Ever wonder how leading your dental practice with a positive culture and strong financial awareness can result in enhanced patient care and increased profitability? In this episode, I engage in a thought-provoking conversation with seasoned dentist, Dr. Paul Goodman. We delve into Paul's extraordinary journey, highlighting how engaging a people coach early in his career spurred the creation of a positive work environment and nurtured accountability among his team. However, Paul candidly admits to an overlooked aspect – a keen focus on the numbers – and stresses the value of having a professional guide the financial trajectory of the dental practice.
As the conversation deepens, we examine the boundaries of third-party software and its ability to interpret data, advocating the need for an unbiased coach or consultant. Dr. Goodman clearly illustrates the pivotal role of a balanced approach towards managing both the people and profit aspects of your dental practice. And how, as an incredible ripple effect, this can significantly transform the patient-care experience while amplifying profits. He concludes by sharing practical advice on maintaining consistency with essential practices like morning huddles and team meetings, and the importance of reverting back to basic principles to deliver excellent patient care.
What You'll Learn in This Episode:
Tune into this episode now and learn how to lead your dental practice to its utmost potential!
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Michael: Hey Paul, so talk to us. What's one piece of advice you can give us this Monday morning?
Paul: Thanks for asking me that. It's really such a great question. As a medium aged dentist, so I'm going to graduate in 2002. One thing I, I, there's this list my coach taught me, Michael, keep doing, start doing and stop doing.
So one thing that I am glad I did early in my career earlier than most dentists was I hired a people coach. I hired a team management coach. I was very into creating a culture. that I knew how to run it. I knew how to manage people. I knew how to develop accountability, and I will forever be grateful for both that coach and myself.
I'll give myself credit for paying attention to the morale of the people that work in our dental office. The piece of advice that I wish I did that I did not do was I did not hire someone to take a hard look at the numbers inside of my dental practice. I was much more into feelings. I worked with my amazing dad.
Uh, who is a fantastic mentor and friend, passed away in 2016, um, another person I'll forever be grateful to. But his generation of dentists, they're kind of like, ah, we take some insurance, keeps us busy, you know, and we were, I was not paying attention to the write offs, the adjustments. We were making excuses and I wish, Michael, that I paid more attention to the numbers earlier in my career.
So that I could have been more patient centered, more profitable, been able to have a better work life balance. So that is my advice. it might not be me who said this, Michael, but when you pay, you pay attention, right? So pay someone to help you look at how numbers and money works inside of your practice.
I'm now friends with the amazing Dr. Mark Kostas, he's sponsored my group. I wish I'd cross paths with someone like that back in 2007. These things did not exist. I miss so many of these dentists. I sound like the media mage guy. Michael, but you're so lucky to have this. I had to walk uphill both ways to school in the snow back in my early dental days, but there were no Facebook groups, no podcasts, no Instagram, no amazing things like this.
So that's my advice. Pay someone to help you pay attention to your numbers as early as possible in your practice ownership journey.
Michael: What about when you see these, I guess, like third party software companies, right? That they're like, yeah, we can take your analytics. We figure everything out. Is that good enough?
Paul: I would say it's a, it's a start, but two things. You have these fancy watches, right? It could tell you how you sleep. It could tell you you're drinking enough water, but you need someone to interpret it. You need someone to guide you. So I think by It is. It is a step in the right direction. Like when people use my fitness pal and track what they eat each day, it's a step in the right direction to track.
But the end part to that is you just need someone who's not part of your business, not emotionally invest in your business, who can come in and help you with the reality of what happens. Maybe you're doing better in an area than you thought. Maybe you're doing, more profit than one section of, I don't know, your implant dentistry, but your hygiene, there's too many write offs because you take too many PPO.
So I like software that helps you track, my group, and I would just put the and part and get a coach or consultant who can help you interpret it. Gotcha. And
Michael: now rewind a little bit. You mentioned about you hired a people's coach. for what, for like the team or what is that all about?
Paul: Yeah, well, when I joined my dad and his partner, they were two awesome guys, but they went to dental school, they did the Air Force and Army. My dad was, worked at Tom McCann's, the shoe store. They had no training on how to manage people. So there were no systems with even how people showed up, what people wore to work.
There was a lot of friction, a lot of drama in the office. I do want to give a shout out to teams. I now have four businesses, two dental practices, dental nachos, dentists, job connect, and. You are literally shoulder to shoulder with your team like I am all day, and there's a lot of stress with that.
There's a lot of friction in a dental office, and it's normal, right? People go, you know, I treat my office like family, like family. I go, Oh, you fight three days into your vacation like my family does too? Because You've got to honor the team in this. We are like so close to each other all day long playing this game physically, dental nachos.
I've got people on zoom over here. So I want to share that if you don't master or at least learn how to manage the people part of your team, you know, just as simple as this, like if four people show up on time and two people don't. The four people go, why should I show up on time? So I met the amazing Carol Kivler, Kivler Communications.
She's still someone I know today. And I said, I said to her as a kid, I would ask a question. I go, what do you do, Mrs. Kivler? And she goes, I teach people how to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And I said, I'll never forget when she said that to me as a seventh grader. I said, what does that mean?
She basically went to a community college and she would teach people about communications. And she would have bread and peanut butter and jelly. And she said, teach me how to make this sandwich. And they'd say, open the bread and she'd rip it open and half would fall on the floor. She goes, what next? She goes, put on some peanut butter.
She'd take her whole hand in the peanut butter and slap. She goes like this. And it just showed how it's easy to not be able to communicate your message to people. So she did a whole year training for us, with the team. And what was really magical about that, Michael, it gives me chills to this day, is when I, you know, this was invest a lot of time and money, right?
This is 2010. So this is not 2024. So we. took a day off a week. We paid our team. We paid her. And I got these amazing messages from the team at that time that said, thank you so much, Dr. Paul, for bringing in Carol Kivler. Not only did this help me in my profession here at the office as a hygienist, it helped me with my relationships with my family.
It helped me with my sister because the same skills are used and made people like, you know what? I am kind of a jerk to people. I didn't even know it. I do. I'm too reactive. We talk about putting deposits in people's emotional bank account. Recognize behavior is repeated. People don't argue with their own decisions.
You know, people say, Michael, about coaching. Sometimes people say, I don't need a coach. It's just common sense, right? All coaches do teach common sense, right? people have apps in their phone to remind them to drink water, right? you can't remember to drink water. Maybe it's common sense, but having accountability for these things in a group.
So that was the people coach and I'm, I would encourage both pay attention to the people part. And the profit part, because these are private practices and when your profitability, patient centered care is always the most important, profitability one egg. The more money you make, the more freedom you have.
You can give your team raises, you can invest in new equipment. There's so many things more profit can give you. It doesn't mean so the owner of the dentist can buy their third beach house. It can mean so many things that are amazing to everyone in the office, patient's team and the practice owner.
Michael: Gotcha. Okay. So then real quick, how do you stay consistent with these two practices and teachings? Because I feel like you can, you know, you go to a CE course, you take some of your team members, they're on a high, they're like, yeah, we're going to do this. And then like a month, two months later, you're just, they're like, let's be real guys.
Stuff is happening. We can't do that right now. How do you go
Paul: back to that? So really good is one is, It's expecting perfection is just a way to be miserable in anything that you do, whether you're a parent, whether you're working out, whether you're a practice owner, but being consistent and always trying to return to fundamentals.
So one thing we have, we have morning huddles, it's a non negotiable morning huddles, team meetings. I give my brother, Jeff Goodman, Dr. Jeff, I'm going to a ton of credit. We have, um, checklist that we use each day and we strive our best. I tell people to say, don't try, say strive, right? Sounds better. So we strive our best and listen, when we go off script or something happens, you know, that is not the way we expected.
How do we get back on track? So we have. Accountability measures like actual checklists, morning huddles, consistent team meetings. I will share in the most authentic way I've been a dentist like this. Most things that dentists think are a waste of money, like having their team sit down for a team meeting, is what's costing them money.
When dentists don't think I can take a day out of my office because I can't cancel hygiene to go and learn something new at a CE course, that's costing them money. And it's normal to get stuck. In your own habits rut so negative michael just normally get stuck in your own bubble I mean i'm in my office today.
We have we literally have like five dentists here today. It's still lonely It's I mean, we have five dentists. We have a prosthodontist. We have uh, no four dentists, you know Me two other gps. It's like we're in our own little caves, right? Get out of your cave learn from other people So i'm always saying, you know, it's a it's a mark costas quote He says, uh, the number of uncomfortable conversations willing to have Determines your success in life.
I don't know if he made it up or not. And that you gotta have some uncomfortable conversations with people We went out of network with insurance two years ago. That was a big uncomfortable conversation I'm, not saying people should do that tomorrow But pay attention to what some of these plans are paying you so you can maximize your own happiness Yeah,
Michael: man, that's so tough though paul sometimes like to get out of your own You know, I mean to say we're gonna not do two days of work, which is money coming in Instead we're gonna have a team meeting and sit down and then I feel like if you are debating that How much faith do you have in your team, then?
You know what I mean? It kind of And also
Paul: I'll share, I love, you're right, it is hard. But here's the thing the pandemic has shown us. If I think of my office day, in this moment, I'm in my dental office. I'd say 20 percent of the people worked here before the pandemic, just 20%. That means there's like 80 percent new people.
So you need these team meetings and accountability measures because somebody moves to freaking Napa Valley and quits dentistry. Hygienist decides to stay home with their children. Somebody's not the right fit for your office. So for you to be able to deliver awesome patient care, always number one. And be productive as possible, one a, you need to put the pieces in place and you need these training things.
I don't, Oh, this is one thing I want to share if I have time. So I had this awesome coach, Mark Dorio, who's also one of my implant patients. He signed all the HIPAA releases. I'm not going to get in trouble. And he talked about this. Um, Andy Reed used to be the coach of the Eagles. He's now the Kansas city chiefs coach.
And he came and give a lecture to my study club years ago. And he says, during the week, Andy Reed trains the players. On Sunday, he coaches them. There's a difference between coaching and training. And too often, dentists just do the coaching during the day. And the team meetings and the morning huddles, that's the training you need to perform well during these dental days.
So many times, dental offices just show up and play the game, try to fix their problems during the game. And we've seen this, whether it's the NFL or your dental office, you need these outside the game training days. Man,
Michael: that's good. That's really brilliant,
Paul: Paul. Awesome. Awesome. Well, they give Mark Doyo credit.
He's the one who came up with it, but I, I, I copy, uh, smart people's ideas. And I really think about that. If you're listening, coaching and training are two different things. You cannot train during the game. You can only coach. So make sure you make time for training. Nice.
Michael: Awesome. I appreciate your time, Paul.
If anyone has further questions or concerns, where can they reach out
Paul: to you? Well, first I want to say to you, uh, Guac Grateful is the highest level of thanks for doing things like this. I learned so much from podcasts every day on the treadmill, at the gym, walking around and listening to things like Entrepreneur on Fire, dental podcasts.
So just creating this, Michael, you should be very proud of yourself for doing this because it's awesome. And people can reach out to me at dental nachos. com or Dennis job connect. com. I would love to connect with you. Always say the mission of dental nachos is ABC to FLA. Always be connecting to feel less alone.
So I'd love to make a new friend with your audience.
Michael: Awesome. So guys, that's going to be in the show notes below and Paul, thank you so much for being with me on this Monday morning episode. My