Friday, 24 September 2010

Bring PLAY into your practice

As I am working with my clients I am noticing that as they bring more ‘PLAY’ into their business and lives they are becoming more successful and much happier nicer people to be around too, which establishes a delightful virtuous circle.

P is for Passion, those things you love doing, the places you most enjoy being and for the people you most want to be around.

L is for Learning, about you and others, discovering new ways of doing business, new ways of being, new skills and habits and consolidating and mastering skills you already have.

A is for awareness, paying attention to what is happening around you so you notice the influence and impact you have on others and yourself and how other people are influencing you and pulling your strings. When you stand back and are aware you can make new choices.

Y is for You. The dentists and other business owners I work with spend a lot of time and money looking after and servicing their equipment, and yet you are the most integral thing in your business and now is the time to look after yourself, your health, fitness, diet, sleep, overcoming destructive patterns and addictions such as alcohol, drugs, impatience, anger etc, and to care for your friends family, your mind and spirit.

If you want to bring more play into your work place call me now and find out how I can help you. Ccll 07989 757 884 or e mail

Friday, 17 September 2010

This could be the most inspirational 30 minutes of your weekend

Please find 30 minutes this weekend to watch this video, it is truly inspirational and will reignite your passion, for life and business and most importantly for people and purpose.

Who are the 25 people who have helped you change your life?

Mine include

  • Miss Richardson (My biology teacher)
  • My Father
  • My Grandmother
  • Paul Tipton
  • Chris Barrow
  • Tony Robbins
  • Suzie Smith
  • Ian McDermott
  • My practice manager who stole a lot of money from me –I do thank you for that (genuinely)
  • My niece and nephew
Click here to watch video now

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Dance for change

I wanted to share with you a great at little acronym that is useful to create a shift in our attitude is the DANCE model. has been introduced to me by a great friend and colleague John Dashfield, john is not sure where who orignially coined the acroym and he thinks it may be Thomas Crum

Whoever developed it it is worth using if you want to change an attitude, behaviour, belief or habit that until now you held.

The DANCE model works like this:

D is for Desire. This means knowing and always staying connected to your outcome. Keep your intentions clear at all times. Remember that we only ever class something as a 'problem' because we perceive that it's in the way of getting our outcome. The very best place to put any problem is in the past.

A is for Action. Take massive action towards your outcome. Do something every day, raise your game and keep the momentum going. Even if results are slow just the process of being in action keeps you motivated.

N is for Notice. Be aware of the feedback and results you're getting. Notice the direction your actions are taking you in.

C is for Change. Be prepared to change what you're doing if you're not getting the result. Someone told me an aeroplane is actually off course for up to 90% of a journey. It's only by constant adjustment that it eventually reaches it's destination.

E is for Emulate. Find people who've already done what you're about to do, or similar and emulate their success. By modelling successful people's thinking, beliefs and processes you can often massively shortcut the learning curve.

Ultimately, dancing with life means to be on purpose and acting out of your vision. You may not be able to predict the future but you can choose to dance on a moving carpet rather than have the rug pulled out from under you.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Business coaching from a cycle ride part 3

By now, you know that I recently cycled from Oxford to Putney bridge and onto Paddington for the train home. This trip also highlighted to me many aspects how to run a successful business, and is providing me many great metaphors in my role as your dental business coach.

As I have mentioned previously I didn’t do any focused training for the trip, and that in itself reinforced to me one of the central presuppositions of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

That is that we already have within us all we need or we can create them. Because I found everything I needed within me to reach my goal within the time parameters that I had set.

The first afternoon was really quite tough I was pedalling from Wallingford to Caversham, the sustrans trail would take us an indirect and very hilly route through Ipsden and Stoke row. My friend and I were already feeling a little weary and so we decided to take the more direct route along the main road A4074. This too was a fairly hilly route, to the novice fair weather cyclist like me. As I was getting off and on my bike pushing up the hills, coasting along the flat bits and really enjoying flying down the hills that this stretch of the route that reminded me of running a dental practice or any other business.

In your practices I hope that you have an overall goal with many other small goals or achievements that you have along the way. (If you don’t call me and I will help you clarify your vision and purpose). Your targets could include, awards you want to win, dates to want to retire, equipment you want to buy, the service you want to offer to patients, the types of treatments you want to make available, the number of days you want to work, many many things you want to do within your practice.

On my afternoon we had a series of obstacles, not least one big hill on the sustrans route. The hill like the problems and obstacles we encounter in practice / business can be dealt with in many ways and ignoring them is not one of them, despite what many practice owners do. Problems and obstacles can be resolved in many ways including,

· confronting them head on,

· going round them

· breaking them down into smaller manageable chunks

· Consolidating resources

As I pedalled along the A4070, there were occasions I admit that the pedalling was too hard and I don’t enjoy cycling in a really low gear, it seems pointless to me to keep pedalling and feel as if you are going nowhere, I prefer to get off and push, as I did this it dawned on me that there are also times in practice when doing what we are doing is too hard and not enjoyable and that there is probably an opportunity to take a different approach which is easier or more enjoyable.

For example you may not enjoy doing and ID block, (apparently many studies show that dentists’ blood pressure always goes up significantly when we administer an ID block) or waiting for the local to wait. Have you ever considered using an infiltration with articaine? A much simpler technique to administer, quicker onset and more profound anaesthesia.

There was also an occasion when I was perfectly capable of cycling up the incline and yet I could see a much longer and steeper hill ahead. In this situation I chose to get of push and save my reserves for a bigger challenge that was ahead. What would be a example for you in practice that you could take an action that would prepare you for a bigger challenge ahead. It could be you are running late and your next but one patient is verging on phobic and you are scheduled to do a surgical extraction, they have arrived early and are already pacing the reception and getting themselves and everyone else worked up. The patient in the chair, is in for an examination, has a broken tooth and potentially there are a number of treatment options to discuss. Rather than ploughing ahead with all the detailed treatment options, and running even later, is an option not to dress the tooth, take the necessary radiographs, ask the patient to consider what the ideal treatment would be for them and reappoint the patient once you have looked at the views and they have considered what they want from treatment and you will have considered all treatment options more fully. You would then have more time and energy to deal more effectively with your anxious patient ahead and be able to serve you other patient more effectively.

There was one wonderful part of the ride when we were able to free wheel down a long 14% hill into Caversham. Which I really enjoyed, it was a clear road so I could do most of it without breaks on. When in your practice do you make the time to really enjoy, those periods when everything is going smoothly, without effort and input from you? Do you make time to enjoy and celebrate and if you did what difference would it make?

In so many ways challenges in practice, whether they be to do with the clinical, business or management issues are very like my challenging cycle from Wallingford to Caversham and then on to Knowl Hill by 18:00. We all do have a variety of approaches we can take in any moment and we can choose to do things the hard way like taking the long hilly sustrans route or the shorter, flatter ( I use that term lightly) main road.

I would invite you , whenever you are confronted by a challenge or problem to consider what other choices you have.

If you, as so many often are, are unable to see the bigger pictures and your choices clearly enough, I can work with you as your dental business coach to help to see clearly, so your decisions ring true and feel great.

Would love to know what you think about my blogs, comment now.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Irish Dentist October 2010

I thought you may like to see a copy of my most recently published article.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Click here to view

Are you mining your existing patient data base?

The other day I was having a fairly typical conversation with a practice owner in southern Ireland. He was telling me how since the changes to the medical card and PRSI (The Irish equivalent of the NHS) his patient numbers had plummeted and his income had dropped by 50% .As a dental business coach, he wanted my advice on printing some leaflets and doing a mail shot to attract new clients.

I then elicited that he had a data base of over 14,000 patients, that he was not communicating with.

Dan Sullivan tells us “All the money you need for the rest of your career is in the pockets of the people you already know and those they can introduce you to.”

Let me show you why this is true.

Accepted wisdom is that everybody has on average a network of 250 people they know, these could be friends, family, colleagues or other contacts.

Of these contact we have 5-10 who absolutely trust us and will follow our advice or recommendations without question. For example I know you have 5-10 friends or colleagues that if they suggested that you try a particular restaurant, holiday destination, hotel etc you would go there too based on the fact that you know them, like them and trust their judgement.

I know also that you have another 50-75 people in your net work that you have influence over, that is they know you, like you and don’t yet know you well enough to trust your judgement implicitly. For these people you may suggest that they try a certain restaurant, see a particular film, or show, they are interested in your opinion and they will ask you more about why your recommendation. They will then make a decision and if you have made a great case for your recommendation the chances are that the will follow your suggestion.

Your remaining 165-195 contacts are aware of you, and with these people you have less influence. However these people know you like you and trust you well enough to listen to suggestions and recommendations that you make, they will usually then speak to other people they know to verify if what you say is true, before they make a decision.

The great thing is every time that you make a recommendation to a family member friend or colleague and what you say holds to be true their level of trust in you goes up and you become more influential.

Another often quoted figure is that there is of average a minimum of £1,500 worth of treatment in each of your patients mouths that they want to have done if you offered it to them.

I was doing some training in a practice the other week, and we decided to test this theory. I asked all the team to complete a dental menu and a wish list of the treatment that they would choose to have done. Now this is a group of people who know what is available and have easy access to dentistry,and are still not recieving all the dentistry they want to. In that one exercise the elective treatment it had a value of over 20,000, on average £1,6000 per person. Just imagine what that would mean to your practice if I was able to show you haow to access that value of treatment.

So let us do some calculations about the potential value of a data base of 14,000 patients

14,000 patients each with 5 -10 contacts that if they suggested they visit you would come based on high level of trust that they have. That equates to a potential pool of new patients of 70,000 – 140,000.

If each of these new patients is like the majority of patients and wants the average £1,5000 of treatment there is a potential pool of income in a data base of 14,000 patients of an awful lot of money.

14,000 X 5 = 70,000

70,000 X 1,500 = £105,000,000

I would like to suggest that even a targeted mail shot could not generate that level of income.

For most of you your database probably has 1,500 – 2,000 patients the potential income from your existing patients is therefore in the region of

(1,500 X 5) X £1,500 = to (2,000 X 10) X £1,500 =

I will leave you to do the arithmetic as the numbers are staggering.

At this stage we have not even begun to consider how you could utilise the contacts your patients also have influence with only those who they trust implicitly.

If you would like to learn how to mine your existing patient data base to generate new patients and treatment plans, while not increasing your marketing spend on expensive leaflets, call me to find out how I can help you now.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Business coaching from a cycle ride – Part 2

The other week I cycled from Oxford to Putney bridge for a fun weekend away with a friend of mine. This two day trip revealed some incredible metaphors about how to run a successful practice that I wanted to share with you.

Last week I shared with you the importance of distilling what is important, essential, valuable and the purpose of any project or goal that you start.

Today I want to share with you some of my insights about starting from a position of being ill equipped and poorly informed.

I am a fair weather cyclist, I am fit, strong and active, although I don’t do much regular cycling so embarking on a 100 mile cycle trip without doing any research or having knowledge of the terrain or doing any training, was, I admit a curious decision and once I had committed to the trip I was going to complete it. I did however, have a puncture repair kit and a set of alan keys although I did not have a pump, and thankfully I didn’t need one.

As I reflected on my lack of preparation, I recognised this was not dissimilar to the decision I made when I bought my practice or the one many dentists make when they buy their practice. Most dentists like you, buy or set up a squat because they want offer the patients a great service doing great dentistry they way they have been trained to do it. When they are planning the practice they spend a lot of time and attention thinking about equipment, materials, chairs, cabinets, microscopes and other equipment.

When I meet with other people who are planning on setting up a business they explain how they spend a lot of time learning and developing the necessary skills that they will need to run a successful business, such as

· the industry they are going into

· projected sales

· The vision for the business

· Planning the budgets for the next 12 -36 months

· Considering the staffing requirements

· Identifying key skills, and attributes

· Building a sustainable marketing plan

· Planning the systems and protocols for all aspects of the business

· Identifying skills gap for themselves and staff

· Planning training

· Developing the leadership and management structure.

· Etc, etc

There are 4 stages to learning and developing a skill – take for instance learning to cut a crown prep

Unconscious incompetence - That is you are not aware of your own knowledge gap. There was a time that you were unaware that you could not cut a crown prep.

Conscious incompetence – that is you are aware of how much you don’t know about a subject. A moment came when you realised you could not cut a crown prep.

Conscious competence – You can do something and it requires a lot of mental exertion to do it. You started to learn how to cut crown preps and had to consciously think about each stage, incisal clearance, the depth of the prep, the shape of the margin, placement of the retraction. All of this was hard work when you first started learning and had to consciously think about each stage,

Unconscious competence – you can do something without thinking about it, just like how you now probably prep a crown, it comes naturally and your fingers know what to do automatically.

As I was considered what little preparation I had put into preparing for my cycle trip, I also considered, how little I had considered and prepared for running a business when I bought my practice. I thought about the clinical dentistry yes, but failed to consider business skill I would also need and the problems that had caused. I then reflected on all my friends colleagues and latterly clients, who had inadvertently fallen into the same trap, thinking that knowing how to do clinical dentistry was sufficient to run a successful practice.

Fortunately 1 have spent the last 15 years studying business particularly with reference to dental practice. If you recognise where you are on the path from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence, you can be reassured that as your dental business coach, I can help you run a great dental practice.

If you have gained insights into how you run you business better from unrelated situations please let me know, by commenting on my post now.