Episode 467: Goals for Yourself, Your Team, and Your Practice

dental a team podcast Jan 04, 2022

Kiera is joined by Dental A-Team consultant Dana Morsell to talk about setting goals for 2022! The two give advice on what makes a successful goal, what types of goals offices tend to set, how leadership can help the team meet goals, and more! They also discuss what DAT’s own goals will be.

In 2022, it’s grow or die, and we want to help you GROW! 

Episode resources:

Tune in on Fridays for Donuts with Dana

Reach out to Dana and Kiera

Subscribe to The Dental A-Team podcast

Become Dental A-Team Platinum!

Review the podcast on iTunes


0:00:05.6 Kiera: 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 in dental treatment coordinator, schedule filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling resultant, where we have traveled 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.


0:00:52.3 Kiera: Hello, Dental A Team, listeners. This is Kiera and you guys, I hope you're killing it, I hope things are going so well for you, and I am super jazzed 'cause I've got the one and only Dana, if you guys don't know her... You need to know her. Get on Fridays. She does Donuts with Dana every Friday and does tips for the offices. She's an awesome consultant. One of my favorite people, she's hilarious. She's a hygienist, a consultant, she coaches, she travels, she just awesome. Dana, how are you today? Welcome to the show.

0:01:19.6 Dana: Thanks for having me. I'm doing great, how about yourself?

0:01:23.0 Kiera: Good, and you need to share more about what donors with Dana is because we teed it up a little bit, but we need more people to attend 'cause you really have an awesome thing going with Donuts with Dana. So tell 'em a little bit about Donuts with Dana.

0:01:35.2 Dana: Alright, so it is on the Facebook page, and basically it's just a live and it is tips, tricks, strategy to kind of elevate and boost things that you currently do in your office. The last one I did was about vacation time geared towards, especially a holiday time right now. And so we kinda went over what protocols to have in place, how to do it successfully as you can. And I just want people to be on there and the chat so that they can ask questions, that they can tell us the things that work in their offices and really help each other out as well.

0:02:12.5 Kiera: Yeah, that's awesome, because reality is, you guys listen to the podcast, quick shout out, we love our podcast family, you guys are amazing. But you also can't ask us questions in real time, and so Dana had a great idea to start to give back in another way, it's just short... What time is it out on Fridays, Dana? You do every Friday...

0:02:32.2 Dana: Every Friday at 9:30 AM Pacific.

0:02:36.4 Kiera: Pacific. So join us, so it's 9:30 Pacific, 10:30 mountain or Arizona right now, currently, 11:30 Central 12:30 Eastern. So be sure to just pop on, it's pretty short, 10-15 minutes, but the cool thing is, it's getting offices all together, so not just hearing from us sharing information, but for offices to calibrate. That's something we've been trying to get up and going is just giving a great resource, more of a community collaboration. I know it's so low islanders out there, we hang out at our solo practice, and then I don't really have a lot of opportunity to share ideas. So Dana's there facilitating every single week, there's a different topic, different tip. So join Donuts with Dana 9:30 AM Pacific, every single Friday. But with that said, Dana, we're kicking off the new year, and it's all about setting goals. I know you've been coaching a ton of clients with setting goals, I've been doing it... I freaking love setting goals, I'm such a competitive person by nature, I love setting goals, I love setting targets, I love getting offices, excited about. And 'tis the season its goal setting time, so let's kinda just kick it off right now.

0:03:42.4 Kiera: And some of the things you've been doing in your office is to help our practices and our people listening really have an incredible 2022.

0:03:50.6 Dana: Yeah, so I always have offices, what do they want as far as the numbers, what do they wanna see personally, and then what do they wanna see for their team as far as goal approach. And then once we set those it's, how can we get there and how can we track it, and how can we really be sure that we nail it all successfully? So I think when setting numbers, it's important, we wanna push the team for growth, so having those numbers set before the start of the new year is really important. It gives the team something to focus on, and it helps with scheduling flow and stress in the office, and like I told another dentist, not that long ago, if the team doesn't know what they're scheduling for or what they're scheduling towards, it's really difficult to schedule blindly like that. So setting goals that the team can really be focused on and really strive to attain, I think is the perfect way to start the new year.

0:04:53.0 Kiera: Completely agree. And just so you guys know, this is something I didn't realize. So I think it's helpful for teams to know as well, it is common and it is good, like a healthy practice with a solo doctor, 10% growth year over year is actually a really attainable and realistic measure. So if we're growing and that's not in a heavy growth year either, this is just talking year over year over year, so if you're looking to see what is something to set for that goal as an office, 10% is a very healthy number. Now, if you're in massive growth, you can be 20, 30, 40, 50, and I know for Dental A Team, we've definitely had a 100% growth year over year over year. We've been in massive push for growth and wanting to help and serve more offices. So depending upon how aggressive it is also, we bring on more consultants, so we know per consultant how much we should be generating, same thing with more doctors. If you're bringing on a doctor, most doctors average, depending upon their skill set, anywhere from 2500 to 5000 per day. Well, if that's the case that we brought on another doctor, we need to calculate how many days they're working, what should they be producing? And add that on as a growth goal, so just knowing that that is very common, it's not uncommon to do it, it's also common to do at least a 5%, if not 10% bump on fees annually.

0:06:11.2 Kiera: I prefer to go in January, but those are some things that are very common. So I'm not saying bump your fees to hit your goals, but just for inflation, just for different things like that, that is a very, very, very common, realistic, and attainable goal for your practice. So when you're looking at this like we wanted to get it out there, letting teams know that a 10% growth is very common and you want your practice growing, because for us, Dana knows this, it's grow or die. So if we're not growing, we're dying as a company, and that's how you should be looking at your practice as well, so don't feel weird about setting numbers, don't feel weird about setting goals like that. And to Dana's point, I really love Dana, that you brought up, that as a team member, when I actually have a goal of what I'm trying to schedule to, it becomes so much easier to get my gold star to win the day, to know what we're trying to achieve as a team, and then I could get more creative and innovate and think differently. Those are some of the best things that I love from goals is that it forces innovation and creation to figure out how we're gonna hit those goals and serve more people.

0:07:15.9 Dana: Absolutely, yeah, and I think looking at your goals inclusively as well, for example, I had a doctor today on one of my class, and really her goals... Yes, she wants to grow as far as productions and collections, but a lot of it was doing some updates in the office. And I said, that's great, so let's then set our production goals so that those upgrades can happen with a blink of an eye that we've already set it up so that we are growing the practice exponentially as far as production goes. So that those upgrades can come and come very easily. So I think it's taking a look at everything. Yes, production and collection goals. We definitely wanna have hammered out, but take a look to at new patient numbers. If you're struggling with overhead, make that your goal, if you need as far as new patients, then to get even further and who can we ask for referrals, how many referrals? Set those goals and then figure out how we're gonna get there.

0:08:14.0 Kiera: I love that, Dana. And I also love that you talked about different pieces of your practice can be goals, so this office wanting to renovate certain parts of the practice that should be added in as part of your overhead and then calculate out what you need to do. If you wanna have an office, say trip, calculate how much that's going to cost, add that into your overhead, so then you know what you need to produce to be able to afford that. If we want to bring on more team members, like for example, in Dental A Team, I forecast every single year, okay, great, we're probably gonna bring on two more team members, these people will be getting raises at this time of year, so I pre-calculated all that in, so then I know when I'm setting my annual goal. What does the company need to produce to create in order to also keep our team members healthy and happy to be able to pay for the things that our team wants to be a part of? I also look at when we're buying spaces, when we were adding an HQ, when we look at doing Dental A Team summit in April, what are all those costs going to be for dental practices if we need to buy a Cone Beam?

0:09:19.2 Kiera: If we wanna bring on Itero scanner, things like that, it's just called being proactive versus reactive, but to Dana's point, that's exactly when you build this in. Adding those pieces in, then you build goals around that, that way it comes with ease and grace versus the scramble and the panic at the end of the year, trying to then force this to happen versus easily gliding through your year and making it very simple and attainable as well. I also have looked at that sometimes when I have, let's say I wanna do certain CE or I've wanted to buy certain things, when I have that forecast and I look at it and know how much we have to produce as a company, it also helps me scale and get more realistic of the things that the company needs to buy or hire in order to be realistic as well when setting those goals.

0:10:03.4 Dana: Yeah, I agree, and I think that's one thing is really setting smart goals, making them specific, making sure that you can measure them, making sure you can track them, and really making sure that they are... They can be a stretch goal, but a stretch goal that is attainable because the last thing you wanna do is roll out all of these goals that the team will never meet and have that really kill the moral for the office. So I think setting really smart intentional goals can go a long way.

0:10:33.3 Kiera: I agree and to your point Dana you said, SMART, that's an acronym, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic with a Time frame. And then Dana, I'm gonna ask a question 'cause I've got my answers. People have heard me for years, how do you get your team on board 'cause I know... Like for example, when I'm sitting here, I also love that... I wanna make sure we highlight, we'll come back to it. But like you said, set production goals, we talked about different ways to do it, set lifestyle goals and also set team goals, so those are fun things like... I know we talk about our team. Our team wants to put together a non-profit, we just did our annual coat drive, which was something we as a team wanted to do. I have my own personal goals. Our whole team knows that we're trying to get pregnant for next year, it's gonna be a pretty hefty journey for us going down the IVF path for us. But they know that my goals are to not be working full-time so we can get pregnant, and so that's going to be a different lifestyle goal for myself, and then making sure our team, I check in with each team member to find out what their personal and financial goals are as well.

0:11:32.2 Kiera: So setting those goals, yes, I do not miss that piece, but Dana know how do you get a team to buy into this, 'cause I think so many doctors and office managers listening are like, well, we get it, we understand it, but how do we get our team to want to go for 10% growth. Other than just having them listen to the podcast to hear that that's normal, but how do you get a team to buy into wanting to build goals and setting these goals and tracking these goals and getting excited around goals versus looking at it as like a death sentence or... I heard an office today on one of my calls, they said, "We're just making more money for our doctor to be more profitable versus it coming back to us." And I hear that from a lot of team members, so how do you get the team and the doctor aligned and be able to serve and help more patients.

0:12:13.0 Dana: Sure, I think it's a two-fold, I think the first and foremost thing is explaining, and I think everybody that goes into dentistry, at least almost everybody does it, because it is an industry that cares. That cares about his patients, it serves its community, it improves their oral health, so explaining that the more that we attain as far as our goals, essentially equates to the more people in our community that we get to help and care for and create relationships with and provide patient experiences for. So I think linking that to anybody that's in the health professional, that that's really the reason of the drive to be there and explaining that those numbers, as those numbers grow, our reach out into the community of the people that we touch and that we care for, grows with it. So I think explaining that and then I think to having them be invested in that for each and every time you set goals and you roll them out to the team, that they leave that meeting or they leave that arena with an action item that helps push the growth... But that they're in charge of.

0:13:20.3 Dana: That is their responsibility, so whether it is they're tracking this or they are completing these projects, or even if it's just a task list of things, but it's that they have something that helps them own part of hitting those goals.


0:13:40.0 S?: Are you guys sick of trying to figure it out on your own... I know I am what... I'm trying to run a business sometimes I just think there's got to be a better way to do this, and so for me, my answer has been to find someone who's done it and does it really, really, really well, like I'm talking the best of the best of the best. I want someone who's been in my shoes, somebody who understands what I'm going through, when I was looking for the consulting business, I found a coach who literally has run a consulting business... Well, that seems like the perfect fit. So you guys right now, we have a few spaces open in our platinum consulting, that is in the consulting where we actually come to your practice, we help you get systems implemented, we don't just tell you a system to implement, we actually implement them with you and for you. Guys, it is one of the best investments I've ever made is to hire a coach who understands the business I'm in, who's lived it, who's done it, and that's what we on the Dental A Team do, we literally physically fly to you, so if you're sick of trying to figure it out on your own.

0:14:41.0 S?: If you just want somebody who understands you, join our platinum, I'd love to have you... I'd love to have our consulting team come out and see you be in your office, be with your team, and truly help you get on to the easy path of dentistry. It doesn't have to be hard. So join us in the Platinum, we'd love to have you.


0:15:00.5 Kiera: Yeah, agree, data, because at that point, it makes people feel more invested into the goal, they have a way that they can help win the year as a practice, and a lot of people get concerned and think like, "Oh well, my team's not really in the goals we're here to help people." I love that you just tied it into, guys reality is the more profitable or practices, the more we're able to produce, the more we're able to serve and give back to our community, like bottom line is... That's the reality. I remember I went to a conference early on in my career, and it talked about how I make money matter, and my husband thought it was the most egotistical conference I could go to that I was with all business owners are how can we get more filthy rich?

0:15:40.4 Kiera: And what it was, is actually the whole mentality is like, I, Kira, make money matter, I utilize the resources that we to serve and to give back. But then there was this really cool graph and they said, "The more money we have, the greater impact we can have." Now yes, we can also do the alternative, but the bottom line is more resources, more availability, there are more people we are able to serve. Right now, I look at Dental A Team and the number of people were able to serve, the number of jobs we're able to provide far, far, far exceeds anything I could have imagined back when we were very beginning with Tiffany and myself trying to run across the nation and not doing the best job like at least getting it done.

0:16:22.8 Kiera: And so just looking at that of like, this is a way for you to give back and to serve more people within your communities, so I think when your team can realize that, that's also where I feel like there should be those types of goals as a company, as well, so what is the bigger goal as a company? I know for us in Dental A Team, we have changed it so many times, and every year Tiffany was great, she brought this back into the forefront. Like last year in 2020, we donated meals, so that was something we did. We donated thousands of meals, thanks to you guys joining as platinum clients, also just different clients giving back, we're able to donate and serve thousands of people. This year, we did a coat drive where we were able to donate coats in Reno and Phoenix to give back to our local communities.

0:17:07.5 Kiera: We have a goal as a company to become a non-profit and to give back, I have personal goals, to have a service mission, but every year we talk about as a team in every quarter, what lights our team's fire? What are the things that they wanna do? Because to me, and Dana, I'd love your input on it, to me as a leader, if my team is telling us what they wanna do, how they wanna utilize these funds, the things that they wanna give back and serve on, instantly hitting production goals and serving and coming up with creative ways to serve more people becomes a lot more meaningful because it's actually achieving the goals that the team wants. Dana, from a team's perspective, how does that work for you to be able to say the things you wanna use the money for, to say what these goals should be contributing for, how does that work for team buy-in from your perspective?

0:17:55.5 Dana: From a team member perspective, I think that knowing that what the company that I work for wants to do aligns with the things that are important to me is probably the number one way that I get joy out of my job, that I am motivated and that I am-busted is, if I know that the things that are important to me are what the office is striving for. It's like what better place for me to put in my time and my energy to. And so I think that is as leaders, and one of the most important things you can do to create amazing office culture, to create team buy-in and anything is finding out what motivates our team and drives them is just... It's, I think the link to really whole office success.

0:18:53.3 Kiera: I would agree, and I love that you just loop all that together, so we went from goals to entire team buy-in and success. And that is full team because that's not just talking about success by naturally, because it's a job, but it's also a fulfillment piece, it's a giving back, it's a contribution more than just us serving in our practices and serving the people that come in our door each day. So I love that you talked about Dana like, we've gotta have our production goals then have lifestyle goals of team and owners, so the way I love to do this and the way I recommend for offices is number one, doctors and owners set up what your dream life is going to be for you that year. Maybe even create a one through 10 year plan for yourself, I had a doctor today say "Kiera, I want to work less, but I'm afraid that if I wanna work less, that that's actually gonna jeopardize the team's growth" and me and the office manager, but said no, because if you want to work less. Fantastic. Let's help you achieve your goals. But then we're gonna get creative with our other associate doctor, we're also going to look at possibly dropping some insurance plans, different things, so that way we can hit our growth goal, plus have that doctor work less so they're actually a better producing dentist, and they have a better work-life balance.

0:20:07.3 Kiera: So don't be... I guess the big piece I wanna drive home on this is don't be afraid to actually say what you want, because I think sometimes owners and doctors are afraid to say what they want for fear of looking greedy or being selfish or not helping their team achieve goals when the bottom line is, you might as well just say what you actually want, 'cause otherwise you're gonna be better and not be a great producer or a great boss or anything. Just be honest with what you want, and then also survey your team or in your one-on-ones, ask your team of what their goals are, find out if there are certain things that you can do... We've done a couple of surveys and there was mention about our benefits not being as high, and so I worked on ways of how could we add in healthcare stipends and how could we add in a financial advisor at our retreat and different things that we could get creative on it doesn't mean I'm gonna roll out a whole health care program. But getting creative, I'm meeting the needs of what our team wants, but if I didn't survey them anonymously, I would never have actually know what they wanted, so I'm really big on also finding out your team members, personal and professional goals as well, to see if we could align all of them, we can't always do it perfectly, but at least getting closer, Dana, any other thoughts you have on personal and professional goals, in addition to that production.

0:21:20.4 Dana: The only thing just I'd love to add is just too, when it comes to, how can we get there? Don't be afraid to think outside the box and do things differently. Sometimes in the dental field, we get in this rut where we think if we do X, we get D, and don't be afraid to look at your team member, look at their strengths and weaknesses, look at how you can utilize everything that you have in place and think outside the box when it comes to how we can hit those goals.

0:21:48.6 Kiera: Absolutely, I think that that's a really, really, really good point because sometimes it's not about adding more production, sometimes it's about changing the insurance plans. Dana, you and I have a client together that we co-coach and she was gonna drop an insurance plan because they had too many new patients, and so they realized, we can't expand fast enough, we can't serve this many people, we need to do something drastic. She dropped an insurance plan and they came back around... What was it? Was it like a 40% increase?

0:22:19.6 Dana: 40% increase, yeah.


0:22:23.9 Kiera: So talk about a solid win for that practice, are able to stay in network, help these patients, it hasn't fixed the new patient issues, so didn't win on that one. But by doing nothing difference, they have a 40% increase on this one insurance plan just to stay in network with them. But they would never have found that if they wouldn't have gone down the path of dropping insurances, which was completely out of the path of what they normally did, and now they're able to hit their goals with more ease, so... I love that point. So guys, we kind have gone all around, I think Dana's next point of tracking this and measuring it consistently is how you hit it, because it's really fun to get into a brainstorm, sesh, to get all pumped up. We're gonna hit these goals and then go to work and not ever track them and measure so Dana, what are some of your tips or tricks or things that you do to ensure that goals are not just a wasted meeting, but they actually turn into true results?

0:23:18.3 Dana: I think it is just, don't necessarily set a goal if there isn't a way to at least measurably see if you can hit it, and then put into place tracking our ways to measure it, and then hold yourself accountable to checking in on it. So even if it is, we decide that every Thursday in huddle, we're gonna go over our fluoride acceptance rate, and then we're gonna have our hygienists track how many patients do they offer fluoride to versus how many they accepted. And then we're going to make an effort and figure out a way that we get to consistently check in on them.

0:24:00.5 Kiera: I think that that's a really beautiful point Dana, because so many offices go set goals, but they don't actually have the follow-up, and I would say that the magic happens in the follow-up, the results are made in the consistent follow-up. And so for us, we have a team meeting every Monday, and we go over our quarterly goals every single quarter, we set goals to help us reach our big annual goal for the year. And sometimes we don't hit our goals, and that's okay, I'd reach... I'd rather have a stretch and reach, then go too easy that it's just a cake walk for us. I'd rather our team innovate and create and pivot and figure things out again within reason this year, we'll be smarter and better, we realize the things that kept it back, but at the same time, there are things that... It was not an unobtainable goal, but it did force us to pivot, create and come up with new ideas. So then every single quarter we set new goals, every person is accountable, every Monday people are reporting in on that, and I think to that point, get creative every single quarter, so maybe it's fluoride acceptance in Q1.

0:25:02.8 Kiera: But then we realize, okay, we need to shift and have a focus on perio in Q2, maybe it's on case acceptance, maybe it's on certain type of procedures, maybe it's on ortho cases. But don't be afraid to pivot and change the things you're tracking, I suggest going quarterly, otherwise, I don't think you have enough time to get enough momentum to see if it works, some people like to switch it every single month, which you're welcome to do.

0:25:26.7 Kiera: My recommendation is quarterly, but like you said, Dana, consistently follow up, have it set, and then Dana, I guess the real big outlying piece that we haven't touched on for goal setting is what happens if you have a team member who's not participating, if they are missing their goals consistently, they don't... They're not... Staying accountable to what they say they're going to do. Like, what do you do with that person? And if you are that person, level up, but what do you do with that person?

0:25:57.7 Dana: I think it is one, starting with just having a conversation as to what is holding them back, and then partnering together with them into what systems can be put into place that really do inspire and motivate you to hit this. And so it may be as simple as they just come up with a solution that I need a reminder at the end of the day, I need a check-in that I handed to you, I need sort of a checklist. Or I'm uncomfortable with this, so I need more training on verbiage, whatever it is, come up with a solution together, dig into the why it is difficult for them, partner with them in a solution, and then really, again, basically explain the importance and the why behind hitting that goal.

0:26:45.7 Kiera: Yeah, I really love that because you just dove it into what is stumbling, like what's keeping them back from it, but also not letting them not be accountable to it. And I think the sooner that you jump in on this, like if I've got somebody who's missed it two weeks in a row, let's have that conversation or at that week where they missed it. Even asking them like, "Hey, what happened this last week? What are we going to do differently this next week, what do we need?" If it's a reminder, fantastic. If it's that, it's too hard to track it... Let's find an easier way to track it, if it's if they don't even know how to pull their reports, do that, but don't be afraid to ask the questions of what's getting in their way, and have that become a team culture where when we do report on our goals, if we missed it, we explain what happened and come with solutions or ask for help, that way we can consistently hit it. Because honestly, getting a team that's bought in the goals where they set the goals, they hit the goals. They achieve the goals together.

0:27:38.6 Kiera: That's like a dream team. That's just magic, and it's very easy and just a fun, fun team.

0:27:44.0 Dana: Yeah, 100% agree.

0:27:48.2 Kiera: Well, Dana, I love having these conversations, guys, get those goals set, have fun with them, get your team involved in it. So I'd say if we're gonna recap this all down, it's number one, get your production, your professional and your team goals, all set. Leaders need to do that, have that in play, then get your team bought into it, also put some intangibles in there, what are we doing with this, how do we wanna give back and serve more? Have the team really co-create on it, and then find a way to make sure that this is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic with the timeframe, I will give an example, we had a goal this year for the company to be completely independent of Kiera, and I think it was Q4, somebody finally asked, how are we even gonna know if we hit this goal or not... Brilliant, brilliant question. Like we had no way to know, did we hit this or did we not? So make sure all of your goals have a way to measure and then consistently have a set time where you follow up, check in on it, that way you guys can all hit it with ease and then when people aren't, check to see what are the assembling blocks and play, how can we fix it and make sure everybody's moving forward.

0:28:46.2 Kiera: So Dana love it, I love this, I'm so jazzed for people that just get pumped up for January, make sure it's not just a January and then a fizzle out, but actually hitting these goals with ease, really celebrating the wins as a team as well.

0:28:58.0 Dana: Yeah, I love this time of year.

0:29:00.9 Kiera: So fun. Well, Dana, thank you so much for being here and for all of you listening. Thank you. And we'll catch you next time on The Dental A Team Podcast.


0:29:09.5 Kiera: 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.



Download our in-person interview form, resume scorecard, and a sample Office Manager job ad for FREE!

Enter your email address to get more information!