Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2012 August Linda Miles

Linda Miles shares five thoughts every team member should know

Aug. 14, 2012
Linda Miles, CSP, CMC, the founder of Miles & Associates and The Speaking Consulting Network, shares five things every team member should know.

Five thoughts by Linda Miles...

On the relationship between the team and patients...
There are eight "touch points" of a patient's visit to the dental practice: the telephone conversation, greeting upon arrival, registration, clinical seating, treatment time, post-treatment education, reappointment and fee presentation, and farewell greeting. The dental team handles seven out of eight of those duties. If it is a hygiene patient, the doctor has even less patient interaction. This is why it is so critical to the practice success to hire team members who understand that the number one priority is the patient – making each one feel important is the greatest practice builder of all time.

On the relationship between the team and dentist...
The team-doctor relationship must remain professional and positive at all times. If the team members do not believe in their doctor as a leader, do not believe in his fees and do not believe in his dentistry, then patients pick up on this lack of trust and respect within minutes. How does the doctor create a better relationship with the team? In order to get respect, one must give it. Treating team members as the talented professionals they are (or can be) goes far. The key to developing the team to its fullest is quite simple: the doctor must hire, train, and trust – and then praise. Without any of the four factors, the team members have jobs, not careers. They become "unionized thinkers" (you owe me), versus "owner mentality" (what can I do for the patients, practice and my co-workers to make this day better?)

On the most important quality of a team member...
By far, the most important quality is to have a positive attitude and an open mind to learning. If a person has a negative attitude, it can spoil the entire practice. People with positive attitudes are enthusiastic, which is contagious. Team members can learn the clinical or the administrative skills necessary for their daily duties. The old saying "the mind is like a parachute – it only works if it's open” is very true. If a staff member thinks he already knows everything there is to know about his position and is closed-minded to new ideas, the practice grows stagnant with him. Positive people love trying new things and look for better ways to accomplish their goals. Negative people are like anchors thrown overboard – they truly diminish the practice growth.

On the most important lesson the team member must learn...
When the entire practice fully understands the systems of management, the clinical patient procedures, and the office guidelines and protocols, then the single best lesson they can learn is the practice priorities. They are as follows:
1. Patients come first in everything we say or do. Is this in the patient's best interest? This is always the question to ask. Patients sign your paycheck, so the better the patients are treated, the more they enjoy coming back and referring others to you.
2. The practice must be a healthy business. It is your livelihood, your future. Without a successful practice, no one has a job.
3. The doctor’s and team’s needs are met. Putting patients and the practice before one's own personal needs always results in emotional and financial benefits.

On how to enjoy your job more every day...
The famous speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones always said, “If you love what you do, you'll never work another day in your life.” I firmly believe that phrase and believe that your career is what you make it. Do you whine, “Is it Friday yet?” on Tuesday? Do you complain to your family, friends and neighbors about how much you dislike your job, boss, co-workers or office? That will escalate into making you even more miserable. So start with this phrase each morning: “Something wonderful is going to happen today.” You will be amazed how often something good happens if you expect it. Often, the good is overlooked if you don't anticipate it. Be a team player. Anticipate the needs of patients, the doctor and your co-workers. Go the extra mile and smile a lot during the day. You are in the business of selling healthy, attractive smiles, and in your hurry to make it through each day, you often forget to show one.

Click here to read Linda's article on "Asking for a raise when I feel a raise is due."

Click here to view a video interview with Linda on "Micromanaging and a lack of leadership: What's an office manager to do?"

Editor's Note: Linda Miles, CSP, CMC, is the founder of Miles & Associates and The Speaking Consulting Network in Virginia Beach, Va. You may contact her through her website,