Endo Mastery



There’s an old saying about how, if you want to make sure something gets done, you should ask a busy person to do it. Busy people have to stay focused in order to get things done, and consequently they get many more things done than unfocused people. It’s a blessing and a curse. The curse is what drives Busy Doctor Syndrome.


Doctors caught up in the busy syndrome are resistant to anything that appears to make their life more complicated than it is now, even things that will eventually make it better. They have their nose to the grindstone and they are not looking up to even notice the opportunities around them. All they care about is checking off that daily list of things that need to be done.


The list gets populated by things that need to be done in the practice, and things that need to be done in life. Most people divide their time between work and life and many people talk about work/life balance. But what is generally true of the busy syndrome is that regardless of where you draw the line, a busy person tends to fill up the available time on both sides. It’s rare to find someone who is time-limited and overwhelmed at work while being relaxed and unstressed at home, and vice versa.

No one else can do it …

The problem is that busy people fall into the “no one else can do it” trap. They take on tasks and responsibilities because they feel they are the only person who can. In reality, “no one else can do it” is actually an abbreviation for:

This leads to some unusual anomalies in the choices of busy doctors. For example, consider a task that occurs over and over again every month that a team member could be trained to do very well. Every time the task comes up, the busy doctor has a choice to slow down and take the time to train a team member, or to do the task easily, quickly and correctly themselves. Because their mindset is predominantly shaped by the feeling and focus of being “too busy right now”, they endlessly put off the beneficial step of training and delegating.

Overcoming the busy syndrome

Not surprisingly, resistance to training and delegating is actually commonplace in endodontic practices. When Endo Mastery begins coaching with our clients, we analyze the doctor’s activities and daily flow. Almost as a rule, doctors are generally losing at least 2 hours of every day on tasks that could be delegated to team members. That’s a big chunk of time that could be better spent by the doctor to reduce their busy syndrome while delivering care to more patients with less stress.


If you’re feeling the busy syndrome in your life, start by asking what is the simplest thing you do all the time that you could train a team member to do. Nothing is too small, and small things are the easiest to train at first. Do one thing every week, and progressively move to more comprehensive tasks. It is a process for sure and one that is a lot easier with coaching because Endo Mastery does the training for you. But on your own, you can make a big dent on your time crunch as all the little delegated tasks add up.




Last week, I was discussing the growth and success of a coaching client with my team. By implementing Endo Mastery systems, the client had added over $750,000 to their take-home profits in the last year compared to the previous year. At the same time, their stress level has plummeted, their team is happier, and the doctor is loving their practice and life at a whole new level.

Real-life success stories like that are unbelievable and incredible … and that’s the fundamental challenge we were discussing. When we can help doctors create success that is literally best described as defying belief or credibility, how do we communicate those stories in a way that motivates other doctors? How do we help doctors overcome their instinct to disbelieve when the results are so amazing and disproportionate to their own experience?

Doctors trust other doctors more than they trust marketing claims but putting a figure like $750,000 in a client testimonial is difficult. First, a lot of doctors don’t want their income exposed in such as public way. It’s regarded as impolite in many circles to talk about your income so openly. So, we’re often left to describe success in abstract terms like percentages or case numbers, which don’t have the same truth-telling effect.


Now, I agree that $750,000 is an eye-popping number. But would your reaction to $500,000 be any different? It’s still disbelief from most doctors. What about $250,000? That would nearly double the take-home income of the average endodontist, so it’s still in the realm of incredulity that would trigger the inner critic of many doctors.

Blind Spots and Incremental Mindsets

Most doctors are tied to the mindsets around their current practice systems, team dynamics, schedule, referrers and economics. They’d be happy with 10% growth in a year, which is such an incremental way of thinking that is driven by blind spots doubting what can be achieved. That’s why the first reaction to learning about what Endo Mastery does for clients is, “How is it even possible?”

That incremental mindset and disbelief is also why coaching seems like an expensive cost at first. The client I’ve been discussing had the same wavering concerns at the beginning: “How can I trust these success stories?” and “Will it give me a return that is worthwhile?” Hindsight is 20:20. I wish I could have told the doctor that our program will pay him back over $4 million in the next 5 years.

When you accept that your blind spots are what limits your success, then the only reasonable course of action is to get out of your own way. You need to look at your practice and life differently—in a vision and possibilities way rather than an incremental way.

Inspiring a New Vision

The first step is always finding inspiration to believe in a new vision. I personally want every endodontist to truly know how great their practice and life can be in endodontics. While we can’t put everything into a testimonial, we can provide you with a list of doctors who are happy to talk to you personally and tell you about their experiences on a first-hand basis.




Onboarding a new team member can make or break their transition to becoming a productive and valued member of your team. Great onboarding is a planned and supportive process that purposefully brings the team member up to speed with the practice’s operations and goals. The opposite is an unplanned or non-existent process that leaves the team member to either sink or swim — with everyone likely to be frustrated or disappointed.


Great onboarding is vital to integrating the team member with your current team and aligning them to your daily flow and systems. Remember there are two sides to every task performed in the practice: what is done and how it is done in your practice. Even if you are able to hire a new team member highly experienced in endodontic practices and what needs to be done, their training and habits will be based on how their previous practice did those things … which can be significantly different from your way.


A great onboarding plan is designed to close those experience/training gaps and support the new hire to become as competent and successful in their new position as possible. Here are 5 things you should always do:

1. Set expectations early

the job description and the performance criteria that is expected. Explain that their past experience is a foundation, and they must be coachable to adapt and learn your practice’s approach and systems. Emphasize how everyone in the practice contributes to onboarding by sharing their knowledge openly and supportively.

The most important expectations that you set establish a vision for the new team member about your practice. Share your vision for teamwork, for patient care, for clinical excellence and for the practice’s current and future goals. If you have a strong and effective team, allow them to interview the new hire as well; it sends an important leadership message that great team performance is recognized with trust and responsibility.

2. Have a Day 1 plan

The first day is important. The new team member will likely be nervous and unsure what to expect. Personally welcome them with warmth and appreciation and set aside time for the entire team to welcome them too (perhaps with a first-day celebration lunch). A positive energy start will make everyone more relaxed.

Prior to the first day, have your office manager and your lead clinical assistant ensure all policy, procedure and office manuals are up to date. On the first day, the new hire should read and initial all pages. All HR paperwork that hasn’t been completed beforehand should be prepared and completed on the first day, especially payroll information, benefits enrollments and any legal documentation required.

You should also have computer logins and email set up, do a basic orientation of the practice facility, their primary workspace, the location of supplies, and other useful information. Give the team member a list of everyone’s names, positions, phone numbers and emails. Perform any OSHA or HIPAA training and certifications.

3. Allow the first week to shadow all departments

A new team member joining your team is like a car merging onto a high-speed freeway. Observing everything in motion is critical. For the first week, allow the new team member to shadow everyone and everything in the practice. For example, 2 days with the admin team and 2 days with the clinical team.


Not only does this allow the new team member to see tasks being performed, but they are also observing how you manage the schedule and patient flow, how you work together as a team, how you communicate with each other and patients, and how the team supports the doctor’s productivity and preferences.

4. Create a structured 3-month training plan

After the first week, you will begin integrating the new team member while following a training plan that has been developed in advance for the position. Your new hire will begin to take on tasks, usually after one-on-one training with another team member. For example, a new administrator would learn the scheduling template and strategy to appoint a referred patient. A new assistant would learn fundamental clinical tasks like sterilization, tray set up and the doctor’s clinical processes and preferences during treatment.

You should not take for granted anything until you have observed the new hire in action. Be thorough to train and review all tasks and responsibilities. The first month of training should focus on routine daily tasks so that the new team member can be relied upon to execute those tasks effectively and consistently at the highest level as soon as possible. The second month should focus on more advanced systems, strategies and responsibilities. The third month should be focused on rounding out their knowledge and cross-training so they would be capable to step in fully if another team member was sick or away for personal reasons.

5. Schedule regular competency review meetings

Finally, it’s important to have regular competency review meetings during the training period. The doctor should participate in these meetings to monitor progress and share their insights and observations; however, these meetings would be led primarily by the office manager (or lead clinical assistant if appropriate for an assistant position). In the first month, meet every week. In the second month, every other week. In the third month, meet at the end of the training. 


During these meetings, completed training should be reviewed and the progress of the new hire assessed. The goal is not to find fault, but to focus on positive and steady improvement and growth. The leadership of the practice should act as an advocate for the new hire by coaching and supporting them to master proficiencies and achieve success in their role.

The labor landscape

Given the challenges of today’s tight labor market, a strong onboarding process can save you a lot of heartache. You really don’t want to give up too soon on a new hire because starting that process over again is time-consuming and costly. It really is best to hire the best person you can and bring them up to speed the right way so your team becomes stronger than ever.




Two years ago, no one predicted exactly how much the worldwide supply chain would be disrupted by the pandemic. Even today, there’s a global shortage of computer chips needed to manufacture cars, a national shortage of baby formula, and many other examples.


Likewise, no one predicted how significantly the labor market would be disrupted, and how hard it would be today to hire practically anyone. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report earlier this month noted that there are 11.5 million job openings in the USA, which is the highest on record in over 20 years since they first started tracking.


As a business owner, predicting future possibilities and influences on your practice is important. You need to pay attention to the signs and signals that are coming your way, and interpret how you may be affected, and make plans to be prepared. Contemplating and preparing for things that, on a balance of probabilities, are becoming more likely to happen, lets you be proactive rather than reactive.

Underlying Assumptions

Even when things are going well, everything in your practice is based on certain factors continuing along the same path. What underlying assumptions in your current success dynamics are most vulnerable to change? For example:

We have a tendency when things are going well to take our eye off the ball. We behave more like grasshoppers than ants, assuming that summer will go on forever and winter will never come. A lot of endodontic practices have been in the grasshopper mode for the last 9 to 12 months. The pandemic shut down patient flow in GP offices early in the pandemic, and last year when restrictions started to lift, there was pent-up demand for dental care. Referrals in Endo Mastery-coached practices surged above average.


At some point, soon probably, the surge will diminish and we don’t know yet what level it will fall to. Maybe we’ll go back to our pre-pandemic normality. Maybe the concerning level of inflation will drive up interest rates and suppress discretionary spending again (yes, for many people, dentistry is discretionary). Maybe companies struggling with supply issues, rising costs and employment challenges, will reduce or limit insurance benefits. Plus, it’s pretty much guaranteed that insurance companies will pass their increased costs onto providers in the form of lower reimbursement.

Counting On Yourself

Whatever you believe may happen in the near future, the goal with prediction is to identify the factors that you have some control over, and take action on that basis. You may not be able to influence external factors like the rate of inflation or the stock market, but you do have control within your own sphere. For example, you have influence over your team and referrers, and you have the ability to drive your profitability high enough to weather any up or down cycle without distress.


The best investment you can ever make is in yourself and your practice. It gives you both the highest rate of return and the least dependence on external forces that you can’t control. You are your own best bet to drive growth and success, and Endo Mastery is a great partner to support you!




If you’ve ever bought a home with a huge lawn and a lot of manicured landscaping, you learn how much effort it takes for maintenance. Suddenly, a big chunk of every weekend is consumed by going back and forth with the lawnmower, grooming shrubs with clippers, and attacking weeds.


As beautiful as the result may be, it is ultimately lost time. Your free time is so valuable that there are literally hundreds of more enjoyable and/or more important things you could do. Pretty quickly, you are calling a landscaping company to take care of your property for you. It’s a great moment of decisive delegation that you’ll never regret.

When to let go

In every area of your life, professionally and personally, there are opportunities to delegate that can make big improvements to the quality of life. If you declutter your time from the burden and busywork of tasks that can be done by others, you feel a cleansing and streamlining of daily living. Distractions and stress are reduced.


Here are four natural opportunities to consider delegation:

●   Things you don’t enjoy: The “maintenance” tasks associated with many things, such as homes, vehicles, and the practice are frequently on our least-liked list. Not only do they take up time, but they drain our energy.


●  Things that require specialized knowledge or skills: There are some things that, even if we might enjoy it, we don’t have the knowledge or skills to do it at the right level. I wouldn’t hire myself to renovate a kitchen or write a legal agreement, and I definitely want a pro preparing my taxes.


●  Things that dilute the value of your time: This is a big one, especially in the practice. Most RCTs can be completed in under an hour of actual treatment time, but most endodontists only complete 3 to 4 cases per day. It’s a sure sign they are diluting their time with too many other tasks.


●  Things that are trainable: Some of the easiest things to delegate are those that can be trained and repeated consistently once trained. Teaching your kid how to mow the lawn when they’re old enough is a good example.

When to hold on

The flipside of delegation is what you retain in your tasks and activities. Here are some guidelines to consider:

●  Things that are mission critical: Enjoyable or not, some things you have to do. Only you, because you have to ensure it is done right. For example, you should always be the person signing business checks, and you should always interview and do reference checks on anyone that you hire.


Things that are enjoyable: Hobbies and pastimes are things we love to do. You might be one of those people that absolutely loves to work in the garden. Keep the things that make life fun!


Things that are meaningful: Some things we do are not for family, business or enjoyment, but they add meaning to our life. We might feel a responsibility to our community, faith or social causes, and we devote our time to feel a sense of contribution or personal growth.


Things that are rewarding: By rewarding, I mean tangibly rewarding as in the things that drive our income, wealth and lifestyle. For most endodontists, that means being a practicing endodontist and becoming more productive and successful in their business.

Practice delegation rule

While preferences and priorities can influence many delegation decisions in your personal life, in the practice there is a pretty clear line. Your reference point for delegation should be: What is the doctor legally required to do?


With that frame of reference, you can focus on what training and coaching needs to be done with the team. For everything that you are doing as part of patient appointments that can be legally performed by a team member instead, you should be training your team to that level and then delegate (aside from a limited number of personal preferences).


That process will completely change your perception of how you should be spending your time in the practice. It will open up your schedule to allow for growth. Most importantly, idle unproductive time will not be able to hide in the clutter of activities you did in the past. You will have time and energy to focus on marketing and growth so your daily cases number begin to rise.


Adding just two cases per day to your schedule through more efficiency as a result of delegation will feel effortless. In fact, once you have optimized your time, doing more cases each day will actually feel easier. And the economic benefits are significant. Two more cases per day can result in a $400,000 to $500,000 increase in annual profit. That’s a very sweet and stress-free life!



I don’t know any more about elephants than the average person, but I am confident that taking care of an elephant requires specialized skills. If I were responsible for one, I would strive to be much better than the average elephant caregiver. I would want my elephant to be as happy and healthy as possible.


You are responsible for an elephant, in the form of your practice. Endodontists go to dental school, not business school, so most endodontists learn business ownership by necessity and by the seat of their pants. As a result, endodontic practice owners understand business ownership better than the general population. That much is true.


But what if my question was whether you understand business ownership better than your colleagues, who are also endodontic practice owners? Most doctors would answer that they are average, which actually means that they don’t know for sure. That’s a huge blindspot because you should know how well you are doing at making your practice “as happy and healthy as possible.”

Overcoming Your Blindspot

How does my practice appear to a referring doctor? How does my team appear to a referring An ancient elephant parable tells the story about how 6 blind men each touched different parts of the elephant to describe it. Depending on what part they touched, they formed different perspectives on what an elephant is. The tail is a rope, the side is a wall, the ear is a fan, the leg is a tree, the tusk is a spear, and the trunk is snake. None of them had the full picture.


Endodontists spend the vast majority of their time focused on treatment. That’s a great perspective on clinical care for the doctor. But heads-down in the operatory on a daily basis is a very limited perspective as a business owner, and it is the source of many blindspots and missed opportunities.


If clinical care is the heart of the practice, then viewing your practice from the position of a doctor in the operatory is akin to looking from the inside out. As a practice owner, you need to look at your practice from the outside in. Here are some perspective questions you should cultivate to overcome blindspots. Think about each one as a blind man touching just one part of your practice. What do they sense and what conclusions do they reach?

● How does my practice appear to a referring doctor? How does my team appear to a referring doctor’s team?

●   How do I compare with other endodontists in my area? What is unique or different about my practice compared to those practices? What do I or my team do better than other endodontists and their teams? Where are we deficient?

●   What perception do patients have when they speak to my practice on the phone? What first impressions are created by my facility and team when the patient arrives. What experience does the patient have during their appointment?

●   What is the experience of team members who work in my practice? Beyond clinical care, what would my team describe as my main priorities as a business leader?

●   What is my family’s perception of my practice, my responsibilities, and my work schedule?

●   If I was a different doctor who was buying my practice, what opportunities would I see that have not been taken? What deficiencies or limitations have been allowed to persist?

●   How do I feel as the owner of my practice? Have I achieved my vision?

●   How would an outside coach view my practice and opportunities?

The last question, obviously, relates very closely to Endo Mastery. It’s what we do. Most doctors have difficulty developing their “outside in” perspective for two reasons. The first reason, already mentioned, is that delivering clinical care is the heart of the practice. You can’t be everywhere else at the same time. Second, most doctors don’t have the broad-based knowledge across the whole profession to evaluate their practices objectively. As a result, most doctors vastly underestimate their opportunities for improvement and growth, and fail to act on those opportunities.


As coaches, we see this pattern everyday. Doctors are astounded by the level of growth they can achieve, how quickly they achieve it, and how blind they were to those possibilities before they started coaching. The light goes on once you shift your perspective and start asking the right questions.



Why do some practices embrace change and growth easily while other practices have difficulty? This question lingers in the back of the mind of many doctors when they think about their goals. Often, it is a concern that the team may resist or be incapable of growth that causes some doctors to doubt that their vision can be achieved.


In over 25 years as a practice coach, I can tell you with certainty that I have never met an endodontic team that is simply incapable of growth and improvement. The vast majority of endodontic team members genuinely care about patients, and they genuinely want the practice and doctor to be successful. With the right leadership, they are ready.


However, many teams have deeply entrenched processes and dynamics that can hold them back. That is to be expected. There is a lot to do in a practice on a daily basis, and a small team has to work out who, what and how everything gets done. This gets repeated year after year until it is automatic and habitual.


Change and improvement means breaking away from set routines, and the most effective way to do that is to align the team to a new vision that is exciting and worthwhile. That is what team alignment means, and the energy and commitment of the doctor is so important.


There is a simple truth in leadership that what you care and focus on (as the leader) is what the team will care about and focus on. If you are focused on consistency, the team will work to standardize everything. If you are focused on low stress, the team will do everything they can to avoid stressful situations. If you are focused on micromanagement, the team will ask for your guidance on every little detail.


Teams align themselves to the energy field of their leader. Happy leaders tend to have happy teams. Process-driven leaders have process-focused teams. And, vitally, visionary leaders have teams committed to improvement and growth that is needed to achieve the vision. Without that guiding energy and commitment, it’s much more challenging for teams to step out of their comfort zone.


I always enjoy coaching practices where the doctor has a very strong and clear vision. The tone, energy and anticipation of success that the doctor brings into the practice every morning is inspiring to the team. When the doctor can articulate their goals to the team, they create a very positive environment where growth can thrive.


Of course, vision and inspiration are only the start. When you engage the team in this way, you have to do more than just communicate a vision. You have to provide the resources and guidance that teams need to actually change and grow successfully.


That’s where a practice coach really fills a need in the growth of a practice. We help doctors define their vision in a way that the team can get behind it. We help teams shift, step-by-step, from old habits to a new approach designed to achieve that vision. It’s a very exciting, fun and positive process for the entire practice!



If you could magically reside in patients’ minds as endodontic conditions develop, you would see a pattern of behavior develop. On the balance, considering the general population of patients, when do most patients take action and seek out diagnosis and treatment?

●   In stage 1, patients might notice very mild initial symptoms: a twinge or something feels distinctly “off” at times. Most patients will be dismissive of initial symptoms unless they are exceptionally proactive and dentally educated.


●   In stage 2, symptoms progress to a steady concern: there is a growing discomfort that distracts them regularly. Some patients will seek out care, but many will “watch and wait”, and perhaps use OTC treatments to minimize symptoms or search the web for home remedies and advice.


●   In stage 3, discomfort escalates into pain: an ever-present throb and ache makes them unhappy and disturbs their sleep. Many patients will reluctantly realize that treatment is needed, although some cling to the false hope that the situation will resolve itself without effort, cost or intervention.


●   In stage 4, pain becomes severe and hard to bear: they are in crisis to find emergency relief as soon as possible. Patients make emergency calls to their GP, and their GP makes an emergency referral to the endodontist.

Considering how frequently we see emergency patients in endodontic practices, it’s a pretty clear sign that human nature is often biased towards waiting until pain is constant and the state of crisis is compelling.

Physician, heal thyself

At Endo Mastery, we see the same pattern in doctors with respect to their practices and lives. Some are proactive and vision-oriented, but many doctors are motivated to call us because symptoms in their practice and life are causing growing discomfort.


There are a wide range of symptoms that start out as a twinge but, as time passes, escalate to become greater concerns. Common ones include:

●   Stress around debt or cash flow

●   Decrease in energy or not having fun

●   Business or team management burdens

●   Team drama or poor team dynamics

●   Desire to work less without sacrificing income

●   Frustration from lack of growth, desire to grow

●   Loss of a key referrer or competitive pressures

●   Changing life goals and adapting the practice

●   Difficulty training the team

●   Desire to improve lifestyle and income

●   Feeling a lack of opportunities or resources

Waiting until you reach a point of crisis undermines everything you are working for. If something is needling you to the point where you are worried about it every day, carrying the stress around with you, and making it difficult to relax or sleep, then it’s clearly time to take action.

Visualizing Your Future

A great exercise is to think of what you want your practice and life to be like in 5 years. That is enough time to change literally everything and bring your practice and life into alignment with your ideal vision. But a lot of doctors don’t do this because they feel they don’t have enough opportunities, resources or control to achieve their desired outcome.


You don’t really know, however, until you dig in and start to take action leading to a solution. So, that is useful advice that we can learn from your patients: Don’t ignore the voice in your head until you’re in crisis.



Endodontists naturally slide toward the “people pleaser” pattern. After all, it is within your professional ethics to put the needs of the patient ahead of all other concerns. For patient care, that is a good thing … but when people pleasing drives other important areas of your life, it can work against you.

In personal coaching with many doctors, I have found that people pleasing shows up in a number of limiting ways in the practice:

What people-pleasing actually does is create a leadership and accountability void in the practice. The surest sign is when you feel you are stuck at a certain level for a while. You don’t feel the team is evolving or improving. Your practice finances have not kept up with your personal goals. You sense a widening gap between where your practice is and where you wish it could be.

The antidote for people pleasers is to find a new philosophy and approach to take care of people without feeling personally responsible. That is what being a people leader is about. People leaders create the opportunities and framework in which those they lead can be successful, provided those team members are also engaged and interested in doing their part to achieve it.

As a people leader, your primary responsibility is to define a vision and the steps/goals to achieve that. Within that vision, you visualize the paths that allow your team to rise to the new opportunity, and you create team alignment, belief and commitment to the future you have envisioned.

For doctors who have been in people pleasing mode for a long time, asserting a more articulated vision is challenging. The doctor’s vision has been suppressed, sometimes for years. Shifting your style from pleaser to leader also means changing how the team perceives and responds to you, which requires some fortitude to see it through the initial bumps on the road.

Many doctors can benefit from outside professional support as they take back leadership of their practice to chart a new course. That professional support can include continuing education to illuminate and validate the doctor’s goals for the team, and to build team alignment for a better future. It also includes professional practice coaching with an experienced coach who knows how to get practices over the hump and onto a new trajectory.

Of course, both seminars and coaching are part of the solutions that Endo Mastery offers. If you are interested in a free practice analysis to discover both possibilities for your vision and how to get your team on board, don’t hesitate to call us.