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444: Regional Managers, This One’s For You

The secret to being a successful regional manager is in THIS episode! Kiera goes over four steps to harnessing the right skills to manage multiple locations without resorting to micromanagement.

  1. Take a look at yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses

  2. Build a team to report to you

  3. Calibrate and train consistently

  4. Practice accountability

Incorporating these tips into your practices will get everyone on the same page, and inspire uniformity without going fully corporate.

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Podcast Transcript:

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0:00:05.6 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone, welcome to the Dental A-Team Podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I have this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants, where we have traveled to over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A-teams. Welcome to the Dental A-Team Podcast.

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0:00:50.7 KD: Hello Dental A-Team listeners, this is Kiera, and you guys, happy, happy day. I am so jazzed to chat with you guys. I'm happy to be just able to give back on this podcast. It's something that I really value. It's something that fuels my fire to be able to give back and to serve and to add massive value to your life for free. So guys, if you are loving this podcast, share it, share it with somebody. I believe that like books, great books, you guys know I do my book club podcast with you every so often, I like to share and give back. So if this has positively impacted you in any way, share it, because guys, sitting in the middle of my goal board, which I'm looking at right now, I have a vision board, it says massive impact. I wanna be able to give the most massive impact on the greatest way possible, and this podcast I truly believe is the way we can do that, shaping you, growing you, helping you become better people, all within our industry of dental. So yes, of course, there are a lot of topics on here that aren't dental specific, there are a lot that are, so share it, share it with a friend today, feel good, do something good for somebody else.

0:01:54.7 KD: So today, you guys, I wanted to talk about how to really be an awesome regional manager. [chuckle] Yes, being a regional manager does not come easy. Being a regional manager comes with effort. Being a regional manager really comes with being a developed person, in my opinion. I was kind of tossed into regional management and I didn't really know what the heck I was doing. I was like, "Well, let's just figure this out like we always do." And so I just wanted to give some tips on regional managers and how you can truly manage multiple locations. So with a regional manager, what happens is you tend to be pretty awesome at your job, which is why you're managing multiple locations. It's, odds are, because your practice has grown a lot, and where I think a lot of regional managers get stuck is they don't learn to delegate. [chuckle]

0:02:44.8 KD: That's right, they don't learn to delegate and have that follow-up come back to them, so instead they actually just micro-manage, and then they're trying to do it in two places, and then they get strung about like taffy, and they feel like they can't accomplish anything, they're not doing well anywhere, because they're really just kind of falling flat all the way around. So then what happens is they feel defeated, they feel discouraged, the team members don't feel empowered, they're always waiting for this regional manager to give them answers, and at the end of the day, they're just one person. So this is time to step up regional managers and to start to build a team that can make decisions for you on your behalf that report to you.

0:03:23.5 KD: And so what I really love to do for regional managers is first and foremost, regional managers, realize that your job is to keep everything moving forward. That's right, dental assistants, hygienists, associates, hiring, credentialing, scheduling, billing, AR, filling the schedule, thinking about different ways to drive new patients, looking at the KPIs. So what I found is there's a leadership scorecard. Shout out to an office in New York, they're the ones who built this, I love it. They've given me permission to use it in other practices, so we definitely utilize this with our coaching clients. And I love it because what it does is it's basically a scorecard of all of your departments, and it's on their KPIs, so their key performance indicators, the metrics that are going to move your practice forward.

0:04:07.9 KD: So basically what happens is in every practice, those departments are all reporting up to the regional manager and the dentist every single week, so there's true tracking and accountability. This is a must for regional managers to be successful. There's gotta be a tracking, there's gotta be a reporting back, otherwise regional managers will feel like they've gotta be kind of like an octopus with their hands in everything, because they're just really craving to know what's going on so they can make sure that that practice isn't failing. So if you can get a really good reporting system back up to you, your stress level goes down drastically because then you know, "Okay, great, all these areas are moving really well, these are the areas we need to work on, now I can hyper-focus there and go fix those problems," versus having to try and just keep all the balls in the air. So I really love that.

0:05:00.2 KD: Then you also need to have somebody in every practice, could be an office manager, it could be a lead, whatever you choose it to be, that actually can answer questions on your behalf. So they let you know, I usually recommend regionals and their office managers, have a weekly meeting just to find out what's going on and have those OMs report back, give them coaching and leadership and guidance, so that way they know how to truly lead their practice. So meetings like on how to improve case acceptance, on how to have one-on-one conversations with team members, on how to hold a team member accountable, on how to implement and follow through on protocols, on how to train new doctors, those type of conversations, because if you can train mini regional managers, okay, so these office managers, they're regional managers in training. If you can train them how to really, really crush their practice and grow that practice, guess what, your life as a regional manager just got real easy, [chuckle] because you have amazing mini yous sitting in those practices doing exactly what you would do if you were there.

0:06:02.8 KD: But that comes from consistent and constant coaching, that comes from consistent and constant follow-through, that comes with constant and consistent accountability. This isn't just something that happens overnight. It's constant and consistent, and I feel so often that we get really good and we're tracking these things, but then guess what, we've gotta build our next practice, so we kind of fall off and forget. It's not a fall off and forget, it's a cadence. So for me, I love to have auto emails. I've talked about it before. Boomerang for Gmail is my go-to, it's amazing, and what it does is it can send auto emails to me and to those people, like, "Here's your scorecard, please fill it in and get it back to me by this time." That way I basically have a personal assistant working for me at all times making sure my teams are staying accountable. I have a set consistent meeting every single week that's not missed, that way those OMs know this is when we'll be accountable.

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0:06:56.9 KD: Hey guys, I wanted to let you know something that I am obsessed with. You've heard me talk about it so many times, and that is membership plans. Membership plans are what I used to grow our practice from 500,000 to 2.4 million. It's one of the biggest reasons that we were able to grow our practice, and right now, I think memberships are what you guys should be totally focused on.

0:07:17.8 KD: And the company that I love the most is Kleer. That's K-L-E-E-R. Kleer makes membership plans easy for you and your patients. You get to maximize your patient participation and reduce your front office team's time spent on administration with Kleer's automated platform, patient self-service tools and new expanded suite of marketing tools and templates. They make it so easy. Implementation is fast, virtual and totally free. So you guys schedule your demo at kleer.com, that's K-L-E-E-R.com. Let them know The Dental A-Team sent you. I want you guys to get membership plans, you will not regret it.

0:07:56.3 KD: You can build out depending upon how many practices you have a lead hygienist, a lead dental assistant, a lead front office, all those different leads and that person is responsible for all the locations. I implemented this at an office, they've got multiple locations and we've put together what's called their leadership team. And every month, these leads run a meeting for their department, so the dental assistants run a meeting for all the dental assistants, and all the practices, they get together. They've talked about different ways to be placing fillings, different ways to be curing, different ways to be scanning, so they literally are training all the practices to be on the same page, so it doesn't matter which practice you're in, all of those dental assistants are rising up. They also do it for case acceptance, training all their treatment coordinators on how to present better cases, tracking their numbers, looking to see which treatment coordinator is doing well and which ones are struggling.

0:08:51.6 KD: They share those numbers amongst all treatment coordinators, that way, they can share all the ideas amongst the practices. What's the difference? That way, they're all rising to the top versus just having isolated practices, is absolutely magical in this practice. They do incredibly well, I will say, shout out to their owner doctors. They hold them accountable, they make sure these meetings are productive, they don't sugar-coat and fluff [chuckle] and they do it in the most loving way possible.

0:09:18.7 KD: So being a regional manager, your job is to make sure you've got set protocols and policies, hashtag and operations manual. If you guys haven't heard, we're doing a Halloween special, and I hope you're getting your operations manual. It's an operations manual intensive to get it done in three days, so if you don't have it... Excuse me, three months. Don't mishear that. Three months, not three days, but the reality is like you need to have set protocols and policies that every location is following. You need to have a set onboarding process regardless of what location that they're going into, and it should be your entire organization's process. I made the mistake when I was being a regional manager first, that each office could do things a little bit differently, that they could have different supplies, that they could have different set-ups, that they can set up their software differently. That was a bad idea, because then there wasn't consistency. So when me and the doctor were going from office to office, it was like learning a whole new office in our own offices. So making sure you've got general consistency across the board. So I'm big on softwares and scheduling the exact same, answering phones the same, billing the same.

0:10:24.3 KD: The way we set up our operatories, same, the way we diagnose hygiene, same, that way, every one of our practices are operating the same. It doesn't mean you gotta go corporate, but there's a lot of great things about corporate, guys. There are so many things about corporate that I find impressive, and so I feel like having it set and structured, that way, people can stay consistent. People love consistency, they love accountability, they love to follow-through, and they love to know what's expected of them, so they know how to win the day.

0:10:55.1 KD: So regionals, I would say number one, look at yourself. Are you good at delegating? Are you good at empowering other people? Hands down, I don't think I always am. I'll be honest, I don't think I'm the best delegator. I like control, I like to feel important, to say that these ideas are great. Bottomline is, I get in my team's way a lot of the times, and they could do things faster and more efficiently if I was out of their way. So I want you to look at that. Are you delegating? Do you have somebody in each practice that's reporting up to you, so you don't have to go micro-manage at both of those locations? Are you traveling from office to office consistently, that way, you can see what's going on, you can give boots on the ground support to them, if not, build that in. Then, are you having a way for them to be trained and calibrated consistently? You can start to run dental assistant meetings and train all of your assistants together.

0:11:47.7 KD: You can get them all on the same page, hearing what's going on in different practices, having them share great ideas. You can do the same thing with your hygiene department, with your doctor department. Training and calibrating is one of the best ways that I found to be a very, very successful regional manager. And then take accountability, be somebody who is very available. Don't be so busy that you're not available to your team. They need to connect with you, they need to talk to you, they need to be... You need to be somebody who's available there. You should anticipate problems before they're there, constantly looking to innovate and grow these practices, and you should be able to, weekly, if not monthly, give a report to your doctor of how the practices are doing, what you're implementing, where they're at, so that way, your doctor knows that you're on it so they can do their dentistry. That's how to be a successful regional manager; have those protocols in play, that way, everyone knows the rules of the game, have set people in each practice, that way, they're there for you as well. Consider having set leads in each department, that way, they can report up to you as well, and they can help hold all those people accountable for you.

0:12:51.8 KD: At the end of the day, I believe, instead of you regional manager being the octopus with multiple arms and always feeling like taffy and stretched out, have multiple people as your arms in their different areas, zones of genius, give them the autonomy to grow and develop, and you will see your practices flourish. If you need help with this, we train a lot of regional managers, we help them, we guide them, we grow them. So email us, [email protected] And as always guys, thanks so much for listening. I'll catch you next time on The Dental A-Team podcast.

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0:13:22.3 KD: And that wraps it up for another episode of The Dental A-Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.

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