After two years working as an associate, the dentist opened his own practice. Having had no management training, running the practice proved to be a frustrating, discouraging experience. There were a number of ongoing issues. The staff were unable to grasp what they were supposed to do and had no concept that they were paid to be productive. The doctor felt uncertain of how to respond to disagreements or grievances and so would “walk on eggshells” around the staff. Turnover was high.
Additionally, the doctor felt he was doing a poor job of presenting cases to patients and became frustrated when they declined the treatment he knew they needed.
Working long hours, the doctor had little time for his family or other activities outside of the practice. Disenchanted with dentistry, he wanted to earn enough money to sell his practice without feeling like a failure, get out of dentistry and take up another profession. Before throwing in the towel, he decided to give it one last try and signed up with Sterling.
At the time, the doctor had 5 staff including himself: 2 hygienists, I part-time assistant and a front desk. Currently, the doctor has 15 staff including himself: 4 hygienists, 4 assistants, 2 financial secretaries, 1 hygiene coordinator, 1 financial person who handles insurance claims, 1 receptionist and an office manager.
1) Oct 96 – EXECUTIVE BOOSTER PROGRAM: The doctor started Sterling’s Executive Booster Program with management courses at Sterling, one-on-one consulting and receiving a customized strategic plan for his business. On the program, the doctor learned what an executive is and the functions he should be performing, including how to manage staff and get others to get the work done. He also learned more about the components of communication and improved his communication skills. After returning to his practice, the doctor’s statistics “magically” went up and he was able to recover the cost of the Sterling program within the first few weeks.
✭ Dec 96 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP: The doctor attended his first Sterling workshop and continues to regularly attend. The workshops are rejuvenating and he finds the material is as applicable to life as it is to the practice. The doctor brings his staff because the workshops invigorate them; they get to be themselves, interact and have fun. He and the staff brainstorm on how to apply the seminar materials. The workshops prompted the doctor to implement a bonus system which made a huge difference in the practice. He and the staff would set seemingly insurmountable goals for the practice and then reach them. As a reward, he took his staff on trips to such places as Jamaica and Mexico.
✭ Dec 97 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
2) Oct 98 – SPEEDO*: The doctor’s stats were rising and then hit a plateau. To resolve this, a Sterling specialty consultant visited the doctor’s practice to deliver a SPEEDO over a five-day period. While there, the consultant interviewed the staff, found the issues which needed to be addressed and trained the staff accordingly. Collections and production went up as a result.
✭ Jun 99 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
3) Oct 99 – OFFICE MANAGER PROGRAM: The doctor wanted an additional staff member to have the responsibility of managing the practice. He also wanted his office manager to operate on the principle of the Sterling program. Therefore, he sent his office manager to Sterling for management training. As a result, she was able to greatly free up the doctor by taking over many management functions.
✭ Dec 99 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
✭ June 00 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
4) Feb 01 – SALES WORKSHOP: At this point, the doctor was practicing higher-end dentistry and running into bigger cases. His consultant recommended this workshop to improve his ability to effectively present the case, handle objections and have the patient accept treatment. This workshop greatly improved the percentage of acceptance.
✭ Jun 02- CHICAGO WORKSHOP
5) Jul 02 – MANAGEMENT COURSES FOR ASSOCIATE: The doctor sent his associate to Sterling for management training. The doctor’s rationale was the associate might become a partner and if so, he wanted him to hone his executive skills and gain an executive perspective. Statistics went up again.
6) Jan 03 – THE THINKING COURSE: This course enabled the doctor to recognize undesirable conditions in the practice and determine their underlying causes.This course helped generate more income.
7) Jan 03 – ONE-ON-ONE CUSTOMIZED DREAMS WORKSHOP: In this workshop, the doctor defined his long-range goals and “ideal scene.” This was an activity he had not done before. He and his workshop consultant also worked out how to achieve both. The doctor reports this workshop was a great deal of fun.
8) Nov 03 – OFFICE MANAGER PROGRAM: The doctor sent his new office manager to Sterling for the office manager program. He says this action brought the practice to a whole new level with the doctor and his associate hitting highest-ever production numbers.
✭ Dec 03 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
9) Feb 04 – PERSONNEL WORKSHOP: The workshop was delivered to train the doctor’s staff. The existing staff received more training and the new staff came on board with the Sterling program. The doctor reports this workshop reinvigorated them as a team.
10) Oct 04- SPEEDO: The doctor’s practice had reached a whole new level. He wanted to stabilize the increase and boost it from there. A specialty consultant visited the practice to deliver the SPEEDO. Some internal headaches were addressed, new staff were hatted, stress levels went down and the statistics went up.
11) Jan 05 – IMPROVING BUSINESS THROUGH COMMUNICATION COURSE AND HOW TO GET THINGS DONE COURSE (for Office Manager): The doctor’s office manager had been experiencing some difficulties in managing the staff. Rather than dealing with staff who required disciplinary action or correction, she would dodge the issue and let things fester. These two courses gave the office manager the ability to more comfortably face and manage the staff and also gain compliance.
✭ Mar 05 – NASHVILLE WORKSHOPS (Staff attendance only.)
12) Oct 05 – TWO-DAY OFFICE VISIT: The practice was continuing to grow. A specialty consultant visited the doctor’s site to resolve areas of the practice which needed shoring up, such as scheduling and cancellations.
13) Oct 06 – SURVEY AND MARKETING WORKSHOP: The doctor sent his office manager to do this customized one-on-one workshop. He reports that rather than listening to the empty rhetoric of ad agencies, his office manager was able to get the number of new patients to a whole new level as a result of this workshop.
14) Jun 07 – EXECUTIVE DRILLS WORKSHOP: The doctor and his office manager did this customized workshop together. The doctor realized that no matter how smoothly the practice was running, he still needed to take a leadership role if he expected it to continue. He and his office manager learned how to motivate the staff to proactively observe and address matters in the practice. The staff took greater ownership of their jobs and acted more like execs than employees.
15) May 08 – THREE-DAY OFFICE VISIT: A specialty consultant visited the doctor’s site to address issues regarding the office manager’s function of overseeing and increasing production in the practice. The office manager was debugged and further trained on the use of management tools in this area.
✭ Mar 09 – CLEARWATER WORKSHOP
16) Mar 09 – CEO COURSE LEVEL I: Sterling’s CEO Course is broken down into Level I, II and III. The doctor decided to take the CEO Course to prepare for the upcoming departure of his trained office manager. He wanted to “get back in the saddle” as an executive. He studied the purpose and functions of the CEO post, the 19 basic tools of management and the other upper-level management information contained on this course.
17) May 09 – CEO COURSE LEVEL II: The doctor continued on the CEO Course with Level II. He studied the relationship of policy to practice expansion, how to write policy, how to issue orders and gain compliance, and other upper-level management information. He gained certainty on writing policy, strategic plans and projects and the use of these items as the CEO of his practice.
✭ Dec 09 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP
18) Dec 10 – FIVE-DAY OFFICE VISIT: Two specialty consultants visited the doctor’s site. During the visit, they reorganized the practice which was quite big by this time. Staff were further trained and took ownership of their jobs.
✭ Dec 12 – CHICAGO WORKSHOP: The doctor is a featured case study in the workshop’s Million-Dollar Roundtable due to his success.
19) The doctor is continuing his one-on-one consulting and plans to complete Level III of the CEO Course next.
* SPEEDO = Specialized Program for Expansion and Efficiency, Delivered in Office.