Dr. T.T. joined his dental practice as an associate in 2000. Fresh out of school, he was looking for a practice where he could grow and someday become partner. The practice owner hired the doctor with the same purpose in mind.
The practice owner was already a Sterling client at the time Dr. T.T. joined the practice. Starting from “zero,” he felt he had to prove himself as a producer and an executive. Although he was a highly-trained professional, he didn’t know the first thing about running a dental practice and was worried that he might never be as successful as “most” dentists seemed to be. The owner’s plan was to have Sterling train Dr. T.T. on the Sterling program.
Number of staff:
When Dr. T.T. joined the dental practice in 2000, they had a total of 9 staff as follows: 2 dentists (the doctor and the practice owner), 3 assistants, 2 hygienists, 1 front office and a financial coordinator.
Currently the practice has 27 staff as follows: 3 dentists, 6 dental assistants, 2 orthodontic assistants, 3 hygienists, 3 hygienist assistants, 1 hygiene floater, 1 sterilizer, 1 intern, 4 front office, an office manager, a financial coordinator and a comptroller.
Timeline (from the point the Dr. T.T. joined the practice):
1) Dec 2000 – SPEEDO*: A SPEEDO was delivered at the practice by specialty consultants to get the staff on the same page regarding management by statistics and how to use them to increase production. During the SPEEDO, Dr. T.T. worked with one of the consultants to create a policy manual for the practice. The manual formed the foundation of how the practice operates. The SPEEDO also helped organize the transition from a one-doctor dental practice to a two-doctor dental practice.
✭ June 2001 – STERLING CHICAGO WORKSHOP: Dr. T.T. attended his first Sterling regional workshop and continues to regularly attend. He reports the workshops give more clarity on the components of the Sterling program and how to implement them. He brings the staff because the workshops get the team working “on” the practice, instead of “in” the practice. Additionally, bringing the staff makes them feel included which creates a more cohesive group. The doctor says things always improve after the workshops and that this is reflected in the stats. He adds that what they have accomplished has not been done overnight, but that it has been an ongoing process of implementing one thing, then another and another.
2) Jul 2001 – UPS AND DOWNS IN BUSINESS COURSE AND BUSINESS INTEGRITY COURSE: These courses taught Dr. T.T. about the emotional tone scale and how to recognize and deal with people in different emotional tones. He learned why things go wrong and the underlying causes of hardship in the dental practice and in life.
3) Jul 2001 – COMMUNICATION AND SALES WORKSHOP: Dr. T.T. says he was horrible at sales. He could not understand why a patient would refuse a treatment plan. If the patient disagreed with the plan, the doctor would “buy into” the patient’s reasons as to why he was not accepting treatment. This workshop taught him how to effectively present the treatment plan and handle the patient’s objections so the patient would accept the treatment he needed. Dr. T.T. reports he also uses the tools he has learned in the workshop to sell ideas to the staff, to better communicate and be a better leader. He says this workshop has helped in every area of his life.
4) Nov 2001 – SPEEDO: Another SPEEDO was delivered to push the dental practice forward and address some outstanding disagreements and concern among the staff regarding Dr. T.T.‘s role as a new associate. The SPEEDO resolved this issue and helped create a smoother-running practice.
✭ Jun 2002 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
5) Mar 2004 – CUSTOMIZED ONE-ON-ONE PERSONNEL WORKSHOP: Dr. T.T. and the practice owner did this workshop together. The doctor reports this workshop laid the foundation for the practice’s hiring procedures and policies. It also helped them define what they needed and wanted in an office manager. The doctor reports they have lost only one employee over the past few years despite hiring several new ones. He attributes their high staff retention to being very picky about whom they hire.
6) 2006 – DR. T.T. IS MADE PARTNER AT THE DENTAL PRACTICE
7) Aug 2006 – CUSTOMIZED ONE-ON-ONE EXECUTIVE DRILLS WORKSHOP: Having become a partner in the dental practice, Dr. T.T. wanted to become a good executive, too. He had no idea what it really meant to be a good executive until he did this workshop. Although it took him a while to absorb the scope of his role as an executive, this workshop gave him the foundation needed to do so.
8) Apr 2009 – OFFICE MANAGER PROGRAM: The office manager was sent to Sterling to get trained in the Sterling program. Dr. T.T. went, too, so he and the office manager could set the stage for how they wanted to work together. While he was at Sterling, the doctor also received customized consulting on financial planning. As for the results of the Office Manager Program, Dr. T.T. reports having a competent, trained office manager has freed him up to do many other things. He feels they would have made greater headway more rapidly if they had acquired a strong office manager sooner.
✭ Jun 2009 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
✭ Dec 2009 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
9) Feb 2010 – SPEEDO: This SPEEDO was delivered to help the practice straighten out some confusion as to where it should be headed and how to get there. The SPEEDO addressed various issues in the practice including disagreements and frustrations among the staff.
Dr. T.T. reports that it has been a rocket ride since.
10) Sep 2010 – CUSTOMIZED ONE-ON-ONE HANDLING UNWANTED CONDITIONS WORKSHOP: In this workshop, Dr. T.T. learned how to recognize people with bad intentions and how to handle them.
11) Sep 2010 – IMPROVING BUSINESS THROUGH COMMUNICATION COURSE AND HOW TO GET THINGS DONE COURSE (FOR OFFICE MANAGER): The practice’s office manager was highly productive but needed to learn how to delegate more and get others to get the work done. These two courses showed her how to do exactly that. Dr. T.T. reports this is no longer an issue.
12) Sep 2010 – CUSTOMIZED DRILLING (FOR OFFICE MANAGER): The office manager did customized drilling to reinforce her newly acquired ability to get others to get the work done.
13) Oct 2010 – CUSTOMIZED ONE-ON-ONE HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR DREAMS WORKSHOP: Although Dr. T.T. enjoyed all of his Sterling services, he reports nothing opened his eyes like this workshop; it was his favorite. The workshop took the lid off of the objectives he wanted to achieve, and showed him how to think in terms of big, lifetime goals, plus how to achieve them. Dr. T.T. has since accomplished things he had never dreamed of before. The workshop blew him away and changed his way of thinking about big life-long aspirations.
✭ Dec 2010 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
14) Apr 2011 – SPEEDO: Another SPEEDO was delivered to reinforce the practice’s growth.
15) Sep 2011 – OFFICE VISIT: A specialty consultant visited the dental practice to deliver sales training to the staff. The doctors wanted the staff to understand that sales is not a dirty word and it is done to help the patients. As a result, they keep beating past sales records.
✭ Dec 2011 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
16) Oct 2012 – OFFICE VISIT: A new dental school graduate had joined the practice as an associate. The purpose of this office visit was to increase the new associate’s production significantly and help with the transition into the practice. The visit helped the staff push the associate for more production and helped the associate become more willing to be pushed.
✭ Mar 2013 – MINNEAPOLIS WORKSHOP: Dr. T.T. asked for volunteers among the staff to attend this workshop. Several asked to attend. The doctor reports that the staff love the dental practice; it’s not just a job to them. Instead, they are like entrepreneurs with a vested interest in the success of the business.
NEXT UP: Dr. T.T. says they are in a fun phase. They get to tweak things in the practice as they come up. They are also currently working with their Sterling consultant to boost profitability while attaining further growth.
* SPEEDO = Specialized Program for Expansion and Efficiency, Delivered in Office.