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4 of the Best Team Building Practices | Dental Insurance Training

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Your team is vital to the success of your practice. Working in a positive atmosphere is sure to keep every member motivated for long-term success. The opposite is also true. If you have noticed your team’s synergy slipping, it may stem from a lack of communication. Here are three proven ways shared by our dental practice consultant to boost your team’s morale and work ethic.

Know your work style

To lead a successful team, you must be aware of how you work as a leader. Understanding your leadership techniques and styles will help you tailor your techniques to your team’s needs. Don’t be afraid to be critical of yourself and continue to look for new ways to improve.

Get to Know Your Team

Get to know your team members on a more personal level (while always keeping things professional). Learn their strengths and growth areas and understand what they expect out of you as a leader. This will make them feel heard and feel invested in one another, you, and the practice as a whole. It also helps to define roles and responsibilities clearly.

Delegate According to Strength

When you get to know your team members as individuals, you will have a better understanding of how to delegate tasks. This gives you the opportunity to clearly define each member’s roles and responsibilities around the office. Giving a clear vision to each member will allow them to make strides in their respective areas.

Give Constructive Feedback

Employees like to know how they are doing on the job. Remember to give them plenty of feedback on where they excel and how they can improve. Be tactful in making corrections, tailor your feedback to how they best receive it, and always be conscious of celebrating their successes.

Leaders are only as successful as their teams. Appreciate who they are as individuals and you will appreciate what they do as employees. They will respect and appreciate you on a personal and professional level, too, if you play to their strengths and deliver feedback in an affirming way. If you are looking for help with management, team-building techniques, or you need help improving your practice, contact our dental consultants in Fort Worth today and speak with one of our highly experienced consulting professionals.

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What to Do About a Chronically Late Team Member | Fort Worth Dental Consultant

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Our dental practice consultants see this all too often. The daily team meeting has begun and you realize that one of your seasoned staff members is missing. To the best of your recollection, this is the fourth time that they have been late to a morning huddle in the past three weeks. As you go through the agenda for the meeting you suddenly notice that the tardy employee has quietly snuck into the back of the room. Their arrival is now greeted with subtle head shakes and sighs from around the room. Clearly the entire staff has now become aware of this problem. How do you address this issue with your team members?

Employees who are chronically late to work can reduce the overall productivity of your practice. It often lowers the morale and work ethic of other team members who might resent that the late arrivers aren’t getting reprimanded for their lack of respect for the schedule. It might even encourage other employees to show up late to work if they see no consequence for the detrimental behavior. Fortunately, there are actions that you can take to encourage your employee to correct their behavior.

1. Identify the Behavior

You have already recognized that your team member has developed a bad habit of showing up late for work. Not only are they missing out on portions of your morning huddle meetings, but their absence is starting to cause a noticeable delay in the patient schedule. The other members of your staff have also begun to voice their displeasure through verbal and non-verbal cues. Be proactive in your approach with this employee. Make a point of documenting their arrival time so that you have data to support your claims that the employee is chronically late to work. Be prepared to share this with the team member at your meeting.

2. Confidentiality

Each member of your team deserves confidentiality when discussing matters that relate to their performance. You want to save them from public humiliation and the possibility that you may escalate the problem even further. Inform your employee that you have scheduled a meeting with them in private to discuss your concerns. 

3. Be Clear, Be Objective, and Listen

Once the meeting has begun, identify your specific concerns with your employee. Use the tardiness data that you have accumulated to state your case. Explain how their chronically-late behavior has impacted their fellow team members and the practice in general. Share your disappointment, but keep your emotions in check and remain as objective and neutral in tone as possible. Pause as you allow your employee an opportunity to respond to you. It is critical that you listen carefully to what they have to say. Take a few moments to write down pertinent notes of what is being said. Your goal is to help them identify the root cause of the behavior so that you both can develop an achievable action plan.

4. Create an Action Plan

You have spent a few moments listening to your team member describe why they continue to be late. You underscore that you have clear expectations for their behavior moving forward. Those expectations have to be tailored to the reasons behind the excessive tardiness. Perhaps the employee is dealing with an illness or a family issue previously unbeknownst to you. What matters is that you have laid out a clear and concise plan moving forward. When the team member leaves the meeting, they should recognize that “if I don’t do this- then this action step will occur.” In any case, they need to know that more serious consequences will occur should this behavior continue.

5. Put it in Writing

After the meeting has concluded, recall the dialogue that took place as well as any notes that you may have written. Take some time to carefully craft a memo that simply restates what took place during the meeting with your team member. Mention the reasons why the meeting was held; the reasons the employee gave to you for their behavior, and the action steps that will be taken moving forward. Once the memorandum is completed, hand a copy to the employee for their records and keep another copy for your use. This document becomes critical should the employee continue to demonstrate similar poor behavior in the future. 

6. Positive Reinforcement

Positive praise and reinforcement will go a long way towards improving employee behavior. Take every opportunity to recognize your team member making the effort to curb their actions. Let them know that they are still valued and appreciated. You will often find that this praise will motivate them even further. 

If you’re looking for more business management tips, or have other areas of your practice that need improvement, let us help! Contact our Fort Worth dental consultants to schedule a consultation.

Dental Consultant & Speaker

How to Manage Difficult Employees and Reduce Office Conflict | Dallas Dental Consultant

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Running and managing a dental practice is no easy task. One of the most common shared concerns is  the challenge of managing people. In both small and  large practices, even one difficult employee can cause enough problems to interrupt business and potentially impact profits. That’s why it’s important to have a system in place for addressing staff issues that occur when an employee refuses to comply with office rules and directions.  Adopting a process and tailoring it to fit your needs can help you potentially avoid unwanted confrontations that lead to even larger business concerns. Learn how to handle difficult employees now so you and your whole team can get back on the path to success. Here are some tips shared by our dental practice consultants to help you do just that.

Speak to Them Privately and Listen 

Open communication with staff members can help solve and sometimes avoid issues with employees as soon as they arise. If a member of your team consistently fails to take direction, sit down with them privately and have an open discussion. Share your concerns with your employees using clear language and simple, open-ended questions. Making sure to truly listen to their  responses during these conversations is also important. Once your employee responds, restate what they said back to them to avoid communication breakdowns, e.g., “So what I heard you say is that you didn’t follow our customer service procedure because you did not understand what was expected of you, is that right?”

Monitor and Document Progress

Once clear communication has occurred between you and your employee, make sure to document and monitor the situation and its progress consistently. Employees can sometimes feel their needs fall on deaf ears, and in these instances, they will go right back to the same way of doing things. Showing that management cares and is working towards a solution can lead to a behavioral shift sooner rather than later. On the flip side, if progress is not seen consistently or at all, it may be time to consider a more formal disciplinary approach. 

Taking Disciplinary Action

Addressing a difficult employee using disciplinary action (formal write up, demotion, or employment termination) is never easy. As a business owner, it is unfortunately something you will likely have to deal with at some point. Remember, the goal of early disciplinary action is to help improve the behavior and keep the employee/employer relationship moving in a positive direction. Having clear, well-defined policies that you can refer back to is essential so that you can deal with the potential legal and team morale issues that may arise, should the situation lead to termination of employment. 

If you are dealing with a difficult employee or would like to consult on other areas of your practice, contact our Fort Worth dental consultants today.

Dental Consultant & Speaker

Can Your Practice Benefit From an In-Office Dental Plan? | Dental Practice Consultant

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It can be difficult as a business owner and dental professional to see a patient leave your practice without receiving treatment simply because they don’t have dental insurance. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, roughly 23%, or 74 million Americans, have no dental coverage. Maybe yours is a fee for service practice and you don’t accept a patient’s insurance. These are just two of the many reasons that an increasing number of dental practices are adopting their own in-office dental plans as an alternative. Contact our Fort Worth dental consultants to learn more.

What is an In-Office Dental Plan?
In-office dental plans are designed to help patients afford preventive and restorative dental care. Patients pay a monthly or annual fee directly to the practice to help pay for treatment when it’s needed. An in-office dental plan is administered directly by the practice or contracted partner, making it unnecessary to submit insurance claims.

Benefits of an In-Office Dental Plan
One of the main benefits of incorporating an in-office dental plan is that it can be customized for your practice. Offering different plans or membership tiers can help make dental care affordable and financially convenient for patients and make cash flow more consistent for the practice. 

Other Considerations for In-Office Dental Plans

It is important to verify your specific state’s laws and statutes before implementing an in-office membership plan. Our expert Dallas dental consultants can guide you through the process and ensure that your plan follows your state’s guidelines while offering your patients an affordable way to say yes to the treatment you recommend.

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Common Characteristics of High Performing Teams | Dental Speaker Near Me

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Teamwork makes the dream work, or so the saying goes. With a team of rockstars behind you, your business can truly soar into the success that you envisioned when you first started your own company. However, creating that amazing team can be more difficult than you may have thought. Even if you have the right people, there may be something that is holding them back from reaching their full potential. Look at this list of common characteristics of high performing teams. Which ones are your team performing well on? Which do they lack? By comparing this list to your own, it may just give you the insight you need to reach the next step.

No Individual Member is More Important than the Team:

In any business, there are going to be some members of the team that are in positions of power. However, this should not make them more or less important than any other member on the team. When your team knows that they are all equals working to accomplish the same goal of success for your business, it can help create a team that relies on the necessary people to get the job accomplished.

Each Person Carries Their Own Weight:

Our dental speaker says that it’s important for every team member to be performing optimally in their own role. When one person is falling behind, the rest of your team can struggle to pick up the slack while maintaining their own work. Ultimately, what this characteristic boils down to is mutual respect. If you have a team that respects each other, they’ll be working to ensure everyone has what they need in order to do their job as best they can. Without that respect, it’s likely that people will be performing the bare minimum in their role. Our consulting office can help each member of your team reach their full potential.

Trust:

As important as mutual respect is the level of trust your employees have in each other. When you have a team that trusts one another, it allows for strong cohesion, conflict management and natural agreement when issues arise. Cohesion built upon trust means that every member of your staff is working towards the same goals, knows how to work together, and can make the right judgement calls when problems arise.

Understanding Limitations:

Some of the best teams know when it’s time to ask for outside help. Whether it’s a task that your team may not have the experience or knowledge to fully complete, or the workload seems to be simply more than they can handle, outside assistance or perspectives are nothing to be ashamed about and can help your team succeed at a higher level.

If you and your team require help with any of the functions of your business, our consultants are here to help. Whether you need improvements in your systems, organization, team cohesion, or anything else, we can provide you with the help you need to succeed at a higher level. Call or contact our dental consultant in Dallas today to get started. 

Dental Consultant & Speaker

The Power of Feedback in Improving Workplace Performance | Dental Insurance Training

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The exchange of feedback between leaders and their teams is an almost non-stop process. Official, or not, good leaders are as willing to listen to feedback as they are giving it out. Feedback is one of the most important aspects of improving performance, and yet it can be one of the most difficult things to hear. Very few people enjoy viewing themselves in a critical light. Below, our dental speaker will outline some of the best ways to not only get constructive feedback, but also how to handle feedback for optimal benefit when it comes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For It:

People will often assume that if something is wrong, they’ll be told and corrected. While in a perfect world, this may be the case, it is unfortunately not the reality. When you directly ask for feedback, you give your employees and your leaders the opportunity to give you valuable insights into the operations of your business. Without asking, you may be missing out on mistakes being made, or innovations that have changed business for the better.

Even if this feedback is not received in an official setting (such as a brief “on the fly” direction) it can give you the ability to bolster your systems and improve business. Make sure you ask for that chance as frequently as possible.

Don’t just React – Listen and Digest:

When feedback comes to us, it can sometimes be difficult to not feel personally attacked – especially if the feedback is critical. The worst thing you can do in this type of situation, would be to react without really considering what the other person is saying. Make sure you hear what them out and think about why they feel the way they do.

Do your best to stay clear headed and ask clarifying questions to help you fully understand the other person’s view point. Sometimes, the most positive and helpful feedback can be misinterpreted and turned into a destructive situation. If you need to take the time to digest, think about asking for time to do so. It never hurts to come back and be able to discuss feedback in more detail and from a different perspective. Taking whatever space and time you need will ultimately help you deal with feedback in a more constructive way and help you to understand your business and your leadership style better.

Reflection is a Form of Feedback:

A conversation with a manager or employee is not the only way to get feedback. You can also learn a lot about your strengths and potential limitations by reviewing the successes and failures you have had in your position. Is the same failure happening over and over again? It may be time to figure out the root cause of the issue and create a plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Criticism, constructive or not, can be difficult to hear. Ultimately however, that brief time of difficulty will turn in to large dividends for both you, your team, and the business as a whole. If you’re looking for constructive feedback from an outside perspective that can help your business grow, contact our dental consultant in Dallas, TX. We’ll be able to analyze your strengths and areas for improvement in order to help you bring your business to the next level.

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Data Security Best Practices | Fort Worth Dental Consultant

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Though most of the attacks making headlines are those aimed at large organizations or political groups, roughly a third of all data security breaches in the last few years have occurred in the health care industry. Of these, employee error caused three times as many breaches as external attacks. In addition, more than half of the businesses who experience a security breach have fewer than 1,000 employees.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires all health care providers to take steps to protect the private information of their patients from hackers, thieves, and staff. While no data security system is foolproof, there are some best practices that can help to decrease your risk of an information breach, especially from employee error. Here are some of the best practices you should be enforcing according to our dental consultant in Dallas:

  • All computers should be placed where screens are not visible to patients or visitors.
  • Every computer should have an encrypted password for access.
  • All passwords should contain a mixture of letters, numbers, and/or symbols and should be changed regularly.
  • Passwords should never be written down in any place accessible by the public. It is preferable that they not be written down at all.
  • Every staff member must be fully educated about the importance of data security practices, their responsibility to follow these practices, and the potential repercussions for failing to comply.
  • Office computers and internet should not be used to check personal email or visit non-work-related websites.
  • Ensure all firewalls, software, and operating systems are kept up to date.
  • Wireless networks should be shielded from public view.
  • Every computer should have antivirus software installed and kept up to date.
  • Do not access office data remotely from a shared computer or unknown WiFi network.
  • Smartphones, tablets, laptops that have access to any work systems or emails should be password protected in case lost or stolen.
  • All hard copies of patient data should be shredded.
  • All transmitted data should be encrypted.
  • Sensitive information, such as social security numbers, financial data, or other private information, should never be sent through email or instant messaging services.
  • Consider purchasing cyber insurance protection.
  • If a breach does occur, take appropriate action immediately. Contact your legal counsel for advice.

Your first and best defense against the theft of sensitive patient information is the integration of data security best practices into your practice policies. Meet with your team to discuss any changes you need to make and your expectations of compliance. Protect yourself, your team, and your patients by working to protect the integrity of your systems. Contact our dental speaker in Fort Worth for more information.

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4 Simple Ways to Make Stress Work for You | Dallas Dental Consultant

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Stress is an inescapable part of life. Whether you’ve just opened your business or have begun planning for retirement, you have experienced some amount of stress along the way. Doctors, scientists, and media outlets have spent many years warning about the dangers of stress. Too much stress too often can cause negative effects on our physical and mental health. However, before giving in to chronic tension and depression, consider a few ways from our dental consultant in Dallas on how you can make stress work for you.

  1. Focus on the positive side of stress. In small, sporadic doses, stress can increase brain function for gains in creativity and problem solving ability. It can boost your immune response and provide the motivation you need to engage your issue. Over time, small amounts of stress will even enhance your resiliency for managing future difficulties.
  2. Change your self-talk. Instead of stumbling and dwelling on the negatives of your current predicament, start incorporating the idea of “yet.” The phrase “I can’t…” has an entirely different tone than “I can’t…yet.” Once you have reset your self-talk to allow for the possibility of change, you will find yourself ready to brainstorm creative strategies for moving forward.
  3. Tackle problems one at a time. Select one specific aspect of your life that is causing you too much stress. Focus on the root cause of your stress and decide on a plan of action. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to delegate tasks to a member of your team. New habits take time and training, but can create real change to improve your life. Continue working your plan, refining as needed, until the overstress is no longer a factor. Choose another challenge and start again.
  4. Embrace levity every day. Celebrate birthdays, small victories, and changes in the weather. Add laughter to your workday. These will cut tension in the office and refresh you and your team. Your patients, your team, and you will enjoy the more cheerful and relaxed atmosphere this creates.

By embracing the motivating influence of stress without allowing it to drive you down into anxiety, you can generate positivity, creativity, and effective change. However, if you have chronic stress that is substantially affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. To best help others, you must first care for yourself. Contact our dental speaker in Fort Worth for more information.

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Things to Consider Before Buying New Dental Equipment | Dental Practice Consultant

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No matter how well-equipped your office is initially, time, wear, and changes in technology will at some point require you to purchase additional or replacement equipment. There are a few points our dental consultant in Dallas recommends to keep in mind before making your final decision on a major equipment purchase for your practice.

First, take your time. Like with any other major purchase, rushing into a decision can be costly. Instead, spend several weeks in preparation for this choice. Meet with your Dental CPA about any tax implications and ask if there is an optimal time to make such a purchase. Consider carefully the following factors to be sure you are choosing the right piece of equipment for your needs:

  • What is the main purpose of this equipment?
  • What features do you want/need it to have?
  • Are you and your team going to need extensive training to use it?
  • How often is this equipment going to be used?
  • Will it fit the space available?
  • Will you have to make changes to the space to use this equipment (ie, wiring, utility connections, etc)?
  • Is the manufacturer reliable?
  • Does the manufacturer provide good service for their equipment?
  • How long should this equipment last?
  • What is the expected benefit of this upgrade?
  • When do you plan to have it installed and in use?
  • If this equipment is to allow new services, is there a demand for those services in your practice/community?
  • Will your pricing for your services offset the investment cost and still be competitive in your market?
  • If the equipment you are buying is used, have you obtained an independent opinion on its condition?
  • How does the cost compare to other models? Other manufacturers?
  • Can you purchase directly from the manufacturer to save on cost?
  • Have you compared pricing from a variety of sources online?

While not all of these may apply to your equipment purchase in every circumstance, it should be clear that major dental office equipment should never be bought on impulse or without thorough consideration and research. Recommendations from other dentists or your dental CPA can also be helpful in narrowing your search.

Your dental equipment plays a vital role in the quality of care you are able to provide to your patients. When it is time to add or replace a piece of that equipment, make sure you take plenty of time to research, refine, and select the right piece for your practice. This will help you be certain that your investment will bring value to your practice for years to come. Contact our dental speaker in Fort Worth for more information.

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Be a Leader, Not a Manager | Dental Speaker Near Me

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Practice leaders set the standard and pace of your work. Managers hover and maintain status quo. Which definition sounds like you? Our dental speaker in Dallas understands that changing the way your practice is structured or operates can be a vast undertaking. Use these tips to get started on a path for developing an innovative practice that you lead, not manage.

Leaders Innovate

Leaders develop ideas that further practices. Managers use the framework that is already in place. Don’t hover over your hygienists or office staff. Let their work speak for itself and step in where necessary. Demonstrate to your team the qualities you want through your own actions.

Do What You Do Best

The majority of your time should be spent with patients, that is the best use of your abilities. This means you must delegate tasks to other team members. Leaders delegate tasks. Let your office staff handle the clerical side of the practice. Utilize a hands-off strategy where appropriate to free your time for patients.

Track Team Tasks

Rather than micromanaging your team, have them write or email their daily tasks to you. This will allow you to track the team’s progress and use of time. It will also save you from constantly asking, “What did you do today?” Hold your team accountable for their tasks. Request that your team define their tasks in quantitative terms. Spot-check as you feel necessary.

Know When to Hire and Train

When your practice feels swamped, hire and train. Leaders can recognize if their team is unable to handle the current workload. Pushing your team beyond their limits is not going to produce the results you are striving to achieve. Your team will work best when they have the necessary time and resources to do their tasks.

Leaders don’t have the time to micromanage. Leaders know when to back off and let the practice run on its own. This doesn’t mean you should let your entire operation always run on auto-pilot, but focus on letting each team member contribute their abilities in the best capacity. The only way to break through the status-quo is to allow for new ideas and strategies to take hold. This cannot be achieved if you are spending your time hovering over your team. Transform the way you manage your practice and your practice will transform itself.

To learn more, contact our Dallas dental consultant.