it. She let it be known that, hey, it was really awkward for me being around that patient and hearing about that your Saturday night or whatever.

And, and, uh, and sterilization. And she said, that's not how we do things around here. And so ultimately you need to set the standard, but it needs to be pleased by more than just you. In fact, with my clients now, I'm building out unity councils, which is an internal leadership team to make sure that, Hey, there's a keeper of the culture.

Even when the doctor is heads down looking for another canal and an upper first molar for a root canal, there's keepers of the culture all the time, and it's not this environment where. when the cats away, the mice will play that's most environment. So you have to build in these fail safes and it all goes back to building trust and rapport one on one on one on one and making sure that you never take that for granted.


Michael: man. I think I'd feel like. If I wasn't in the office and I saw, dude, like maybe like a camera, I heard like one of my employees or somebody say, like, that's not how we do things around here, but oh my gosh, like, this is amazing, you know?

David: Her name was Sam. I called her my sheriff. Yeah, that's good. There were certain standards, like we had our mission, our vision, our values, and then certain non negotiables.

And if somebody crossed that line, I was rarely the person that had to move them and remind them. Um, usually the nudge was done by Sam or somebody else.

Michael: Yeah. And so now today, how can someone introduce that peer to peer coaching, uh, within their team? Let's just say like somebody, one of our listeners are listening right now and they're like, I love this.

I'm going to do it in our team meeting tomorrow. I'm going to say peer to peer coaching. Is that how it just kind of works or?

David: No, no, it's a process, because this stuff is so valuable, it takes some time and this is where I kind of advocate playing favorites as a leader. Like you have to know the people who are committed organically to the practice.

And the more of those people you get on board, the easier it is, but it's not going to be a all in type environment. It's just not how change typically works. I did a bunch of training and executive coaching. And if you go into a big organization, like say I bought your big company and I'm coming in as the new CEO or the turnaround guy or whatever it is, I.

Immediately make the assumption that there are going to be a third of the team that's on board a third of the team. That's off board. They're going to be resistant. They're going to hate whatever ideas I come up with, even if it's good for them. And then there's the neutral third that could tip in either dimension.

So I want to know always who are my loyalists who believe in what we're doing here? And I bring them in real close. I make sure I understand their ideas. I make sure that they're my feedback mechanism because I can't see or hear everything that happens in the practice. Not that they're informants, but they're the keepers of the flame, so to speak.

If you get that rock solid, those people in the middle third will usually get on board because they they're not negative. They just aren't real leaders yet. And so what you're doing is understanding that. Leadership isn't about creating followers. It's about creating other leaders. And then that bottom third, they have an option to get on board or get out of the way.

And sometimes you have to be that clear in the language where you start coaching them. And if coaching them isn't working, then you start telling them if they still don't maintain the standard, then you have to collide with them and say, Hey, listen, like, you know, either through your, verbal warning or written warning process.

Like if you can't play at this level, you can't play this game. And so it's a tricky process, but you have to start infusing that into your culture. My, my team called it, uh, welcoming feedback. It was one of the core tenants of our operation and I didn't come up with it. They came up with it. So they wanted an environment where they felt like they could give me feedback.

They could feel comfortable with me giving them feedback in real time on the fly. But. Hygienists would say, Hey, listen to the assistants. It would work better with the flow. If you did this or scheduling might give feedback because ultimately we're innovating all the time, right? Peter Drucker said that a business, because the purpose of a business is to create a customer, there are only two real functions, which are marketing and innovation.

All the rest are just costs. So if you have that peer to peer coaching going on all the time, you're finding these little friction points, you're finding these little frustrations, and you're turning those into innovations. So that's the magic of what happens when you start doing peer to peer coaching, where everybody is a coach and also a, you know, a coachee. Um, but it's, I'm not, I'm not going to lie to you and say it's simple. We have to build it from the ground up. And that starts with. One on one conversations, make sure the standard is clear. Some of that standard is an obvious standard, like things that you can see, things that you can measure, but a lot of it is an emotional standard.

Like what are the core values here? What is the behavioral standard emotionally here? And one of the things that my team came up with was, was out loud laughter. And when we put it on the board, I was like, okay, I'll concede. Like, that sounds good. And then I'd sit in the hallway and I could hear laughter from four operators and I'm like, Wow.

Like that's creating trust. That's creating experience. That's creating value. So sometimes I don't think we really get the best ideas for our organization because we think we have all the ideas, but when you allow some of that, um, self managing team and stop trying to create followers and start to create leaders, Amazing stuff that you can't expect really starts to happen.


Michael: Nice, Dave. Awesome, man. I appreciate your time. Any final pieces of advice that you want to give to our listener?

David: Yeah. if I were going to give an advice to listener, assuming that you're in a situation that's probably a little uncomfortable because most doctors are, one, know that it's normal.

Because dentistry is hard. Being an entrepreneur is hard. Some of you are parents, that's hard. And you're never, ever, ever going to negotiate the standard. You want to be excellent at all of them. So you're probably feeling guilty that you don't exercise enough, or you don't sleep enough, or you don't socialize enough, or you don't spend enough time doing this or that.

So my words of advice would be get rid of the guilt and shame. Um, and just get better because when I look around the landscape, dentistry is really a golden ticket. Meaning like if you can do a good job at dentistry, you can get a great associateship. If you can be a good entrepreneur and a great leader, you can create any lifestyle that you want.

And that's, you know, to make what a dentist make, you might have to be a high level exec working 80 or 90 hours a week, flying all over the place. So don't lose sight of that golden ticket that you have. And also make sure that. Whatever path you're following isn't somebody else's vision and version of success.

Because I see a lot of dentists want to be the next, this doc or that doc. And ultimately, you know what your path is. So don't be afraid to be an N of one and customize it completely to what you want. You can do whatever procedures you want. You can see whatever kind of patients you want. You can take. In network, out of network.

Some of these things you can see it early, but you can build into it as you build up your reputation and skills. But the paralleling craft to your clinical craft will always be leadership. Because if you can lead yourself, you can lead a team. And if you can lead a team, you can lead your patients to better healthcare.

So, that would be my parting shot for you.

Michael: Awesome. So, if anyone has any further questions or concerns or wants to reach out to Dave, Dave, where can they find you?

David: Well, I release a weekly podcast, it's called the Relentless Dentist. It's been around for about a decade now. Hard to say that. So there's lots of episodes and content free of charge there.

If you want to get to know me better, I just created a dentist to send quiz. It's a video quiz. That's designed to help you reveal the hidden potential in your dental practice. I can give you a link to that or they can find it on my website and my social media on Instagram. Um, so I'm not as Deon Sanders would say, I'm not hard to find.

Michael: Yeah, I know that's awesome. So that's all going to be in the show notes below. So definitely go check them out. And Dave, thank you so much for being with us. It's been a pleasure and we'll hear from you soon.

David: Michael, thanks so much. You're a great host.

Michael: Thank you so much for tuning into this episode and thank you Dave for being a part of the podcast. Again, really insightful, wonderful advice that you always bring to the audience, you the listener. So we really, really appreciate. If you want to ask him any questions or concerns, you can definitely do so by joining our free Facebook group, The Dental Marketer Society.

And there you can talk with any of the guests that you've heard in the past or myself and, uh, interact with more of our listeners. Or if you want, you can go in the show notes below, look for Dave's name and click on the links and just reach out to him directly ask him any questions or concerns there. But we appreciate you tuning in and Dave, thank you so much again for being part of the podcast. Now, are you dreaming about having that wonderful, engaging Instagram, or it's Facebook or it's your TikTok presence, right? For your pediatric practice? Seriously, let's turn that into a reality.

And one of the first steps you want to do is you want to start with understanding your patient's families. It's a game changer for your Instagram engagement. And in the Pediatric Dental Marketing course, which is a course created by Manal Sampat and myself, both of us, we teach you exactly how to create and grow with a purpose.

your Instagram. Among many other things, that's one of the things we teach you. But lately we have received a lot of marketing questions on Instagram for pediatric practices. So I wanted to show you exactly what we cover. Now, when it comes to what's inside the Pediatric Dental Marketing course specifically for Instagram, we talk about Literally from the beginning to the end, how to get your bio getting started, your Instagram stories, the ideas you need to start implementing the insights that you need to look for on Instagram, the QR code and the saved content, how the algorithm works, what posts you need to do.

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This is just a little sliver of what's covered. When it comes to Instagram in the pediatric dental marketing course, you'll dive into 30 plus units covering modern marketing basics, digital basics, digital marketing, social media marketing. And of course. I helped create the course. We also talk about ground marketing strategies, ensuring you're not just attracting, but deeply connecting with your community.

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Discover how enjoyable and rewarding marketing can be. And watch your pediatric dental practice flourish both online and in your community. So click the first link in the show notes below and see what this course has done and is doing for other pediatric practice owners. And at the same time, click the link If you just want to be nosy and see everything that's included inside of this course, which we continue to add to it, right? Every single month. And we have our monthly office hours where you, me and Manal sit together. Once a month, and we talk strategy and we talk how we can improve your practice. If you want to see all that, just click on the first link in the show notes below and you're able to look into the pediatric dental marketing course a little bit more.

And if it's a good fit for you, we would love to see you in there. So click on the first link in the show notes below to check it out more for pediatric practices only. Awesome. So thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I really appreciate you and I'll talk to you in the next episode.