There are two groups of people who walk into your office each day.

Oct. 18, 2013
As you can see from the cover, this month's issue is all about New Products to See at the ADA Annual Session in New Orleans starting on Halloween.

Are you taking care of both of them?

by Joe Blaes

As you can see from the cover, this month's issue is all about New Products to See at the ADA Annual Session in New Orleans starting on Halloween. Can you imagine Halloween in New Orleans? You will have to be there to experience it! I hope to see you there walking the exhibit floor to check out all the products that we have highlighted for the ADA meeting. They are listed in booth number order so you can easily find where these products are located.

Dental Economics' primary purpose is practice management. Our cover states that we are the nation's leading business journal for the profession. This is not a clinical magazine, but I feature products because I believe that it is important for dentists to know the benefits of the latest advancements in materials, equipment, and technology. I believe that dentists need to know and understand how new procedures can increase production and profit in their practices while serving their patients better.

In times of economic downturns, I often hear dentists saying that business is terrible because of the economy. At the same time, I hear other dentists saying that they are experiencing double-digit growth in their practices. I once read a quote from George Bernard Shaw that has stuck with me: "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them." This quote has helped to direct my life many times.

It is common sense to know that each member of your staff wants to feel appreciated. But common sense is not common practice in many dental offices today. How many dentists consider "appreciating my staff" to be a major function of their daily jobs? It should be. Dentists do care about the people they work with, but often they are too busy, too stressed, or simply don't have enough good ideas to make their staff feel appreciated on a consistent basis.

There are two groups of people who walk into your office each day -- your patients and your staff. Both groups are important. It is very easy to get totally preoccupied with serving your patients because there is a sense of urgency associated with them. ("We need to take great care of them now because they are only here for a short time, and they pay the bills.") Your staff is just as important, but there is not that sense of urgency with them. ("They are here all the time, and they do not pay the bills.") Even though the urgency is not there, you must consistently let your staff know how much you appreciate them with effective rewards.

Rewards let your staff know that you care about them and are grateful for their efforts. Your people are aching to make a commitment to improve your practice. They only ask to be recognized for it. After all, William James has said, "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." This is so important in today's world because high tech needs to be balanced by an equal amount of high touch. Showing people your appreciation is the ultimate in high touch.

Rewards reinforce the kinds of behavior you want to see in the people who work for you. It has been said that the world's greatest management principle is, "You get what you reward." For clarity, I define a reward as any positive reinforcement. A recognition is a reward that does not involve the giving of something material -- for example, a compliment. Your staff is eager to make a commitment to improve your practice. They only ask to be recognized for it.

You can tell a lot about a dental office when you walk in the door. Some practices feel cold, impersonal, and indifferent. Others radiate warmth and caring. The way you treat your staff is going to set the tone for how they treat one another and your patients. You do not get satisfied patients without first having satisfied employees. It all begins with you, and implementing a well-constructed reward program is a great place for you to begin. An effective program is "the right thing to do," and it will have a direct, bottom-line impact in your practice. Such programs have been proven to decrease costs and increase revenue. Rewards decrease stress, absenteeism, and turnover. They increase morale, productivity, and work becomes fun. Consequently, profits will rise.

The first-ever National Brush Day will take place Nov. 1, 2013, the day after Halloween. It's a perfect time to remind parents and kids about the importance of good habits for healthy teeth. The Ad Council is implementing a national campaign with the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, which is intended to supply parents with simple ways to improve their children's oral health. Their website offers a collection of free, two-minute videos featuring characters from Sesame Street, Cartoon Network, and My Kazoo that kids can watch while brushing.

Joe Blaes, DDS, Editor
email: [email protected]

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