Episode 659: Gain Immediate Momentum in Your Practice

business development Mar 28, 2023


Kiera is on The Pinnacle Podcast with Rebecca Hannah! This crossover episode touches on the journey of building a business, off-the-top recommendations to strengthen your dental practice TODAY, pivoting as a business visionary during Covid-19, the importance of technology in practices, and a ton more.

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0:00:05.8 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.

0:00:51.8 KD: Hello Dental A Team listeners, this is Kiera and you guys, I am really excited for this podcast. I was actually able to be a guest on another podcast, with Rebecca. She is absolutely incredible. Her podcast is The Pinnacle Podcast and we dove through so many fun topics that I had to do a crossover episode and share it with you guys. So guys, I hope you love it. I hope you take some amazing nuggets away from it. Go check out The Pinnacle Podcast and as always, thanks for listening. I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team Podcast.

0:01:26.9 Rebecca Hannah: Hello everyone. Welcome back to The Pinnacle Podcast. I am so excited to have Kiera Dent here with me today. Kiera is the CEO and founder of The Dental A Team. So Kiera, first of all, welcome. We're so excited to have you.

0:01:42.9 KD: Thank you. I'm excited to be here Rebecca, it's truly an honor. And I'm just excited to chat all things business and women and all the things today. So thanks for having me.

0:01:52.7 RH: Of course. So for those who may not have heard of you, why don't you go ahead and give an introduction into who you are, what you do, and what The Dental A Team does?

0:02:02.9 KD: Sure. So, my name's Kiera Dent and there's always a joke because I do work in dentistry and they're like, is that a stage name? And I'm like, no, that like really is my name. It just took me three fiancees to get that name. So, I didn't marry them, I just get disengaged easily is what I make the joke about. So I'm like I just need better SEO with the first two. But I started out actually as a dental assistant and then I became a treatment coordinator and a scheduler and a biller. And then when my husband went to pharmacy school, I got kind of savvy and he got accepted to quite a few schools and I called all the different schools and I said, Hey, do any of you guys give a spouse discount? 'cause I knew school was gonna be really expensive and Midwestern in Arizona where he decided to go, gave a spousal discount.

0:02:47.5 KD: So, I feel like I got real blessed and real lucky because I actually got a job in the dental school out there. So I worked in the dental college for three years. I felt like a tooth lunch lady, so I would just hand out teeth and composite and all the the fun things. And then I actually, one of the students, she asked me if I would go help her start her practice and be a practice owner with her in Colorado. And I was like, absolutely. Yes. I don't have to go to school like you guys just did. Let's do this. So, we grew our first practice from 500,000 to 2.4 million in nine months. And then opened our second location and then there became seven practices altogether. And I realized commuting back and forth was a little bit of a strain on my marriage in my life. And so I thought, hey, well if I could help her, I'm sure I could help hundreds of other dentists that I know. So let's start the consulting company. So that's actually how Dental A Team came about and then wanted to start the podcast to just inspire more people, that to realize like life is just a great beautiful thing we get to experience. And so and now here we are. So that's kind of my journey and how I went from team member to business owner to speaking with you today.

0:03:58.8 RH: Wow, that's amazing. So it sounds like you came into the dental industry with more of like an entrepreneurial background, you know, more business focused versus, kind of the healthcare side of it. How has that, you know, impacted your journey?

0:04:13.7 KD: So I was a dental assistant before, so in high school, I started out as a dental assistant. Then I did like all the things. So, but I always had this itch inside of me to run a business. So while my husband was in school, I actually took a business class 'cause Midwestern paid for us to get like free schooling.

0:04:30.0 RH: Nice.

0:04:30.6 KD: And I took a class and I made a business called the Russia Brush Club. So kind of like, Dollar Shave Club. It was gonna be like toothbrushes on demand where we're gonna be.

0:04:39.8 RH: Oh Nice.

0:04:40.3 KD: 'Cause who honestly throws away their toothbrush and like it's a new one on the increment you should. Like nobody does. So that was the business model and my husband was like, no, no, no, no, no. Kiera don't do a business. Like my family comes from custom home construction companies.

0:04:54.8 KD: Like I watched my family, that's why I wanna be a pharmacist. I don't wanna be dealing this whole business thing. But I just had this innate itch of I just felt that I wanted this, I wanted, I knew I wanted to run a business of some sort. So I think in my career, I think having that I also got my bachelor's degree in marriage and family therapy. So kind of that like therapy side plus entrepreneur, like love of business side. And then the clinical side, I think I just saw all the pieces come together and where the gaps are in all of it. And I thought, you know what, this is what I think I'm called to do and so let's make this, let's make this a real deal. But, I think I wish I had more business if I'm honest. Like I've learned all of it just from boots on the ground, bootstrapping it, figuring it out. Which I think is fine but I sometimes I'm like, gosh, like reading a P&L was really, really hard for me when I first started 'cause I didn't even know how to do it.

0:05:46.2 RH: Right. Totally.

0:05:48.0 KD: So yeah.

0:05:49.3 RH: That's amazing. So kind of walk me through the experience of launching that first dental practice, you know, you're freshly new into the business. What was that like? What were some of the challenges you faced and looking back, what was like the biggest lesson that you learned from launching that first practice?

0:06:07.8 KD: You know, I felt like I was a kid playing house in a dental office. Like, I literally felt like I didn't know what I was doing, but like sure, of course we can do this. Just like, like little kids think they can make Pancakes Right. With their little kitchens. And I didn't know what the heck I was doing honestly. So it felt like drinking from a fire hose, which is, I think is why I'm so passionate about helping other business owners learn how to run your business successfully because man, like when the tax auditor came in, I didn't know what the heck was going on. When we almost got sued by a patient, like, tax auditors. They don't have a sense of humor. Like, I tried to make a joke and it wasn't funny. Patient's trying to sue us Like again.

0:06:46.9 KD: Things that I'm like, I don't even know how to prepare for this. So I feel like just launching that business, the biggest thing I feel like I learned was I lost myself trying to achieve success. I felt like if I just worked harder or I ran faster, I would be able to like, it felt like if I ran faster and worked harder I would make the end sooner. But like, there is no end in business until you retire or sell. Like that's the end. And so I was up at 2:00 AM working till 10:00 PM like people love the story of 500,000 to 2.4 million in nine months. And I'm like, yeah, it's a super sexy title, but it's not a super sexy life. And I think if I would've just like slowed a little bit and put systems into play and realized that I was truly on a marathon, not a sprint, I got into some serious health problems and my marriage started to deteriorate and my health was deteriorating.

0:07:44.0 KD: And like people don't see that behind the scenes. And so I feel like I wish I would've just realized like this is a marathon. Like the journey and the process and like it takes time. It's not something where if you just work harder and you grind it out faster, you can like get to the end 'cause what's gonna happen is you're just gonna keep growing and building and adding and making this big, which like makes the problems even that much bigger. And I didn't realize that. And so I feel like I was chasing more of a status or a success or a destination rather than realizing like this business is a journey and make sure that I'm living my dream life while also building a business.

0:08:21.1 RH: Totally. That's so true. And I think it's so applicable for any industry, right? Any position, you know, so many of my Mountain Movers clients, you know, they're practice owners and I think it can be so, you know, burnout as you know, is at an all time high for physicians and dentists. And I think that's just so wise. It's a marathon, not a sprint. And making sure that even as you're building your own practice, you know, you're pacing yourself and making sure that it's sustainable long term. So I love that. I love that take. So okay, so you had that incredible success of growing that first dental practice. Talk me through the process of realizing like, oh wait, I can make a business out of this. Like this can be something huge, I can help other practice owners. When did that moment hit you and then what did that process look like of starting The Dental A Team?

0:09:15.0 KD: Yeah, so I think it actually stems back to when I got the job at the dental college. 'cause I've really tried to place this in a timeline and I remember in my interview the dean of the college said, Kiera, why do you wanna leave private practice and come work at a dental college? And it wasn't rehearsed. I mean that's not a typical question I hadn't even thought about. Like honestly I was like just looking for how can I get my husband's tuition reduced 'cause I'm terrified to be in debt. And when he asked me that, 'cause it wasn't about getting the job at the school for my husband's tuition, it was literally like why am I leaving private practice something I love? Like I turned down full ride scholarships to marriage and family therapy schools. Like I was accepted to grad school.

0:09:54.4 KD: And in that interview I remember thinking about my patients at the practice and so I was like, yeah, I love private practice and yet I'm transitioning into the dental school. And the answer came of, 'cause I wanna positively impact the world of dentistry in the greatest way possible and like working in a private practice, sure I can influence, but if I could like inspire all these students, just think of that impact... So going back to that moment, well then you go and you build a practice, right? 'cause now you're able to impact bigger, you're able to learn more. And then that same itch, it really came from, I remember thinking like, if I could do this for this one student, like every class had 175 students and I was there for three years. I saw five classes worth of students. Like there were so many people in my sphere that I thought like I have a moral obligation to help these students learn and have a resource in the industry.

0:10:46.9 KD: So not to sound like I'm such a great person, like I'm not trying to paint that picture. It truly came from love of these students and also wanting to help the best dentist win. And so I thought like, all right, if I just helped her grow from 500,000 to 2.4 million, adding these extra practices, what could I do for the rest of these students? So that's how Dental A Team came. I remember like packing a bag going to one of my friend's offices, I literally paid him to come in and consult 'cause I'm like, I don't even know what I'm doing. I've never worked with a consultant. I don't even know what this should look like. Like let me just come practice. And when we saw, we were able to add, he was doing about a 100,000-120,000 and I was there for three days and we added 50,000 to his, production for that month.

0:11:32.9 KD: So we went from 110-160 in one month. I thought, okay, this wasn't just a one off. I think we know what we're doing and if we can help the best dental offices win, like that's my mission to help just positively impact this world of dentistry in the greatest way possible. Which then led to Dental A Team, which then led to the podcast, which now leads to us, traveling all over the United States helping practices, we've even traveled outside the country. But really it's, I just want the best dental offices to win and I want them to be successful and I want them to have happy lives. And then I think it's just also helping the team too, because everything's usually directed to the dentist. Like let's help them, let's give them the CE. And I'm like, yeah, but you've got all these people that they're trying to get on board, that's a heavy mission and a heavy load. So let's elevate both together, make life easier and then give an even better patient experience at the end of the day as well.

0:12:26.8 RH: I love that. That actually perfectly segues into my next question, which is, so you guys actually go to the office, you travel to the office. Tell me about, 'cause that's pretty rare, you know for dental consulting companies. Tell me about how you came up with that idea and why that has been such a, you know, such a big part of your company.

0:12:51.6 KD: Yeah. So funny story. I believe heavily in vision boards and I always say, be careful of what you put on that vision board because it will come to pass. So when we were at Midwestern in Arizona on my vision board, it said Travel the world. And then there was a type it on right next to it. And I've always just had an obsession with traveling. We just came back, new year's, I rang in the new year in Bali and that was my seventh continent. Which most people think it'd be Antarctica, but I got that pre-Covid and then Asia was my last one.

0:13:20.7 RH: That's amazing.

0:13:21.8 KD: I think it was really, I just wanted to travel and I wanted travel on someone else's dime. And so like why not? This is super fun to go to their practice, but as it's evolved, I mean it sounded real glam and glitz until you're gone 265 days a year. That puts a strain on your relationship as well. But for me, I feel like I started noticing that going into an office, doctors and teams don't even know what is possible, right? I had that as a team member, as an owner. Like I didn't know what other offices were doing. You're kind of on an isolated island. So I think for us flying to a practice, yeah, it is hard. And to find travelers who want to travel across the nation and leave their families like it is a really hard business model. But I just think when we go into those practices, it's like, I feel like it's Mary Poppins and Marie Kondo come together and have a baby and we are just coming in and it's like shake and bake figure things out, help you see things that you didn't even realize. And to leave those practices with more ease and happiness and team buy-in and a better patient and team experience.

0:14:26.9 KD: And I was able to do that in a matter of, I mean, it's very fast. It's a day and a half. That to me is so valuable. And I think of me as a business owner and as a team, like what do I wish I would've had? I wish I would've had a freaking fairy godmother fly in, Like.


0:14:41.2 KD: Like it's done. All these things I didn't even realize that could make my life easier. But you're right, it is a strain. But I think the consultants who do travel, we just have have this love for travel and helping people just make their lives easier. That we typically hit almost all 50 states every single year. And it's just something fun to be able to share and help offices realize like they're not alone. You're not on an isolated island and we're gonna bring you everything from hundreds of offices and you get that experience in your practice.

0:15:11.9 RH: Yeah. That's so cool. And I think there's something to be said for being face-to-face with your clients and being in their world, and I'm sure you pick up on so many more, so much more than you would, you know, over a phone call or zoom and, like I imagine that insight would just be on another level when you're actually there. So when you go, you know, to meet a practice owner for the first time and you, you're meeting their staff and what are some of the first things that you pick up on in a dental office or some things that maybe you could tell our listeners, you know, if they own a dental practice, what are a few things that you would recommend right away to strengthen, you know, their practice?

0:15:55.5 KD: Yeah, so first things first, as a team member teams are terrified of consultants. So you've gotta like limit that and realize like, I'm not here to fire you... I'm here to see what you're doing really, really, really well. Because offices who hire a consultant aren't terrible. Like they're not just falling apart practices, they're doing things really, really well. And they just wanna go to the next level. So like, I'm here to compliment you on what you're doing well and then also see some gaps of where I can make your life easier. So I always ask offices like, what are, if I could change one thing for you, what would that be? And I think that that's like just a really simple, it seems so obvious, but I feel we don't ask that. Like if you just ask your team right now, have all of them fill out a quick survey, like, if I could make your life easier, what would be one thing I could do?

0:16:39.8 KD: And then what I start to see is you see patterns. And I'm really big on pattern recognition because typically your team is all speaking the same things. And so most of the time teams don't care about production. Like yes, they care about it if it's gonna tie to their bonus or if it means we keep the lights on, then they care. But if they don't realize that like production is helping the patient experience, typically they don't care about it. So it's, I would say when you're trying to make changes, translate it to where it's gonna be easier for your team and help them realize like, this is actually gonna make your job easier. So quick wins though. When I go into an office first things I'm always looking for are like, they're very basic and I tell everyone, I'm like, people ask all the time, Kiera, how do you go into an office, flip it like a 10-30 percent increase in production within your first 30-90 days?

0:17:22.8 KD: Like how do you do this? And I'm like, the answer is it's a simple low hanging fruit that you think is like not important that will flip a practice. So what I'm about to share, Rebecca is nothing glam, it's not glitz. It's literally the like, brush your teeth, floss your teeth and you're going to not get cavities. Same type of thing. It's are you having morning huddles where you're looking to win the day? I'm looking to see does your team prepare and are we just filling a schedule or are we productively filling that schedule and making it an ideal schedule for us and also for our doctor 'cause, and it's funny, I interview consultants all day long and I say like, what is a good productive schedule? And they're like, if it's just full. And I'm like, but break that down for me.

0:18:02.0 KD: Like what does full mean? 'cause I can like slam a bunch of crown seats in that schedule and that's full and doctor is really angry at the end of that day. Like that was not a productive day. So looking for morning huddles, I'm also looking to see, are they like, depending upon what their needs are, I don't usually come in with a set like, okay, here's what we need to do. It's really what are your goals of your practice because it's all gonna tie to different things. But like quick hit items are morning huddles, handoffs, making sure we're transferring that information and like, I'll just give you a real dreamy one. I call it the NDTR, like never date the rookie or neuter or whatever the heck you wanna remember this for, but it stands for like next visit, date to return, time needed for appointment and then re-cared scheduled. And like those four little pieces, I have literally taken case acceptance same day from a like 50%-100%. Added over $25,000 worth of treatment just on that one simple little phrase, because patient cares it, they know exactly what they need to schedule for.

0:19:03.1 KD: Or an office hears it or clinical team hears it, doctor said it and everybody's on the same page. That will radically increase communication, radically increase the patient experience, make it easier. And then I'm looking for other things that are maybe soft skills. So like how are we answering the phone? What's our patient experience? Are we tracking KPIs? Are we doing one-on-one with our team members so we don't lose team members? And then whatever else it is like and for every practice it's different. So that's something I love about what we do and the autonomy we give our consultants is it is truly just like a treatment plan. What do you guys want? What are your goals as a team and as an owner? And then let's put those pieces in. But I think that's a pretty quick hit list of items that are gonna be a quick like immediate momentum that you can implement and see a big difference really quickly.

0:19:50.7 RH: Yeah. That's so good. That just reminds me of the quote, small hinges open big doors and it's like if you can just pay attention to those details that you may not think are that impactful, you know, I feel like that's an incredible way for practice centers to just like, whoa, there's some little things that you can dial in that will make a huge difference moving forward.

0:20:10.6 KD: For Sure. Yeah.

0:20:11.8 RH: That's so awesome. So obviously, you know, COVID hit in 2020 and the entire healthcare industry shifted forever because of it. How did the Dental A Team handle COVID hitting and how did that impact your business and did it shift your strategy moving forward with dental practices?

0:20:33.4 KD: Yeah, I mean we went from a traveling company to like, planes are grounded, no one's flying, offices are shut down. And I just feel real thankful I am, I feel like I'm like a squirrel with a lot of acorns and I'm always afraid that life's gonna fall out from underneath me. So I'm constantly like building over here. And so we actually had online resources and we quickly pivoted as a team to online. And so, but again, my model and our mission is to positively impact the world of dentistry in the greatest way possible. So our team got together and we did like consultant round table. We realized like you guys have a ton of time. So we started running, we called it Workshop Wednesday. And we started running workshops to help offices get their operations manuals created and done during COVID.

0:21:20.9 KD: 'Cause we're like, you guys, you beg for time. Like I hear that in every practice. I'm sure you do too, Rebecca. Like.

0:21:27.0 RH: Yes.

0:21:27.2 KD: Kiera I just don't have enough time. I just don't have enough time. I just don't have enough time. And I'm like, you guys were just gifted with a truckload of free time. So like let's make the most of it. So we really pivoted and I feel super blessed and super fortunate that we actually grew during COVID. We were on a lot of webinars, we were trying to give out as much information as we could. We had tons of online resources for offices. We had a lot of offices actually start consulting during COVID because they thought, hey, like we've got downtime. They had no idea. And kudos to them for having the like abundance mindset rather than scarcity.

0:22:00.4 KD: But I feel real thankful. I just remember, so I flew home from Antarctica and I tried to go back and I tried to convince my husband that we should keep going and he was like, Kiera, I gotta get back to work. So we got off the boat, we went to Disneyland on Saturday, Sunday we flew home, Monday I start on my coaching calls and literally from my 6:00 AM call to my 11 o'clock call, things are shutting down, everything's happening. My clients were like, what's going on? And that boat that I was going to be on going back to Antarctica got stuck in the ocean for two months. And I'm like wow, that was a real big blessing. But I remember sitting there thinking like, I don't even know what's going on. I don't know what's happening for these clients. I don't know how like there was pure panic and I am so thankful I had a coach because she literally kept me like solid stalwart.

0:22:46.5 KD: Like Kiera you've gotta be strong for your clients. You need to be thinking 50 feet ahead. And that's just where I think I got like a huge testimony of like, you need to have a good coach, you need to have someone in your corner. And as we're headed into a recession, I'm like, do you have someone who's going to be mentally strong for you? Because that's how we grew during COVID. We had, So many people come through and I just feel very thankful and fortunate. But I do remember going from March, coming back from Antarctica to September, getting on my first plane and being utterly terrified. And now it's kind of like, you think back and you're like, it was fine. And I'm like, yeah, it's fine because we knew it was happening. But at that time I'm like, I've never met someone who's died of the flu.

0:23:26.9 KD: I really haven't. But I knew people dying of COVID and you see these, these cities impacted in ways that we couldn't even imagine. And so I think back to how grateful I am that we were able to pivot and change and then it was fun and then we became like ridiculously busy 'cause everyone wants people to come to their practices 'cause they don't wanna fly anywhere. So we really definitely ramped up and we all definitely went around the world a couple of times in those next couple of months. But, during that time it was really a big pivot too. We can do things virtually. I think the best thing for us and I'm sure you feel this is offices got comfortable doing things on Zoom and I feel the need and necessity for in-person became less and they realized that a lot could actually get done virtually more so than they thought that couldn't be.

0:24:11.7 RH: Absolutely. Yeah. We kind of have a similar story as a company of COVID really. I mean we launched during COVID. We launched July of 2020, so, but you know, I think that it couldn't have been more perfect timing because you know, virtual assistance, remote outsourcing was, it was perfect. And I think there's something to be said for pivoting, right? And knowing when to pivot and not being scared. And I like that your mindset, you're always thinking ahead, right? You're thinking about what's gonna happen next because that's, you know, your job as CEO is to be that visionary for your company. So just the fact that you guys were able to grow during COVID is such a testament to that. So, that kind of leads to my next question. So, obviously you know, technology became essential for practices to embrace, especially because of COVID. So where do you see, dental practices or medical practices, how much more important is technology gonna become moving forward? Just what are your thoughts about that?

0:25:18.6 KD: Ooh, such a good one. I love juicy questions like this, because I feel dentistry is stuck almost in the 1800s and I'm either gonna be like really well liked or really hated based on that comment. And I'm okay with either one. But I just think we're such a dated industry in so many ways. Like when I hear offices saying like, Kiera, we don't collect when they're leaving the practice. Like we've never done that. We just send them a statement and I'm like, do you go to the grocery store and put it on your tab? Because I'm pretty confident those days are over. I just feel that that need for technology is so paramount and I feel offices that will take advantage of it and not be afraid are going to be the offices that absolutely crush it moving forward.

0:26:04.0 KD: Like and it's so fun. I mean I just think like you even go to restaurants, QR codes were a dinosaur pre-COVID. Like people, like we don't use QR codes. Those are dumb. Those are a thing of the past. Boom baby guys. Those things came back and I feel it's the same thing with technology. Whether it's you outsource your insurance or you have a virtual assistant or you have these different things that are offered if you have like AI is coming in hot and strong. And I think any business out there, any practice out there thinking that we're just gonna keep it as is, I feel you're in for a really exciting awakening when you realized you were left behind. And it's gonna be really hard for you to catch back up. So I'm on like a mantra of like guys get on board now, start thinking ahead.

0:26:50.7 KD: Look to where the future's going. It's not going backwards. There is no like return to normal. This is normal and it's just accelerating DSOs coming in. Like it's not going to stop or slow the pace. And so I think you've got to get on board, embrace it, love it, find ways because also I think our culture around work radically shifted as well. People realize they didn't have to work as much. They don't need incomes. They can get by on a lot less. They'd rather travel and be with their families. And so you have this workforce shift of mindset. People don't wanna work as many hours. You have, So then we don't have people, we're in a hygiene drought, which is kind of starting to come out, but still you're in a hygiene drought. Now we're moving into a dental assistant drought. Like it is paramount to outsource to find things. And what's great is then those companies, they take care of it for you and they don't you like, they worry about people calling out sick, but your business can flourish and move. I don't think dentistry will be replaced. I think there would be always a need of hand skills and whatnot. But I do think a lot of what we do is definitely on its way to being replaced because it has to. And I think that that's a beautiful thing for our industry.

0:28:04.5 RH: Yeah, I totally agree. I think, yeah, it just goes back to you know, being strategic about looking, ahead and figuring out, you know, we know we're going into recession and so how can dental practice owners prepare for this oncoming recession? I'm sure that you are having these conversations all the time with your clients. So, you know, what are a few things you can tell our listeners to, how can they prepare? 'cause everyone you know, is freaked out. You see the news headlines, you hear all the whispers but it's just so uncertain moving forward. So what's some advice that you would give?

0:28:41.3 KD: Huh, so I would give the advice of number one, you gotta have a strong mindset. If you don't have that right now, like start getting it. And that can be through meditation. I think meditation is workout for the mind and meditating, journaling, getting yourself into a good headspace. Snagging a coach if you need a coach. But whatever's gonna keep you mentally strong because like we're going into warrior mode. Like can you go through, I feel like it's like, are you that buffalo that's just gonna keep walking through that freaking storm? Or you're gonna be like the, that's like running around, like trying to get cover and, like the sky's falling on you. Who are you? You've gotta get that mindset lock down, solid. So that's number one. Number two, I think also be really smart with your finances. I feel like business owners have a responsibility to know their numbers and if you don't know it, like you better learn it and start getting money in reserve because if you've got that, it's not gonna be scary.

0:29:35.6 KD: You're gonna be able to pivot, you're gonna be able to morph and it's going to help you feel a lot more secure. So that'd be number two. And then number three, it's like outsource figure out solutions. Like let's pretend right now your entire team left like just for an incident. Like poof, it's you, you've got a full schedule. What softwares, what technology out there could you immediately implement tomorrow that's going to replace this workforce? Because I think with the economy shifting, people are gonna make weird decisions and it's not going to make sense. They're going to be shifting. And so I would have a plan of my resources like on speed dial ready to go that way in a moment since like if people lose their front office and I'm like, okay, have you trained your clinical team to be able to present treatment plans?

0:30:21.0 KD: Can you take payments in the back? So like hold for an office, poof, gone. Can your clinical team take care of that? Could you outsource your billing? Can you have somebody who can answer your phone calls for you? Can you have different people in different places? What about training? What about onboarding? Like, do you have these processes in place right now? So you could literally go hire someone awesome at Starbucks and they could come and be a killer dental assistant and if you don't have that, build that now. And then that way it's like and then bring it on, be excited, generate accelerate. I think like recessions are where billionaires and millionaires are made.

0:30:56.7 RH: Absolutely.

0:30:56.8 KD: And the best companies are created during this time. And I think it's because they're strongest, they're mentally strong, they thought ahead, they prepared and then they pivoted and morphed and didn't sit here and think why is this happening to me? But instead like, all right, how are we gonna get through this? Like that buffalo going through the storm and they make it and they're beyond successful more than they ever could have imagined.

0:31:18.9 RH: Yeah. It's so true. Yeah. Something we talk about a lot is grit and having that grit to keep moving forward and really like, it's all about the people that you have on your team. If you have the right people in the right places, you're gonna be able to get through any storm. You know, as long as you're thinking ahead and being strategic. So I wanted to ask you, because obviously you've built a very successful company, your entire job is helping others build successful practices and a huge part of that is staffing. So what would you say is your philosophy for finding the right people? Like some of the things that you look for in people, what makes someone an excellent candidate that you would immediately say, I want them on my team, or they should be on your team for your practice.

0:32:06.8 KD: Yeah. Well and thank you for that and I'm so glad you said that because with this recession and all these pieces, that's another piece of like, you've gotta have a place that people want to work. So like what do you need to do? I'm not talking about like you're bringing them coffee every day, like that could be great, but how's that culture? How is the trust in your company? What is the grit? What are your core values like and is that really core of your company? So, with hiring, I actually have found a lot of different things. So I'll give a like really cool piece out there to the listeners. This has saved me literally $15,000 last year. There's a company called Viva HR on our website, you guys, or you can let them know Dental A Team has a, I have a discounted rate, but they allow you to post on every single platform for $99 a month, unlimited posting.

0:32:52.7 KD: And that to me is like just allowing these practices to win. So number one, like use your resources again, let's be smart with how we're doing this. But the second thing is like, we're not great interviewers. There's a lot of ways that you can't interview and we don't know and people can charm you. And so I think having grace for yourself of like, you're gonna do the best you can, but I do think that there are some tools that you can have. So I am real big on like put your money where your mouth is. So if you tell me that you're an incredible biller, when they come in I make them like say like, okay, perfect. Pull my AR report. Tell me what I need to do. So that way I can see do they actually have the technical skills that they say they do.

0:33:31.9 KD: If they're a treatment coordinator, I'm like, perfect, I'm your patient. Present this treatment plan and print it out and watch them present it to you. Can they present financing? Are they afraid of money? Give them a huge one. Like let's do a $50,000 like complete implant case. Can they present that to you? When they're scheduling, be a patient, have them actually answer the phone when they're assisting or hygiene, like have them actually do the work. I think is a really good way to not subjectively like them, but also make sure that it's something where objectively I can say yes, they actually have the skillset. And then there's another really cool program that's out there and it's called Culture Index. And we've actually worked with them a lot. We've got some, a lot of discounted rates through them. But a lot of our offices are using them.

0:34:15.9 KD: And what's really cool about that is you can actually see, like for me, I'm a people person and I love people. So if I met Rebecca I'd be like, oh my gosh, I love her. Bring her in. Because I just like you, you're a really likable person. But my gut and liking people has gotten me into not the best liking sometimes 'cause I'm like.

0:34:32.7 RH: Sure.

0:34:33.1 KD: I like this person, I can't fire them. Like ugh. So Culture Index allows you to actually see a profile of a person and ensure they're who you actually want to hire rather than who you think you wanna hire. So I feel like those are like some really good tools to go out there to have it not be as subjective of like, what's like a, how do I feel, but to actually have a process around hiring and hiring these great teams because it's crazy right person, right seat is freaking magic.

0:35:03.5 KD: Right person, wrong seat is just like grinding gears that aren't meant to happen. And then wrong person, wrong seat, that's just definitely a disaster. And it's kind of funny 'cause I had a lot of trainings about hiring yesterday and there's a quote right here that says, and it's by John D Rockefeller and it says, don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great. And I think with hiring.

0:35:24.4 RH: So good.

0:35:25.7 KD: Sometimes you really just think like, oh this person's good enough. And I'm like, I don't want freaking B or C or D team players. We want A team. That's why I named it the A team. Because if you have A team players things are so much easier. It's easier to manage, it's easier to get things done. And I'm not trying to like push them to make it happen, but they're equally rowing with me as well.

0:35:46.7 RH: I love it. Yeah. That's so good. Everything you said is so true and I think that yeah, that's such a key to growth is just getting the right people in and it definitely takes time and you know, I've had people on my team where I look back and I'm like, I wish I just had waited for someone that I loved to hire and that I knew would be amazing instead of just trying to fill the role just because oh, they're good enough. You know? So I can totally relate to that. So I think just having that patience is, that's such a good tip for practice owners.

0:36:20.0 KD: I think. Like what kind of a practice do you wanna have long term? Yeah. Do you want this like sloppy seconds, we'll take whomever we can get or do we want one that's like elite? No, we're gonna be patient because I will promise you your good team members would rather wait for the right ideal person than put someone in there who's just gonna be harder, isn't showing up on time and creates more problems long term. It seems like, and it's like, choose your heart. Is it harder to wait for that perfect person or is it harder to hire someone that's not ideal? You either have to fire them or mentor them or give so much time, energy and exhaustion. Choose your heart on that and believe that you like, you know, sloppy seconds. Like you deserve the best and you should have the best and they are coming. And know that they're truly on their way to you.

0:37:03.7 RH: Love it. So good. So, talking about culture and you know, establishing a strong culture that's gonna make people want to stay with you long term. How do you go about creating a strong culture? You know, say you are consulting, for a practice that they're struggling with, that you know, they don't really have core values or a mission or a vision. What are some ways that, you can build that up and you know, keep your people long term?

0:37:31.9 KD: Yeah, I'm glad you asked because this was something I didn't do well and I was so concerned about people liking me and trying to create this culture where everyone was happy. And I'm like, that's not gonna work out. So, I realized that culture, I read a great book, I'm sure you read it, Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. Like when I read the line that everything good and bad is a direct reflection of me as a leader, I think I like stopped my mouth dropped open, I felt like I'd just been stabbed by someone. Because I realized like my team is just a mirror to me. And so if I've got turnover, if I've got people who don't wanna be here, if I've got lazy workers, like that's me. Like Kiera, I'm like, wake up and I remember.

0:38:19.0 KD: There was a moment I felt like I almost out bodied in my own company and I was watching and I'm like, "Oh gosh, I've made all this and I don't even know how to get out of it." And I feel it's a... I say that culture is such a tricky thing because we're in a world of instant gratification and culture is a slow burn with minimal gratification for a long time. And so things that I found are number one figure out what your core is and we can sit here all day long and think of core values. And I can't remember what book I wish I could to give credit to this one, but I remember they said it's the three things that were the core of what you started this business with. So if you go back and think of what were the things you wanted to create? What was that? For me it was I want a place that's fun, that's easy. We're gonna make things easy for people and we're always gonna do the right thing. Those are my three cores. Everything else is great, but that was my three core pieces. And then we're up to seven. Ours are cute little core values and we call it the Dope GIF. And our marketing team made us a literal GIF that says dope. And I think it's hilarious 'cause I love wit.

0:39:25.7 KD: But we use our core values literally every day. So it's in our morning huddle. Wednesday's core value is shout out. There are one-on-ones are around the core values. And that to me I feel like I am subconsciously and consciously infiltrating in my team who I want them to be here at work. On day one of your interview or I ask people about the core values and which one resonates with them and when they come on I just... I have a brand new team member starting today and I literally spent my 10 minutes with her, was all around our core values saying this is our culture, this is what our core is, this is what these means and this is what I expect of you and this is what our team is like. That is going to make it amazing. And then you read five dysfunctions of teams. The bottom level is trust. So I'm like, "Are you actually having trust, like vulnerable conversations? Are we having peer to peer accountability where it's not just leadership to peer but peer to peer? Are they holding each other accountable? Are they saying things?

0:40:23.2 RH: Wow.

0:40:23.9 KD: Are we gossiping behind each other's backs? That's the type of stuff that will drive people away. It's not money, it's just who's appreciating them. But is it a workplace that makes them feel trustworthy? Is it a workplace that has that? And then my last tangible is... And this one's hard, this one I did... I was not a lover of this. This is like doing sit-ups and you don't see the freaking rewards for like months forever until you stop eating cookies, it's there. Those bottom two abs never come in until you really work hard. And that's how this was, but every Friday I actually write an email and a lot of our clients will do this and I call it the Friday Five and it's five highlights or five things that need to be identified or five good things that happen within your organization. And what that is is again it's that subtle infiltration of your culture. It's highlighting team members who are living the examples. And I don't highlight every team member. [chuckle] I don't, I don't give everyone an award and I don't give everyone a trophy. And what I've seen is it took me a solid year of Friday Fives and Morning Huddles and core values and monthly one-on-ones with the core values in there, before I saw this shift to where I'm like, "I actually think our culture is a place that has raving fan team members that are content."

0:41:40.9 KD: Like, "I don't think everyone's gonna be happy. I don't think it's always gonna be great but I think people are content. They love what they do. Right people at right seats. And it's having uncomfortable conversations too 'cause that builds that trust and honesty. So again I feel like culture is such a... I think it's hard in our culture today because we wanna immediate and there's so many... I mean guys you can Botox and you can be a young woman or man again in a second. We will get our hair done. We can get a tan, we can filter ourselves, all these different things we can do and instantly make our lives better. But culture is this very low slow burn that takes time to build but when you have it, it's unstoppable, it's undeniable and your team operates without you there doing how you want it to be done because they love what they're doing and they're bought into that culture.

0:42:32.9 RH: Yeah. That's so good. I love it. It's like... Once again going back to it's a marathon not a sprint and you're not gonna see incredible results overnight. So I think that there's so much wisdom. You're bringing so much wisdom. I love it. This is just awesome.

0:42:49.9 KD: Thank you, Rebecca.

0:42:50.8 RH: So I wanted to wrap up with a few questions about just your personal journey and how you became the leader that you are. You obviously have so much insight and you've put in the work and I guess if you could talk about your process of... You just seem like a lifelong learner, right? You seem like you're always trying to be the best version of yourself for your company. How do you maintain that, right? How do you keep running that marathon and not get burnt out and continue casting vision for your team and your company?

0:43:29.0 KD: Gosh that is a really great question, Rebecca. And as you were asking and I was thinking like, "Gosh, what do I do?" And I think... I think going back to the example of when I was a business owner or young I think as business owners I always thought again let me grind it out. Let me build it right now and then I'll be there. There is no arrival guys. This is the arrival so you might as well enjoy it right here. And I think this is really awesome today. And so things that I've done, I'm really big on cadences, I don't like to have to try and remember things like my billing is on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I can remember it. Podcast day's on Thursdays. I just have cadences set up. But I try to do a book a month minimum of and there's a ton of them out there. So my audible is just jam packed when I'm flying. I've gotten it up to where I can do that at about four times the speed and I can just consume books. It's 'cause I love to push my limits but I think it's kinda fun in it too.

0:44:26.3 KD: I mean reading books can be cool but trying to get it to four times the speed and comprehend it and take notes, like that's me challenging myself on a personal level. But I really think as leaders... Oh gosh, this is gonna sound very egotistical and I hope it comes across the way I'm intending it. Like you are the golden goose. You are the person that you need to treat like a Ferrari. And I'm not saying you need to go sit in your office and have people bring you Bondi buns and fan you, that's not what I'm referring to. I'm saying you gotta freaking take care of yourself and give yourself that subsidence that is going to grow you. So I think about myself as like a Ferrari and I'm like, "Okay, I love cars. I'm a big car girl. I love to race." And I just think if I had a Ferrari in the garage which I don't, one day maybe guys, I don't know. It just seems like so awesome and frivolous and ridiculous all mixed into one like [0:45:17.6] ____ anyone who has one,'cause I secretly want it too but you don't even have an emergency break. What the heck?

0:45:22.6 KD: But I just think like how would I treat that car? I would like no dust would be on it and it would get hand waxed and it would have premium fuel in it and it would be like... Everything would be making sure that that thing was pristine. And yet do we treat our bodies that way? Do we give ourselves a proper rest?

0:45:42.4 RH: Wow.

0:45:42.5 KD: Do we feed our minds with good nutrition? Are we fueling our bodies with healthy nutrition? Are we getting mentors and are we... What we're consuming, is it... Social media, awesome on some levels and total junk on others. And I'm like, "I've gotta be careful because what goes in this brain is who I become and I need to make sure that I'm really really keeping myself there." So I feel like it's that matter of realizing you are the golden goose, you are the Ferrari. We gotta keep you good for your family. And I think I realized I need to be able to enjoy right now and that's something that I'm allowed to do. It does not freaking matter what your bank account looks like. It does not matter... You are living the dream, the what you're living today is what you dreamed of before. And so why can't we celebrate that? Why can't we have fun with it? Why can't we take care of our bodies? That is the fuel rather than being like... I don't know. A good question to ask yourself and I've asked myself this many times is, Kiera, if you were an employee of yourself, would you keep working for you?

0:46:45.9 RH: That's good.

0:46:46.3 KD: Because I think that that will then help you see like, "Heck no, there's no freaking way I'd work for myself." And if not, then let's change that. Let's change that because that's gonna keep you growing and then whatever it is for you. For me it is constant knowledge and growth. I love to go to places where I'm inspired. I don't wanna be the smartest person in the room. I wanna feel dumb because then I know I've got really smart people that are inspiring me to be better. So I feel like it's a picture of take care of your body like a Ferrari, make sure that you're living and loving what you're doing right now and then have good mentors or things that are fueling you in your mental mind that's making you think bigger. Get a peer group that is something that will help you see far beyond what you could be. I remember being in an audience and there was this girl and she was super super ill and I felt so good that I donated a hundred bucks and then I remember someone stood up and they donated 10 grand.

0:47:35.1 RH: Wow.

0:47:36.4 KD: And I looked over and I'm like, "I wanna be them. I wanna have it to where disposable to give to a 'cause that I feel so like compelled to give to and want to give to that I could drop 10 grand in a second." But if I would not have gone to this and seen what was possible, I wouldn't have been able to think bigger. And so get around people that make you think bigger and don't compare. There's no need for comparison. It's very easy to do, but you're on your own journey, but be around people that help fuel that vision of who you can become, of what you can become. Because without seeing that you're always dreaming in your world of how big it can be and there's a world outside of you that you were made to be. So level up your peer group. I think for me at least that's what helps me really maintain that leadership sharpness if you will. And then just read good books, there's so much wisdom and knowledge in the minds of people around us and it's so available. Spend your time doing that instead of scrolling and comparing of like why your practice isn't as great. So that would be my recommendation.

0:48:39.8 RH: Love it. That's such practical advice that you know it's so simple, right? It's like, read books, exercise, get enough sleep, surround yourself with good people but so hard to follow sometimes as you're getting caught up in life and work. Thank you so much for all of that wisdom. I wanna wrap it up with one last question. Looking back, if you can give your 20-year old self one piece of advice, you know looking back and knowing that you were filled with dreams and hopes for the future, what would you say to 20-year old Kiera?

0:49:14.9 KD: I think I've got two answers. I've got a soft skill one and a tangible one. And my tangible one would be know your numbers and start investing now. You hear it all the time but we don't do it. And I wish I would've known my numbers better. Like what is profitability? What is overhead? What should I be preparing? I think that that just cuts out so much stress and allows for so many more options in the future. And I like options. To me that's ultimate success is being able to live my life the way I want to live it, the way I choose to live it, with freedom to do what I wanna do. So that'd be tactical. The soft side would be, just go for it. Love yourself and trust yourself, you're going to do it. And if you have that itch inside of you it's never going to go to sleep, live it, do it. You are called for something and whatever you choose to believe spiritually, I feel that we really are... We have innate greatness within us. I just often think that we hold ourselves back and we come up with every reason not to do it. Then I'm like, "Why not just go for it? Why not just do it today? " You have one life to live and the way I envision it is I wanna be like sliding into home base, going into my grave, ringing out with so much joy and passion that I lived my life for me and not for anyone else.

0:50:29.9 KD: I lived a life that I'm proud of. That if I was seeing myself, I'd be cheering me on. And I hope for everyone else that that's what they can do and that's what I tell myself of like live full out for you. Live the life you want to live, not the one that you think everyone else wants you to live.

0:50:46.4 RH: I love it. That's so good. Well Kiera, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. You have dropped so many truth bombs and brought so much just relevant timely info to our listeners. So thank you again. And where can people find you? You know if they want to take their dental practice to new heights, how can they get ahold of you?

0:51:08.9 KD: Yeah for sure. Well Rebecca, it's been an honest, absolute pleasure. You are just a ball of sunshine and I adore you and when I meet you in your home place I'm gonna just give you a big hug. So thank you for having me.

0:51:20.1 RH: Of course.

0:51:21.4 KD: And if you want come hang out with us on the podcast, we have the Dental A Team Podcast, but also for your listeners, something real fun. If you want us tangibly in your practice we fly there. But April 28th and 29th we're actually doing a virtual team summit and let's not think of a summit as lots of speakers. You sit there passively. If you've heard me at all you probably can only imagine how this is and this year it is Secrets at the Multimillion Dollar Practice. We're sending swag boxes, it's full team like retreat style. We are sharing all the secrets, tangible tactical with the whole team involvement. And for your listeners, you guys can head on over to the dentalateam.com/summit2023. And then if you guys use coupon code Ebird 2023. So it's for early bird right now, Ebird 2023 you get your full team ticket $300 off at 699 entire team.

0:52:10.4 KD: I don't care if you've got five team members or if you've got 500, bring them. Everybody gets CE. It's gonna be a freaking good time. So if you wanna have fun I just think it's a way to level up your team. Level up you, it's a way to get... I'm gonna mix you with a bunch of dentists too, guys. So you're gonna meet new people, you're gonna level up your friend group but either the podcast or come on over to Summit it'll be a real fun time. And for your listeners that's $300 off for you guys off of our team ticket.

0:52:35.4 RH: Amazing. Well thank you so much again, Kiera. I really appreciate it and wish you all the best.

0:52:41.7 KD: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.


0:52:49.9 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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