MME: The Spoiled Dental Team? Your Secret Weapon for Practice Growth | Shawn Peers

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Show Notes

Do you want show employee appreciation, but your budget feels tight when it comes time for bonuses? Join us in this fascinating episode, as we sit down with Shawn Peers, an expert in dental team dynamics, to discover the powerful impacts of spoiling your dental team with direction. In an industry often focused on patient care and latest dental technology, the importance of strong team dynamics, onboarding procedures, and continuous professional development is often overlooked. Shawn shares his insights on how aligning these aspects transforms your practice, resulting in increased morale, productivity, and ultimately profit.

Swim against the current with Shawn as he dismantles common misconceptions that hold dental practices back from investing time in improving systems. Shawn stresses on slowing down to build solid foundations for your team, using tools like comprehensive onboarding processes that focus on training and building confidence in new staff members. The importance of fostering a culture of growth and continuous improvement within your practice is highlighted, with the instigation of dedicated team meetings to openly discuss issues and develop solutions.

What You'll Learn in This Episode:

  • The significant impact of directing and empowering your dental team
  • The power of comprehensive and confidence-building onboarding processes
  • Breaking down barriers to developing effective systems within your practice
  • The importance of continuous improvement and fostering a culture of growth
  • The value of implementing dedicated team meetings for issue resolution and solution development
  • Handling team dynamics and maintaining a harmonious work environment

Tune into our conversation, as we delve into the heart of successful dental practice management. You wouldn't want to miss out on these game-changing strategies to inspire and empower your team!

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey, Shawn, so talk to us. What's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday morning?

Shawn: Hey, Michael, thanks for having me. But a one piece of advice and I'm going to give you one that sometimes gets me a little trouble when I say it right off the bat, because dentists give me kind of a screwed up face.

Look, when I say it, I tell them. Don't be afraid to spoil your teams. And these days, you know, I kind of think you want to strike terror into the heart of the dentist, like post COVID, tell them that the key is they need to spoil their teams. Cause they're going to look at you and say, man, you didn't pay attention to what happened after COVID now, did you?

You've seen how salaries have gone crazy. pay them enough. We can't keep them long enough. They just bounce around. They don't want to work as hard. They want easier work hours. They don't want to work any evenings at all. And you're sitting there telling me that the key to my success is going to be spoiling my team.

You're nuts. You're just nuts. And I say, let me tell you a story and tell you a story about this one doctor who was going through all the same things that you're going through post COVID. And I talked to him about the importance of making sure you spoil your team, but you spoil them with direction. The key to it is, is you don't just spoil them and, and you know, like we've, we've heard all the talk about, Hey, if you want to keep team members on these, they've got to feel engaged.

They've got to be feeling empowered. And I believe that a hundred percent, but you still need them to feel engaged and empowered To do what you want them to do. You can't tell them what they want to do. Cause you tell them they're just going to go. No one wants to be told what to do.

So you, what you got to do is you've got to figure out how to allow them to do what you want them to do. So you've got to spoil them in the way that will encourage them that way. And a big part of that, what this dentist figured out, what he was really struggling with, same thing that everyone was. Team members were leaving.

Someone else down the street was offering another 5, 10 an hour more. Gone. So he understood, look, I got to be competitive, right? I can't, you know, underpay people. The market has changed and I have to respond to that. But that's not keeping people loyal. So he embarked on this whole new onboarding system.

And he spoiled them with the training. That gave them the confidence that they could come in and do their jobs in a relatively stress free environment because too often when we bring on new team members into the dental world, we just say Here's your desk. Here's your operatory. Have fun. you have any questions, just ask.

There's your onboarding process. So this dentist has embarked on something where he doesn't even have anybody doing any solid work for two weeks. If they're a hygienist, they don't see a patient for two weeks. If they're an admin team member, they don't answer a phone for two weeks. The first week he has them just going over policy and procedures manuals.

He has them doing Phone training, both for their video tutorials and, and one to one with a service that he's contracted out with. he does the same thing with his practice management system. Brings in all the video tutorials for them and also one to one training. That's the first week. The second week they come into the office, they're starting to do things, but mostly on an observation level.

Occasionally showing a little bit about what they do. It's only after that second week that he starts to kind of unleash them. And he's got the happiest team he's ever had, while his colleagues around him are still complaining that people are leaving left, right, and center, and it's a, you know, it's just this musical chairs with one day they've got a team member, the next they don't.

He's like, I got a full compliment. And they're happy. They're trained. They know what it is they're doing. They're not stressed trying to figure it out. So, he's spoiled them, but he's spoiled them in a way that he's given them the direction he wants them to go in, and he can now feel comfortable that he is allowing them to do what he wants them to do.

That's how you spoil

Michael: them. Gotcha. Okay. So then, that's spoiling with direction. I know you mentioned allow them to do what they want you to do. What you want them to do. Yeah. What you want them to do. Would that be? I guess so slowness plays part of that. It looks like it's a slow process, right? Because I feel like if you're like bringing somebody on, you're like, I need someone hygienist, right?

Come on. Like, I need you to start working at least within the second week. How can we combat that feeling of I need you to hurry up? And, and I need you to come on for what I hired you for to, all right, take your time. And you know,

Shawn: I mean, that's a psychological barrier know, we're just sort of geared in the world of dentistry that, you know, we don't take time out to really try to improve systems because anytime we do that, that means we're not producing.

And the dentists that I've talked to that feel they've gotten to where they've, they've You know, not necessarily where they need to be, but they're in a better spot than where they would be. Otherwise, they've said they had to recognize that it meant taking a step back for a little while, and you do have to be prepared to look at it and say, okay, it means I got to shut down for certain meetings.

Then we'll shut down. It's better to do that than try to cram a meeting into a lunch hour where people might be paying attention for 30 minutes, and that's not enough time to actually solve any issues that we might be wanting to discuss. So no resolutions are ever arrived at. We talk and we talk and nothing gets solved.

So then the next people next thing you know, people are like, why bother with the meeting and they're tuned out for the whole thing anyway. So yeah, you take a little bit of less production that day, but the idea is to build it up so that it becomes more sustainable down the road. And that's what these dentists that are doing that figured out.

You do have to be prepared to slow down. You do have to be prepared to train people. I can put somebody in to answer the phones today. I could put a hygienist in and not really introduce that person to the practice and where they're going to find everything and how we operate and how to put, notes into, into the computer system in the proper format, where we want them, all that kind of stuff.

But I'm always going to be having to compensate for what I haven't shown that person, how I want things done. So yes, in the short term, It might seem like it's better than not having somebody in there at all because you're training them. But then when they get going, when they hit the ground running, they're able to go faster.

They're able to learn new things quicker because the foundation's been set for them. And they are able to actually maintain that higher level of production for you going forward.

Michael: I like that now. So when it comes to the retaining part, so let's just say we did that. We did the two weeks we onboarded them and it was fantastic.

They love it. Now, where do you see, we need to start taking it slow again, or do we even need to start taking it slow again with our team?

Shawn: to the extent that look we we still are always looking to improve our processes And that means we are going to have team meetings. Maybe we'll have a monthly team meeting.

I'm a firm believer set the time aside and book at least two hours You know, never mind trying to squeeze it in for an hour at lunch. I've seen too many offices try to do that. Just doesn't work. You can't get the time in. So block off a good two hours, allow people, you know, a few minutes to get there because people are going to be late depending on when they excuse their last patient, they want to have a minute to wash up.

If they need to clean up their operatory a little bit, deal with the instruments, get there, get a little bit of their lunch into them, say hi. And then you can start the meeting, you know, say 20 minutes or so into, into that time slot and then hold your meeting for an hour and 15 minutes or so, and then recognize it.

Okay. Out of that, about that point in time, it's getting to say, let's say 20 to two. Now we're coming up on our two hour mark and people are starting to think about their two o'clock patients. So. Give them time again. So it's not so much that you're going slow, but you are going to be prepared to say, if we are serious about being in a state of continuous improvement, we do have to take a step back even for that moment, even for that one day a month.

But if it helps us deal with open time, let's say, let's say that's a problem and you can come up with a solution that works better. You've identified what the issue is, and now you can bring everybody on board because you're talking about it and you're developing the policy that will help. Correct that issue.

You'll fill in more open time. You'll make up for it. You'll more than make up for it. So it's not that you stay slow indefinitely. You'll have a period where, okay, we're going to take a pause today, but it's a productive pause because we're working on the business as a team. But we're not, you know, we don't, it's not that we want to just sort of be cushy and say, hey, don't work hard.

We still, we still have expectations. We're still going to hold people accountable. But you spoil them in the right way and give them the tools and give them the expectations. A lot of times holding people accountable is easier than you think. People kind of get it in their heads. They think, oh, that's a hard conversation.

Somebody didn't do the job well. And it's a hard conversation if you never set out the expectations. So the person's going, what? But if they knew what was expected and you gave them the training, they're kind of expecting and they kind of know if they fell short and you have to hold them accountable. So that's an easier conversation when you set the table properly.

Michael: Gotcha. Now, have you ever seen this, uh, Sean, where people are spoiling their team, they feel like they're doing everything they can, but they're just not happy still.

Shawn: Are you talking about the team now or

Michael: yeah, the team, the team, like the team is like maybe they're. You spoil them. You feel like you're doing everything right as a practice owner, but then the team is not.

They're still calling the shots that you almost feel like, ah, they're the ones who are the boss and I have to come to work for them and I have to bend over backwards for them.

Shawn: you're doing it the right way, as a general rule, no, there are going to be occasional team members where they're just, Hey, you can't stop spoiling me.

And, and those are ones that, you know, People have to recognize that and They're not just going to be impacting you. They're not just going to be impacting your production They're going to be impacting the other team members and occasionally that does mean We have to extend an invitation for that person to find their dental home in another location And that's okay.

If as a team there still seems to be an issue Then sometimes what that takes is figuring out. Okay, we've got a disconnect here because I think i've Really pulled all the right strings here. what's going on? So, you know, you have to be open to having a frank dialogue and saying team I've been trying to do this what's happening people don't seem to be responding sometimes that becomes a conversation that I get involved with working with clients and teams because the dentists They're uncomfortable having it.

They don't see it. The team is uncomfortable saying it to the dentist, but if they can build trust in a third party, you become that intermediary that can sort of bridge that gap for them a little bit. So I've certainly seen that happen. And it's just usually it's that issue that, what I thought I've communicated, you didn't hear.

And that old idea that if you're not hearing what I'm saying, it makes it pretty tough to lead.

Michael: Yeah.

Shawn: So we just have to solve that communication problem. If there's an honest effort being made. By both sides, then it's always solvable, in my opinion.

Michael: Awesome. So Shawn, where can people find you if they have any questions or concerns or anything like that?

Shawn: You can reach out to me at Sean, S H A W N at dental peers dot C A D E N T A L P E E R S dot C A. That's one way you can just drop me an email, me a call, 613 867 8502, call or text. check me out at dentalpeers. com. www. dentalpeers. ca. Learn a little bit more about some of the crazy things I like to do to help the world of dentistry.

Michael: Awesome, Sean. I appreciate you and everything you're doing at Dental Peers as well. We really appreciate you. And thank you so much for being with me on this Monday morning episode.

Shawn: Appreciate it. The time. Thanks so much. great to be here, Michael.