A Team Approach to Creating a Dental Practice Mission 

March 31, 2023 Kelley Brummett DMD

A quick, easy way to create a mission statement for your dental practice involves your team. In 2022, I called a team meeting to discuss what we want the practice to be like each day for ourselves and our patients. I wanted us to discuss what we could focus on.

We sat around the table in our break room. I asked the team members to take turns going around the table throwing out one word, two words, or a phrase that they felt described our practice. After a moment’s reflection, someone started the process. They had words. They had phrases. They developed whole sentences. And the beauty of this was that I didn’t have to say anything. I just sat there and listened.

If you are asking a team to be part of a mission, I think it is important that you allow them to create the mission. By the end of the meeting, we had a mission statement that we wanted to reflect on and revisit. A week later, we had a conversation about the statement. The team changed a couple of words, and then, Voila! We had our mission statement. It was a mission to which everyone had contributed.

Our next discussion was about how we wanted to be reminded of our mission and how we wanted to make patients aware of the mission. The team decided to put the mission statement on the break room wall, where we would see it daily, and to frame it for the reception area wall, where our patients could see it.

We also met to discuss our values. The team went around the table, listing our practice values. After collaboratively sorting the values, the team developed a list of our top values. This list also has been framed and displayed in the reception area.

We want to share our values and mission with our patients because they are like family. Our top priority is helping them understand their health, so they can make better decisions to improve their health.

Curious to know the wording we settled on? Our mission statement follows: “Devoted to impacting our patients’ lives by investing in their health while establishing relationships through our exceptional care in a safe and comfortable environment.”

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Kelley Brummett DMD

Dr. Kelley D. Brummett was born and raised in Missouri. She attended the University of Kansas on a full-ride scholarship in springboard diving and received honors for being the Big Eight Diving Champion on the 1 meter springboard in 1988 and in 1992. Dr. Kelley received her BA in communication at the University of Kansas and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After practicing nursing, Dr Kelley Brummett went on to earn a degree in Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia. She has continued her education at the Pankey Institute to further her love of learning and her pursuit to provide quality individual care. Dr. Brummett is a Clinical Instructor at Georgia Regents University and is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Brummett and her husband Darin have two children, Sarah and Sam. They have made Newnan their home for the past 9 years. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and playing with her dogs. Dr. Brummett is an active member of the ADA, GDA, AGDA, and an alumni of the Pankey Institute.

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First and Foremost… The Inner Truth

July 3, 2019 Paul Henny DDS

One of the hardest things in dentistry is to know when to keep pressing onward or deeply reconsider a situation and move on in a new direction.

Everyone knows that perseverance and “grit” are key to success. Anyone who has worked their way to the top can tell you about their moments of doubt, horror stories and wounds acquired along the way. But never re-assessing, never changing course is problematic as well, as it is analogous to sailing with a fixed rudder. It is only a matter of time before you run your boat aground.

Do you have both a plan and a strategic planning process?

Successful management of the direction and functionality of a practice requires the use of both approaches, and that is why every practice needs to not only have a plan but also a strategic planning process. A strategic planning process is an iterative process of self-reflection. It is constant and not just an event. Because it is a “process” of constant reassessment, you can discover when to reimagine and change course. Dwight D. Eisenhower spoke to this truth when he said, “Planning is essential, but plans are useless.”

Where are things breaking down?

An objective way to arrive at an answer is to begin to analyze where things are breaking down. The work of Simon Sinek is helpful in making this analysis. He says we can have breakdowns in the areas of HOW, WHAT and WHY.

Breakdowns in specific areas of a practice are often breakdowns in HOW. This is when people are not executing well-designed and well thought through processes and procedures. This may be driven by a lack of knowledge, understanding, ability and/or desire. And these represent objectively correctable problems. For example, if the margins of our crowns are consistently substandard, we need to go back and figure out where our processes and thinking are breaking down. If a team member is failing to execute their responsibilities in an appropriate fashion, the same approach holds true.

Are you climbing fast in the wrong direction?

Failures can also occur at what I would call a “strategy level.” This is a more global level above execution, because it involves more of why we are attempting to do what we are attempting to do. Simply put, poor strategies will lead practices in the wrong direction. Steven Covey’s metaphor of having our life ladder up against the wrong wall applies here. We can be climbing fast, while simultaneously climbing in the wrong direction.

Does your work feed your soul?

Failures can and do originate on a WHY level. An example of this would be a person working hard and making bank, while hating being a dentist. This represents a failure on the visionary or philosophical level. Failures on this level represent spiritual depravation. In this case, we are going through the motions, yet very little of what we are doing feeds our soul. As a consequence, people often attempt to fill this void in a dysfunctional way, perhaps, with alcohol, drugs, sports, extreme exercise regimens—or something else that easily becomes an addiction.

If we have HOW and WHAT breakdowns in a practice and still have our WHY worked out, staying focused and working through issues and problems is appropriate. However, if the reason things are not being executed well and the reason our strategies aren’t effective is really because our heart isn’t in it, then we have a spiritual crisis on our hands.

Without first addressing our inner nature and our inner truths, we will never be successful at addressing more downstream challenges such as HOW and WHAT. L.D. Pankey was speaking to the essential nature of this truth when he said, “Know yourself.”

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Paul Henny DDS

Dr. Paul Henny maintains an esthetically-focused restorative practice in Roanoke, Virginia. Additionally, he has been a national speaker in dentistry, a visiting faculty member of the Pankey Institute, and visiting lecturer at the Jefferson College or Health Sciences. Dr. Henny has been a member of the Roanoke Valley Dental Society, The Academy of General Dentistry, The American College of Oral Implantology, The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and is a Fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is Past President and co-founder of the Robert F. Barkley Dental Study Club.

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ABCs of Dental Office Organization: Part 1

December 3, 2018 Bill Gregg DDS

Efficient office organization leads to effective office functioning. It frees team members up to take care of people. It can greatly increase effectiveness – defined as helping people make choices appropriate to their health and improving efficiency of care delivery.

Dental office organization starts with understanding tasks and roles:

ABCs in the Dental Practice

A = Administrative Tasks

These are tasks that can be done when patients are not present. For example, planning next week’s schedule for effectiveness or following up on and processing insurance claims.

More examples:

  • Filling the hygiene schedule.
  • Working the re-care system.
  • Supply ordering.
  • Treatment planning.
  • Specific treatment pre-planning.
  • Review of x-rays, charting, and chart notes. 

B = Behavioral Tasks

These are usually communication efforts with patients. Focused, uninterrupted time is available.

Examples:

  • Talking to new patients on the phone.
  • Care instructions following treatment.
  • Treatment conversations.
  • Financial arrangements.

C = Clinical Treatment

Here the patient is present. Ideally, treatment has been organized and so thoroughly thought-out beforehand that care proceeds rapidly and efficiently.

I have heard it said that treatment can be fast and good, fast and bad, or slow and bad. Slow and good is virtually never possible.

Speed and efficiency respects the patient’s time and emotions. This is why effective clinical organization must include pre-planning. 

Understanding Office Roles

If you understand these roles for yourself and each team member, your week can proceed much more effectively. Many dentists do not feel “productive” unless they are chairside spinning the high speed, but this is not always the case.

If you consider your role in the practice as similar to a CEO (vision and implementation) and/or COO (efficient operations) you must consider “A” time important.

If you consider yourself an advocate for your patients, your “B” time – especially quiet time to ponder treatment options as well as learn and grow in communication – is essential.

To increase your dollar per hour productivity, you must practice continual chairside improvement and time management in treatment procedures. This is the only way to accomplish more work in a single day.

To be continued …

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Bill Gregg DDS

I attended South Hills High School in Covina, Denison University in Granville, Ohio and the University of Redlands in Redlands, California prior to dental school at UCLA. My post-graduate education has included an intensive residency at UCLA Hospital, completion of a graduate program at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education ; acceptance for Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD); and in 2006 I earned the prestegious Pankey Scholar. Continuing education has always been essential in the preparation to be the best professional I am capable of becoming and to my ongoing commitment to excellence in dental care and personal leadership. I am a member of several dental associations and study groups and am involved in over 100 hours of continuing education each year. The journey to become one of the best dentists in the world often starts at the Pankey Institute. I am thrilled that I am at a point in my professional life that I can give back. I am honored that I can be a mentor to others beginning on their path. As such, I have discovered a new passion; teaching. I am currently on faculty at The L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education devoting 2-3 weeks each year to teaching post-graduate dental programs. In other presentations my focus is on Leadership and includes lifestyle, balance and motivation as much as dentistry.

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Why Your Team Is Critical to Delivering Exceptional Service: Part 2

June 18, 2018 Mary Osborne RDH

Exceptional service is more than just a set of benchmarks we strive to reach in the dental practice daily. It’s a philosophy that steers the ship, drives everyone on the team to seek greatness. As such, it can’t be a mandate handed down to your team. It has to go deeper than that.

There are three things you can do that will enable your team to embrace and embody exceptional service. Remember, it must be natural to them, instead of forced, if the impression they give is to come across as genuine.

3 Steps to Truly Exceptional Service

1. Be a Good Role Model

This may seem too simple to work, but it’s like magic. Model exceptional service and your team will inevitably follow suit. Set an example that also sets the tone for your dental practice as a whole. Go out of your way to surprise patients with how good your service can be.

It’s easy to expect greatness from others while not putting the same pressure on yourself. Walk the talk. Live an unbridled excitement for patient care that’s completely clear of resentment toward their demands or needs.
Choose quality and excellence in every way you can, whether that be in your stationary, your lab, or even the drinks you have in the waiting room.

2. Hire People Who Go the Extra Mile

During your hiring process, make an effort to find team members who inherently want to go above and beyond. They should have a personality intent on always taking success to the next level. It’s not as difficult to sense this in an interview as you might think.

Ask the interviewee what they consider an exceptional doctor’s office experience. Go even further and ask them to talk about their own experience providing care beyond expectations. Then, ask why they did this. Use your own intuition to decide what their story means about them.

3. Reward Exceptional Actions

When your team members are innovative and responsive to patient needs as they arise, reward them for it. This type of acknowledgment could take many forms depending on your personality. Also, even if it’s not a choice you would’ve made, praise the spirit that led them to it.

How do you promote a positive attitude toward patient care in your dental practice? 

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Mary Osborne RDH

Mary is known internationally as a writer and speaker on patient care and communication. Her writing has been acclaimed in respected print and online publications. She is widely known at dental meetings in the U.S., Canada, and Europe as a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker. Her passion for dentistry inspires individuals and groups to bring the best of themselves to their work, and to fully embrace the difference they make in the lives of those they serve.

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