Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

What Is MBWA? Maybe a New Year’s Resolution …


A close friend recently sent me a book called “The Four Freedoms of Dentistry” and it reminded me that a dental practice is a business and has all the common business issues to deal with. It’s an easy read and the book is free. Log onto Your team is the #1 most important priority. Your team’s job is to take care of you #2 most important priority, your patients. Your team is your most important investment. Their success is yours. MBWA!

What is MBWA? … Back in the 1980’s the acronym was coined by IBM, it stood for “Management by Walking Around”. The concept was to get management to interact with their team by getting up from their desk and walking around and asking if anyone needed any help with anything or if they had any ideas or suggestions. Several years later Disney picked it up and renamed it “Management by Wondering Around”, I like that one better.

Management by Wandering Around … Disney’s reasoning for changing the word was simple and effective. Team members (especially lower level) will be reluctant to voice any problems to superiors, it’s human nature. But when you “Wander” you are walking slow with your hands in your pockets, you are now “Approachable”. I did it, it works!! How do you approach your team?

Approach Your Team … The key to beginning any negotiation is to understand what the other side of the table wants. You may not agree with it, but you have to understand their reasons. Most practicing dentists do not understand the day-by-day issues and frustrations that team members deal with. They see it and hear about it, but they don’t live it. Sit in the chair and see what the job is all about. It’s the boss’s job to understand their team, but it’s not the team’s job to understand the boss’s.

The Front Desk … Dealing with patients wouldn’t be that hard if it wasn’t piled on top of scheduling, collections, re-care, insurance companies, email requests, and the clinical team. In smaller offices that person may also be involved with treatment planning. With a daily plate full of problem-solving issues, it is reasonable to assume that some things will slip between the cracks. And then you want to know why they couldn’t fill the schedule. Try asking your front desk what is the one thing that would make their job easier and explore the suggestion, you may be surprised at the end results. You just wondered into their world and the moral will instantly rise and productivity will improve as long as you follow through. Now what about your assistant?

The Dental Assistant … Did you know that your patients ask your assistant for their opinion when you walk out of the room? Patients even ask if you are good at what you do. You are a dentist and that means you are creative and artistic; you enjoy reconstructing the oral cavity. Your assistant gets to listen to the patients complain, the doc complains, the Hygienist complains, and then clean up the mess. Look at what they have to do between patients while following all regulations. Anything that would help speed up the room turnaround time is worth looking at. What is your turn-around workflow? What would make the job faster and easier? Wonder into their world and grow your practice by wondering outside your comfort zone.

The Comfort Zone … If it works don’t fix it. That is so true when it comes to your equipment, but your practice flow and team harmony are what the patient sees and feels when they are in the office. Team harmony and moral must be an everyday concern. Team discovery meetings are always available free of charge so please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions or concerns. And, read the book!!

January 6, 2023 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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