Are you a helicopter boss?


I knew this day would come but I have to say I wasn’t fully prepared for it.

Yesterday, Anna had her 1st day of Kindergarten!!

Matt and I decided together that she would ride the bus from the start and Anna was so excited! The bus stop is at the end of our driveway and all our neighbor’s kids were there to look out for her as well as teachers to meet her and get her to her class.

I on the other hand, was not so thrilled about the idea. I wanted to jump in my car and follow that bus, hold her hand as we walked to her classroom and make sure she got to her seat and made friends. Then maybe I’d just stay for a couple hours to be sure her teacher knows what she’s doing.

This is in stark contrast to my 1st day of school on which my mother sent me to walk several blocks to school with some older kids…in Los Angeles!! She swears she didn’t make me walk the 1st day but I distinctly remember it. 😉

It’s a good thing my husband has some sense because that teacher would have booted me out of the classroom so fast I wouldn’t know what hit me.  And I’m sure she would have put a little note in Anna’s record saying… ‘Mom-Helicopter Parent’ or ‘Mom-PITA.’  You know what that means…

So I’m wondering if you’ve ever been a ‘Helicopter Dentist’ or a ‘Helicopter Office Manager’ or if you’ve ever worked for such individuals? It’s hard to let go of your ‘baby’.  But sometimes you just have to do it because it’s for their own good.

This week’s article is about letting go and letting your team do what they know to do…

Stay Inspired,

Let Go and Let Them

Have you ever noticed that when you hover or micromanage your team, even less gets done? You’re all busy tripping over each other and it becomes a power struggle between you and your team.

I recently worked with a young dentist in Florida who was having this exact problem. He just couldn’t understand why his hygiene team wasn’t excited about their potential to create a powerful, productive, service-oriented department. He has tried and tried to tell them how to do it.  They knew he was in control and he wasn’t ready to let go of the reins long enough to give them room to “step up”.

Well, with the help of his PDA practice coach he realized it was time for him to step up as a strong leader and then step aside.  I coached him to set up very clear performance and service expectations for his hygiene team.   He created a system for them to create their own pay increase as related to the growth of the department and told them he would support them with whatever they need.

He also put in place a system to measure their performance and the hygienists present the numbers to him at the end of each month and share what they think went well and what they will work on improving next month. Now he’s done “telling” them what to do and what they’re doing wrong and they are coming up with solutions on their own.

Here are a few things you can do to set expectations and let others step up:

  • Set up a monthly or quarterly hygiene department meeting to look at trends for growth or areas you need to work on
  • Develop a compensation plan that ensures an upside for both the practice and the team member
  • Use a service and productivity tracker that team members complete on a regular basis. What you measure will improve

And guess what? Those hygienists are really excited. They’re determined to grow hygiene and they have some skin in the game as motivation. Something to think about…

Have them at hello


Should we charge a cancellation fee?

How do we make effective confirmation calls?

Do we really have to follow this script word for word?

If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions (and be honest, we all have) then you’ll want to consider joining us for next week’s Hygiene Profits Mastermind tele-class.

I am so thrilled to be interviewing Katherine Eitel on the topic of phone skills and confirmation strategies.  Katherine has delivered her course ‘Have Them At Hello’ all across North America and we’re so lucky to have her give some specific strategies that you can implement right away.

Check out the details below.  And hey, there’s no long-term obligation with the Mastermind group.  We’re here to support you with great content and coaching.

Have them at hello!
Phone skills to increase productivity in your practice.

with special guest Katherine Eitel


Throw out those scripts! You can be better and still be YOU!  In this interview, Katherine Eitel, one the nation’s leading experts in patient communications, will show you how to throw out the scripts and tap into your own instinctive greatness to be better than ever!  By following a few simple steps, everyone can improve their results on the phone and their value to the practice.  Katherine will give you four simple yet innovative steps that will increase your productivity tomorrow with new patient phone calls.  Also, improve your success with price shoppers, insurance-driven patients, emergencies, “cleaning only” patients, pending treatment and hygiene reminder calls as well as confirmation calls and ways to cut your cancellations in half!

In this tele-class you’ll learn:

  • How to keep patients from cancelling (and whether or not to charge a cancellation fee)
  • A clear system for confirmation calls
  • 4 steps to a great call every time

If you’re not already a member of our Mastermind group, the first 2 months are FREE. Click here to sign up.

Stay Inspired,

Make Your Patients Feel Special


While talking to a new client recently, one thing he said he’d like his team to recognize is that ‘every visit is a big deal for our patients’.  His point is that sometimes we become so desensitized to being at the dentist that we don’t understand our patients’ need for reassurance and patience.

If I count up all the days I’ve practiced hygiene in the last 20 years, it’s well into the thousands.  For most of my patients however, they may have only visited the dentist 40 or 50 times in the same time period and for some, maybe only a handful.

After thousands of days at the chair, coming to the dentist’s office is part of who we are. It’s routine for us, like a second home.  But for our patients it’s a completely different experience. Here are a few simple tips and things to think about to make each and every one of your patients feel like they’re your ONLY patient.

#1- Eye Contact

This is so simple but it makes a world of difference.  It’s so easy to seat our patients and begin asking questions as we’re looking at the monitor or at their paper chart.  I’ve shared before about layering education and clinical conversation over your scaling time but when you’re asking patients specific questions such as ‘what medications are you taking?’ or ‘what concerns do you have today?’ it is important to look them in the eye.  This let’s them know you’re actually listening. Listening is a skill I’m constantly working on.  I tell myself all the time ‘shut up, stop thinking of what you’re going to say next, just LISTEN’.

If you listen, then you can process what you’ve heard and use it to tie risk assessment and patient ‘wants’ to your treatment recommendations.

#2- Knee to Knee

I was coaching a young doctor recently and every time he went to check a patient he stood leaning on the counter looking down at the patient.  He didn’t realize that at 6’2″ how he was towering over his patients.  He is a warm, caring person and this posture made it hard for him to really connect and make patients feel comfortable.

And it is especially important to have your patient’s head at or above the level of your own when you’re meeting for the first time or presenting treatment.

Doctor-when you go in to do the hygiene exam immediately sit down and slide so you’re in the knee to knee position with your patients.

Hygienist– if at all possible, keep a 2nd chair in your room and sit down on the other side of the patient rather than standing up.

#3-Forget about your next patient (and your last)

Gasp!  I know, I said it and next week when I’m in the heat of my hygiene day, it will come back to haunt me…ha!  Don’t think about the next patient that may have arrived early or that you see walking up to the front door.  This doesn’t mean you should run behind all the time but it means avoiding comments within earshot of patients like ‘I’m sorry I can’t do that today, I have another patient’ or ‘Doctor is running late because he is tied up with another patient’.  Think of another positive way to say it.

‘You know what?  Let’s find a time to bring you back to work on this area so we can make sure we can completely focus on you and do the best job possible.  I wouldn’t want to rush this.’

All of your patients want to feel like they are your ONLY patient- at least at that moment.

Stay Inspired,