As leaders, dentists have to do more than simply show up and treat patients every day. Although ideally you would like to come to the office, treat your patients and go home, there is a lot more to the leadership story.

Coaching is a major factor for any leader. No team is perfect, and even if yours is, it will likely not stay that way in the long run. This is where coaching is critical. Whether you handle coaching through informal feedback during the workday, formal performance reviews, or other one-to-one meetings with your team, staff meetings, or morning meetings, coaching is an ongoing process for every practice.

It is essential for the dentist to understand that the team needs feedback in order to continue to develop. It must be said, however, that continual criticism of mistakes is rarely a good leadership formula for feedback and improving performance. Effective and responsible leadership focuses on positive, specific and practical feedback that helps team members learn, grow and excel at their duties.

You have a good team—help them get better through coaching.


Scary Night 89691161One of my favorite questions to ask doctors as I travel the country lecturing is what keeps you up at night?

This question gets right to the most important challenge in that individual’s life. Frequently, the answer relates to the practice. It could be competition, financial performance, staffing issues, loss of a lease, etc. Sometimes the answers are more personal such as problems with children or marriages. Sometimes it is health.

This question will point to the most important areas in your life that need to be addressed.

Dentists tend to do a lot of things on their own. I love to joke about how a dentist will take apart a broken device only to call the service rep to put it back together. Do-it-alone people often suffer long term because they don’t get the help they need when they need it.

The most successful dentists I meet quickly learn not to try solving all of their own problems. They engage others to give them advice and guidance on how to accomplish what needs to be done. These dentists have an amazing ability to recognize when they need help and engage the right experts to find solutions and put their minds at ease.

So, what keeps you up at night?

Many clients and friends ask me how I manage time and achieve personal productivity given that I travel on average 130 days a year. Over time, I’ve learned many tricks to increase “personal productivity.”

Lay out your clothes the night before… It’s a time-tested and brilliant idea. However, I suggest that you expand the concept to prepare for everything the night before.

People who prepare for the next day the evening before are typically higher achievers.  Perhaps the Boy Scout motto of always be prepared is really true. When dentists leave their office ready for the next day… when the staff has prepared everything necessary for the next day… when systems and checklists are in place… it all adds up to a practice that experiences higher production and financial performance along with lower stress.

Doctors who walk in each day with no idea what they are facing and THEN begin getting ready for it, are making their day difficult—even before they ever see the first patient.

My advice—prepare for everything the night before.


Missing Systems White Paper by Roger P. Levin, DDS

I was watching a political debate the other night, and there were many candidates and opinions. It struck me afterwards how a plethora of options can actually confuse people. With seven or eight candidates, there are too many people, too many issues, too many opinions and too much to keep up with.

Too many options can be confusing for patients as well. Dentists are experts in their field. Patients come to dentists for an exact opinion of what should be done. The same is true for physicians, accountants and attorneys. When a person is given too many options, it often leads to paralysis. I believe that many cases presented to patients are rejected because they are given too many treatment options and they just can’t make a decision.

People crave simplicity. They don’t want to hear every possible treatment option. They want one or two ideal recommendations. When you offer more than that, it becomes difficult to make a value-driven comparison and know which choice is better. This leads to decision paralysis. At that point, patients can go with their third option—rejecting the case.

Get Dr. Roger P. Levin’s latest thoughts on the current state of dentistry and what dentists can do to prosper in the new economy. As one of dentistry’s most influential leaders, Dr. Levin has unique insights on how every dentist can achieve greater practice success.

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