Endo Mastery

ENGAGING YOUR TEAM IN NEW GOALS

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

In just 3 weeks, the calendar year comes to an end. Most business owners, while enjoying the holiday season with their family, will also be performing their final analysis of the year. Did your practice grow over last year? Have your referral relationships improved? Is your team stable and progressing? Where did you end up in terms of your economic goals?

 

It’s a natural time to start thinking about what you want from your practice next year. In fact, setting new goals each year is one of the most important responsibilities for a business leader. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, an annual focus on improvement keeps a practice vital, rather than coasting and slowly becoming run down over time.

 

Of course, the biggest challenge every practice owner faces is team inertia, which is the tendency of teams to stick to the tried-and-true instead of implementing changes that may have uncertain results. It’s usually not a conscious choice that teams make. It’s a subconscious dynamic where people skew toward doing what they already know well.

 

For any business to make progress, you must engage the team with energy and focus so that they want to make a sincere and concerted effort. Here are some things that help teams embrace change and growth daily:

Show your commitment

Team engagement shadows your engagement. Many teams are accustomed to doctors coming into the practice excited about a new idea, but often within weeks or days, commitment to that idea wavers or is forgotten. You must demonstrate that you are committed to any new goals, that those goals are important to you, and that you care about the results. Your commitment needs to outlast any initial bumps in the road as you begin to make changes. When the team understands that new goals are the “new normal” for the practice, they adapt faster. 

Breakdown goals and roles

While you may have general or broad objectives for growth or improvement, team members need more details. Goals should be specific and, ideally, they should be measurable. Most team members also need clarity for how their role on the team influences the results, especially when the goal is dependent on teamwork and not the actions of just one person.

Ask for their help

Team members engage more when they feel they are contributing to the team’s efforts to reach new goals. A vital step you can take as practice leader is to ask the team for their help to reach the goal. Despite the fact that you are their employer, each of them knows their job better than you know their job. They know what aspects are inefficient, ineffective, need better resources, could improve with more training, or have untapped potential for growth. Ask them to make suggestions and incorporate good ideas into the plan.

Inspire with possibilities

For teams that work together long-term, a history develops, and patterns form in work relationships, job roles and expectations. Days develop a familiar routine of predictability, which can consistently produce good results but doesn’t provide a lot of motivation beyond that.

 

This is a classic example of a team that needs to be inspired and their passion for great patient care and practice success reignited to embrace new avenues of growth and new goals. How do you give them a new vision for possibilities? Get them out of their day-to-day mindset. Bringing in a coach or taking them to a weekend seminar are great ideas.

 

At Endo Mastery, one of the greatest team motivators we have is that coaching clients along with their teams can visit Dr. Ace Goerig’s practice to observe and interact with his team while patients are provided care. This experience really awakens the energy in teams when they see a high-performing team approach the same tasks that they have but achieve such incredibly better results with ease. Many doctors describe this event as a turning point in their team’s growth.

Recognize progress

Finally, it’s essential that you recognize effort and progress when it occurs. Nothing new is perfect out of the gate, and any changes are bound to experience some hiccups at the beginning. Keep your team believing in the goal by recognizing each step of progress. Little celebrations along the way, from daily verbal recognition of individual efforts to recognition of overall teamwork keeps the energy high to carry on.

SERVING THE ENDODONTIC COMMUNITY

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

I love endodontics. It’s such a great profession with incredible opportunities, especially once you crack the nut of how to be very productive and efficient clinically. At that point, you are on a glide path to such an abundant and rewarding life that easily surpasses most other dental specialties.

 

It’s important to me to give back to the endodontic community. The greatness of our profession today is the result of generations of endodontists contributing to the science and practice of endodontic treatment. The American Associate of Endodontists was founded in 1943 to further advance endodontics, and 20 years later endodontics was recognized as an official specialty in the dental profession. In the same way, as practicing endodontists today, it is our actions that will shape the profession’s future.

 

I like to help as many endodontists as possible experience the highest level of success in the profession. Within that objective, helping endodontic residents and new endodontists get started by taking the right first steps into the profession is near and dear to me.

 

Earlier in November, I held a complimentary one-day seminar program, “Pathway to Your Ideal Career in Endodontics”, for young endodontists. It was such an enjoyable day with a lot of energy and interactivity from these hopeful and ambitious young doctors. In the past, I’ve also given one-day virtual seminars to residents at many of our endodontic graduate programs.

 

Young endodontists today face a different world than those in the past. Most of them graduate with truly eye-watering student debt. In the past 40 years, while the average dentist’s income has tripled and the average home price has gone up 6-fold, the average tuition for dental school has skyrocketed by 16 times … and that’s not including specialist residency.

 

Young endodontists literally can’t afford to make any mistakes starting out. I honestly worry about them stuck in low-paying associate or corporate positions where they are saddled with their debt for decades, have limited opportunity to save for purchasing a practice, and limited control over their future.

 

That’s not the endodontic profession that I’ve experienced. Without someone urging young doctors to explore all their options, they can too easily fall for the first position that can give them a salary … and potentially lose access to the amazing opportunities that independent practice owners have.

 

I want endodontics to continue to be a strong profession that is full of opportunities, both for doctors just starting out as well as those currently practicing with established practices. For new doctors, Endo Mastery will announce its complimentary resources for 2023 in the spring.

THANKSGIVING AND NURTURING THE BEST LIFE

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

Dear Colleague,

 

I have enjoyed incredible success as an endodontist, first in the army and then in private practice. It continues to be a very meaningful and satisfying professional life for which I am very grateful. It has provided an incredible foundation for my life.

 

Most of all, my professional success has afforded me such abundant resources to live the best life possible. Naturally, that includes material goods where I have the economics to purchase and enjoy practically anything I want in this world. As endodontists, we are very fortunate in that regard, and it is another aspect of my gratitude.

 

More importantly in my gratitude are the nurturing experiences that I’ve been able to enjoy with my family over many years. Nancy and I have built our family life around providing our children with uplifting and empowered experiences. These have not only enhanced their lives, but have shaped their world view, their goals, and their values. And now we have the great pleasure of being a nurturing presence in the lives of our grandchildren.

 

As our family and yours gather this Thanksgiving, I have no doubt that we are all acutely aware of the blessings in our lives. As family leaders, you will look around your holiday meal and feel a great deal of love and abundance with everyone at the table—all of whom to various degrees have benefited from the nurturing life you have opened up for them.

 

As endodontists, we have such an opportunity to be an agent of good in the world. We can support and nurture others and help them rise to their best level and experience their best life. It begins with us, our spouses, and our families, but our life leadership doesn’t stop there.

 

In fact, there is a vast circle of people who are influenced by you. This includes your friends, your practice team, their families who depend on them, your referrers and, of course, your patients. When you can give all these people around you the benefit of your attention, caring and goodness, what a force you become! That’s truly a responsibility and privilege that we should be very grateful for.

 

You may even have a vision that extends beyond your immediate contacts. You might have a cause or community in which you are impassioned about serving and supporting. For example, I am personally dedicated to helping every endodontist enjoy the same level of success and abundance in their lives that I have experienced. It truly is my personal mission to improve the profession that has given so much to me.

 

I believe that when we become successful professionally, then the stress and focus on “me” can shift to “we”. What is our legacy going to be and how can we achieve that higher calling? Every Thanksgiving, I am reminded of this, and so thankful to have the means to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

 

At this wonderful start to the holiday season, the Endo Mastery team and I want to express our gratitude for letting us into your practice and life. We strive to be a force of good for you, and help you experience all the professional and personal happiness possible.

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ace Signaturex200

Dr. Ace Goerig

DDS, MS, ABE Diplomate
Endo Mastery Owner

LIFE SENTENCE PRACTICE OR LIFESTYLE PRACTICE?

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

I haven’t “worked” in over 25 years … at least that is what it feels like. I love every day that I spend in my practice, and I have a lot of fun with my patients, team and referrers. Every day is stress-free and effortless. I arrive in the morning with high energy and feeling great, and I leave at the end of the day feeling the same or better!

 

This is possible because I created a “lifestyle” approach to practicing endodontics. I used to call this approach retire-in-practice—which reflects my personal feeling that I’m not really “working”—but the word retire gives the impression to others that it is something you can only do later in your professional life as you get closer to retirement. That is not the case.

 

I spent my first 20 years practicing endodontics in the army, so I was a newbie to private practice endodontics in my mid-forties. I was 20 years behind my residency peers! However, within 10 years I was far ahead of them because after talking with my contemporaries, I knew there had to be a better way than what they were describing. Here’s what they told me:

  • Meaningful growth in their practices had stalled, at least 5 or 10 years earlier. They had plateaued and were frustrated.
  • They were completing only 3 or 4 cases a day, which means they were making more money than the average Joe on the street but by no means rolling in riches like they imagined.
  • Most of them still had debt: school, practice acquisition and personal mortgage—a never-ending source of stress.
  • Some of them felt okay with respect to saving for their eventual retirement, but most felt they were seriously behind. A few were concerned they could never afford to retire.
  • Many felt worn out or tired, but they were afraid to take time off because they felt they had to be available for their referrers.
  • There was daily stress in the practice with the team and other management concerns. They weren’t having fun and there was a monotonous predictable drain on energy every day.

In short, the overall impression I got was that most of my peers were feeling that their practice life should be easier and better by that point, and their personal life was stuck as a result. The practice was taking up too much time, it was wearing them out, and they didn’t have the flexibility in their economics to do anything about it.

Defining the lifestyle practice

The list above became my focused checklist of things to avoid when setting up the lifestyle model in my practice. Therefore, the lifestyle practice is defined as having:

  • An easy, powerful and effective marketing system, driven by a marketing coordinator on the team, that strengthens referral relationships and allows the practice to keep growing.
  • Mastery of the scheduling strategy and financial systems of the practice with a highly trained office manager who is accountable for the efficiency of the team and success of the practice. Train the team to highest professional level so you never have to look over their shoulder and you never second-guess whether they are taking care of your practice with the utmost attention. Establish excellent reporting systems so you can “trust but verify” the key numbers and factors that drive the practice within minutes each day, week and month.
  • Implementing a coordinated clinical team approach to patient flow, treatment room efficiency and doctor productivity, so the doctor only does what is medically necessary for the doctor to do. This takes the heaviness out of a day and allows the doctor to routinely complete 7 or 8 cases per day with less stress than with the 3 or 4 cases they are doing now. This also results in the practice’s profitability to be 2 to 3 times higher than average.
  • Use the higher profitability to first pay down their debt and the stress burden that comes with it. Almost every doctor can become completely debt-free in as little as 3 to 6 years. After that, channel higher profitability into savings and personal (family) lifestyle.
  • Work no more than 4 days per week at first, and then when clinical efficiency and productivity allows it, cut back further—ideally to 3 days. Endodontics is mentally and physically demanding, and your long-term enjoyment of the profession depends on having sufficient rest. Working fewer days per week takes the heaviness out of the week and allows more balance with family and personal time.
  • Take at least 10 weeks off per year for regular vacation time so you remain energized and never feel worn out, burnt out or exhausted. Really take the time to enjoy your family and your life together. It’s the most important thing.
  • Enable a 3-days-per-week schedule (and eventually less if desired) by expanding the clinical capacity of the practice with another endodontist. This ensures full coverage 5 days per week for referrals. There are various ways to add another provider, from long-term associates, to associates who eventually buy-in as partners, to facility partnerships, to traditional business partnerships. In my case, I have long-term associates with minority ownership stakes and a right of first refusal when I finally sell. But for now, I’m still in control of the practice as majority owner.

Achieving your lifestyle vision

In summary, what creates the lifestyle practice is 5 things:

  • Being debt-free and stress-free
  • Earning 2 to 3 times the average endodontist
  • Working 3 or fewer days per week (with coverage)
  • 10+ weeks of vacation per year
  • Effortless daily flow and productivity that is fun.

This is our philosophy and vision at Endo Mastery for our clients, and it is what our coaching program is designed to do for every endodontist. In a year or two, you can close all the gaps that tell you things should be easier or better. In fact, we have clients in their early thirties who have done this already. They are living such an abundant life that every day inside and outside the practice is a dream.

 

It’s really not about how old you are, or how many years in practice. It’s just about making the decision to optimize and prioritize the practice and team with expert guidance so that you get growth back, get enjoyment back, and get your life back.

 

Stop feeling like your practice is a life sentence!

 

I encourage you to give us a call at 1-800-482-7563 or email Debra Miller, Director of Coaching, at debra@endomastery.com to set up a complimentary 1-on-1 conversation about your lifestyle and practice goals.

MAKING CRITICAL LEADERSHIP DECISIONS

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

I’ve been working a lot with young endodontists this year, helping them navigate the crucial decisions they have to make when they are just starting out. But once you’re launched, that doesn’t mean the decisions are over. A lot of doctors reach a point in their careers where they have a gut feeling that it’s not living up to their expectations. Common reasons include:

  • Feeling stressed and not enjoying every day
  • Team issues and drama that never ends
  • Too much business management and busywork

  • Tenuous referral relationships that fail to prosper
  • Disconnected from endodontic colleagues
  • Lack of personal and family time
  • Lost enthusiasm and feeling tired or burnt out
  • Debt and financial stress that persists

The right time for change

All of the above points are symptoms of the need for a practice leader to make changes. Concerns don’t correct themselves on their own and allowing them to continue very often leads to them getting worse over time. A gut feeling becomes discomfort, which can become pain. It’s no different than a patient’s clinical symptoms. Untreated, things are likely to get more difficult (and more  expensive) in the future. The best time to figure out your options and take steps is when you first notice symptoms.

 

Often doctors are reluctant to take action at the first signs because they are not sure if the concerns are temporary. I would say after a year or so of anything nagging in your head or causing stress that it’s not a temporary concern that will resolve itself with your current approach and processes.

 

The other common reaction to concerns is to doubt their validity or question whether anything can be done anyway. This is the procrastination voice inside your head that searches for reasons to delay making difficult choices. Whenever you find yourself saying “I’m too busy to deal with it now,” or “My team isn’t ready or capable,” or any number of similar deflections, it’s a sign that you are reacting negatively rather than taking the proactive steps that you should be making.

Making decisions

Once you’ve decided to take action, the question is “What action?” There are different ways that people approach this question, but my preferred approach is to always educate myself first, and quickly. This is especially the case where I’m treading in new waters. I recognize it is my knowledge gap that is the primary limitation holding me back.


It’s tempting to put yourself into an endless cycle of gathering options, comparing and contrasting, and ruminating over the pros and cons. This is also a delaying tactic because, to be honest, if you sincerely investigate options for any problem for a short and focused time, the primary reliable solutions reveal themselves very quickly. You don’t have to go on an exhaustive quest to Timbuktu to find what you actually need.


It is rare to have a situation where you have to deal with something that has never been dealt with in dental practices or business before. If you look around you, you will find colleagues who have conquered the very challenges you are facing. You will find companies who specialize in helping you address and implement the changes that will improve your practice and life.

Is it the right choice?

By far, our greatest fear is being wrong. Often, we want to have the entire process laid out in front of us with all the answers spelled to such a level of detail that we can quell our doubt. This “need to know all the answers in advance” is not usually possible, because you and your practice are unique.

 

A better way to think about it is headlights on your car when you’re driving at night. You don’t need to see the entire road ahead of you all the way to your destination. Your headlights illuminate enough of the next step or action you need to take to keep moving forward.

 

Think about everything you have successfully completed in the past without knowing the entire process. You completed dental school, endodontics residency, started your practice, hired a team and created a functioning business. Outside the practice, you probably have gained experience in getting married, purchasing a home and having children. Children, especially, don’t come with a handbook that answers all the parenting questions.

 

Your past successes should drive your confidence to address anything in your present and future. And with that mindset, all you need to do is to make a timely decision to begin the next stage of your journey of growth and success. Everything else will flow naturally.

HOW POSITIVITY DRIVES PRODUCTIVITY

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

As humans, we are hardwired to find risks and negativity. It’s built into our survival response. Rather than forge confidently into the forest, our instinct is to be cautious about the unknowns potentially lurking behind every tree … lions, tigers and bears, and so on.

 

For your team, the only lion, tiger or bear they will likely have to deal with is you when you’re in a bad mood or when something goes wrong. Your team is sensitive to your reactions, and there is a vast difference between teams with negativity-focused leaders and those with positivity-focused leaders.

 

Negative leaders react in ways that the team learns to avoid. Whether it’s anger, blame seeking or even the expression of disappointment, team members are uncomfortable in these situations. They adapt through avoidance, finger pointing, or making sure they cover their tracks whenever they perceive a situation that might set you off. In short, they become risk-averse and, rather than lean into the challenges of practice growth and success, they shrink away.

The inevitability of missteps

Growth in any worthwhile endeavor means achievement at a new level, which by definition is the result of you and your team forging into new territory. In these situations, no one can expect perfect results the first time so there are always going to be disturbances, roadblocks and unexpected twists and turns.

 

To succeed in growth requires you and your team to embrace those risks, to learn how to improve performance and productivity, and to employ creativity in finding effective solutions to things you’ve never done before. A negativity managed team is rarely up to the task, which makes your job as a leader so much more difficult. Like Sisyphus forever pushing a boulder uphill, it takes exceptional willpower and strength to make daily progress.

The power of positivity

The opposite of a problem-fearing and risk-averse team is a solutions-focused and opportunity-energized team, which can only be created through positivity from leadership.

 

The first element of positivity is accepting that we deal with many complicated and detailed things in our practices. Sometimes an instrument breaks during treatment. Sometimes the team overlooks a detail that has a ripple effect. Sometimes patients arrive late or no show. Once the milk has been spilled, there is no use crying about it. As leaders, we have to put on a smile, avoid our temptation to grind everyone to a halt in order to dissect blame in the moment, and keep the team moving forward.

 

The second element of positivity is radiating energy for growth, which means embracing that the entire team (including you) are on a journey of learning and growth together. Perfection is not the goal, but progress is. With that mindset, individual and team efforts to improve should be shared and celebrated. As much as teams avoid negativity, they are drawn into positive recognition, reinforcement and rewards. 

 

The third element of positivity is investing in your growth and your team so that your practice becomes a place that you truly enjoy, where you can be happy every moment you are there, and where you can have fun. Building this kind of effortless and productive environment makes it easy to smile every day because your vision and goals as a practice owner are being achieved consistently and at the highest level.

Changing the game for your team

Every problem, challenge or stress you face in your practice has a solution that involves your team. 90% of practice growth is driven by the team, so engaging your team is the #1 job of a practice leader.

 

A great way to bring the team together and chart a new course for growth is at the Endo Mastery 2-day seminar, “Mastering the Effortless Endodontic Practice”. Our program is specifically designed to align your team around a new vision for productivity and teamwork, and to give you the insights into daily opportunities that your team can focus on.

BUSY DOCTOR SYNDROME

DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING

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.

OVERCOME BLIND SPOTS TO FIND YOUR NEXT LEVEL

DR. ACE GOERIG

OWNER & CO-FOUNDER

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.

5 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE ONBOARDING OF NEW TEAM MEMBERS

CHRISTINE HOXHA

PRACTICE COACH

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.

PREDICTING YOUR PRACTICES FUTURE

CYNTHIA GOERIG

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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!