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Episode : #854: Let’s Make Systemization Simple-  Kiera’s Mind Blown

Podcast Description

Welcome back to DAT Book Club! This month’s selection was Come Up for Air: How Teams Can Leverage Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning in Work by Nick Sonnenberg. As you’ll hear, Kiera had a ton of takeaways from reading this book. She specifically touches on the following in this episode:

  • Best ways to communicate internally

  • Questions to ask yourself about what needs to be done and when

  • Principles for efficiency

  • Planning and work management

  • And a ton more

Find the full book club rundown here!

Episode resources:

Reach out to Kiera

Practice Momentum Group Consulting

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Review the podcast

 

Transcript:

Kiera Dent (00:00.942)

Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera and welcome to book club. It’s June. How’s your summer going? Are you guys having a ton of fun? I hope you’re living up your life. Jason and I are living up our life. We bought a boat last year and I have wanted a boat. Jason and I, before we got married, we always said, we’re going to buy a boat before we buy a house. And Jason had a truck and then we went to pharmacy school and Jason sold his truck. So then we had to get a truck. So then it was like truck, boat, house. We bought the truck.

 

We bought the house, then we finally bought a boat. And everyone said the best day of buying a boat is the day, like the best day of owning a boat is when you buy it and when you sell it. And Jason and I luckily have not experienced that. We love boating so much. I grew up on the lake. We wake surf. And so it’s summertime. We are on the lake all the time. So if you guys are ever wondering like, what does Keira Dent do? I geek out about dentistry and I boat and I wake surf and I love it. I crank the music up.

 

Um, I love driving the boat. I love sitting out there and I’m such a fair skin beauty. So, uh, I hit the lake early in the morning between 10 and two. I’m definitely not on the water. That’s usually when most people go, but fun fact, evening boating, no one’s on the lake. You don’t get sunburn. The water is the most warm. It’s so calm usually, and it’s the best time to go. So I usually hit early, early morning and then evening sunsets and do dinner on the lake. So I hope you guys are living it up. Uh, with that cheers guys. We’re halfway through the year.

 

We are halfway through. So I think this book club is so perfectly timed. I am so jazzed. This book, I actually read it a couple of months ago, preparing for this podcast. I’m not going to lie to you. It has lit a fire under my booty and I messaged all of my team and said, especially my leadership team. And I said, I want everybody to read this book. And we’re actually going to do a really deep dive book club. We always do a book club within our team. Ours is on the third Monday of the month. And we just do a book club and happy hour. Like we hang out, we’re virtual.

 

And so it’s just a fun time for us to hang out and just pick up pearls of knowledge from books that we read. And so, but for this one, I said, we’re doing an actual like, I want us to figure out how we can implement this. So truth be told, if you did not read Come Up for Air, How Teens Can Leverage Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning and Work by Nick Sonnenberg, read it. I think of all the books that I have recommended this year in our book club. This and Buy Back Your Time, but this one especially, like I took, I don’t know if you guys can see, if you’re watching.

 

Kiera Dent (02:25.774)

Literally here are my notes and I don’t know how I’m gonna summarize this in a quick podcast But I mean, I’m still scrolling still scrolling Okay, and there we’re finally done That’s a long time and that’s a lot of notes and so I was trying to think of like I’m just gonna start to rift and hopefully you guys love it, but There’s so many great ideas from this book that honestly when I read it I felt like this is my life and this man is speaking right to me and he gets it and I think the word leverage

 

I know my words decisive, which I feel like I shouldn’t switch. But I kind of want to switch my word, and I’ve never allowed myself to switch. I mean, I even have, guys, this year we got all of our team, our words for the year. Nice little journal here. I have a bracelet on today. But I actually, I think I am pretty decisive. That’s funny, because I’m going to talk about switching gears. I think the word leverage is something, because I think I’ve grown so much of being.

 

the doer and the dental assistant and the office manager that growing into being a leader. And I’m sure some of you have this where we’ve been the doers. How can we leverage ourselves to basically all of us be working at the top of our licenses or the top of our degrees and leverage our teams around us. And everybody’s going to be happy and stop drowning for work. So leverage might be my word. It might just switch mid -year. We’ll see what I decided to do. I mean, I should probably stick with decisive since I’m switching mid -year.

 

But leverage is really speaking to me strong. And so I’m just going to, like I said, rift on this book club. I hope you guys loved it. I hope you geek out. I hope you do this with your leadership teams. And I hope if you’ve read it before that you reread it because I think there’s so many pearls in this book that are impossible to input. I shouldn’t say impossible. I feel like it’s very lofty to implement the bulk of them, but good night. It was amazing. So, uh, first thing is he talks about CPR, CPR for a business. And that’s kind of what the whole thing was premise around is communication, planning, and resources. And.

 

I mean, I’m just gonna quickly go through some of the highlights of things that we’ve already changed because I think one of the biggest takeaways I took from it is within teams and organizations, there’s gotta just be simpler ways for us to retrieve information, not necessarily of how we like store information. And I’ve thought about that so much, like for your team to know where are the procedure, like the protocols of how do we do things in our practice and how do we make sure that everybody’s on the same page for it and how are we communicating and how are we planning things? And so,

 

Kiera Dent (04:41.742)

Just a couple of things that they mentioned is email should only be communication with people outside of organization in email. I love that he actually talked about for those of you, because I know there’s some dentists who just like they’re like drowning in emails and there’s no way for them to cut up to catch up. And what he said was basically it’s like the rip the bandaid method. And he said, you go through your email basically for like the last 30 days and you just look at those emails and you respond to anything pressing.

 

And then what you do, and you give yourself about a week to do it, and then after that you delete everything else. And he said, because if it was really important, it’s actually gonna pop back up, and everybody freaks out about it. But guess what, if it’s something really important, it will come back, and you can literally get your inbox to zero, and then we keep it at zero. And if we also switch our communication with people outside of our organization in email, so I will tell you from someone who had…

 

thousands of emails when I first started the company and it just always felt like I could never catch up and I was like I was literally drowning in this. It’s like I’ll catch up with my emails, I’ll catch up with my emails, but I just didn’t. And so two things I did, one, I put all of my promotional, I have one, it’s Casey Staples, that’s my very original OG, Go Back in Time. That’s where I put all of my emails from.

 

Old Navy, I don’t know why I said Old Navy, I don’t usually shop there, but I recently bought some leggings, so they were in my inbox. When I sign up for books like High Output Management, they go to that one. And what I do with that one is I actually, anytime I realize I’m not opening these emails, I just go and unsubscribe. And so that’s where all of that almost like junk mail goes, and I have an inbox literally over there for just that. And so that way my work email and the ones that are really important, I’m not getting all those promotions, I’m not getting anything in there because…

 

Really, I only want that to be important things. So within my work email, Keira at thedentalateam.com, we actually switched it because they said email should be for external communication. So with clients, with podcast listeners, with all of our vendors and sponsors and affiliates, like that’s what that communication should be for. Internal should never be coming from email. It should be coming from Slack or something that’s your internal communication software. And so we switched, we used to do WhatsApp, now we’re into Slack. I was a Slack hater and now I’m a Slack lover.

 

Kiera Dent (06:50.606)

And that should be your internal communication. So we used to check our team for like KPIs and reminders. And instead of doing that, we moved all into Slack. So all of our reminders, there’s ways that you can set it all up. But that way, because you talked about, if you have to go retrieve something. So I have a conversation with a team member. If we simplify the streams of communication and the lanes, you’re like, okay, it was a client. I know that’s an email. It was with a team member. I know that’s in Slack. And then it becomes much easier for you to organize and retrieve information.

 

And that’s what they talked about so much is we drown in work trying to retrieve information so much rather than just getting the information. They also talked about getting work management tools. So they recommend Asana, ClickUp, monday .com. And that’s where we need to see that work is getting done. So, so many offices tell me, Kiera, we don’t know what projects are working on. We don’t know how to follow up with it. Well, they said you need to have a work management tool. So it’s email, internal communication, work management tool, a knowledge base where this is where everything about our company is actually.

 

sitting in a knowledge base and it’s like a wiki, org charts, coda guru, or some of the companies they recommend. I did just see a company that has their knowledge base sitting in monday .com and it’s just own separate thing because things get lost in Google drive and things get lost all over the place. And so if everybody knows, because also there’s outdated things, I know our Google drive has a lot of outdated things, but you really have one set space where this is everything that needs to go in there.

 

And then they said you need process management tools. So that would be like SOPs, Checklist for the Company, Insurance Policies. And they did mention this process management tool might come later when your organization gets larger. But having it to where it’s not in the Google Drive and it’s not so impossible to find, but it’s actually in a place like Train You All or Sweet Process or Process Street. But again, that could be something that might come later. And so it was interesting because everybody processes the same way, but…

 

We don’t all know how to retrieve it the same way. That’s I think why the alphabetical system was there. And so they talked about how business can only grow for how fast knowledge can be retrieved. And I thought like, I had never thought about that being a stopping block in our company of people can’t retrieve knowledge fast enough. Think about in your dental practice. We don’t want it passing from person to person to person. We want it to really be something where no matter who you are, if you’re brand new or if you’ve been here for 20 years, that all of us know how to retrieve the knowledge without having to go to somebody.

 

Kiera Dent (09:11.822)

And they said that you’ve got to align as a team of how to use each tool and more people hired. It actually gets harder in the organization and you need to have the processes. Otherwise we’re just, we’re not necessarily making more money. And so he said, get the systems right first. And it was just like, he said, like live up to a full potential. There’s always a better way doing things, right. It’s efficient and must purposefully improve.

 

And so I felt like his thing was he’s just constantly looking for like, where can I leverage? Where can I leverage? How can we leverage this? And, um, like, how can I put myself in a flow state more often and double my productivity? You like batch your tasks, you minimize the pings and dings, you automate your processes and we, we really get all of our pieces automated. And so I just thought about like, he looks at his email and how can I automate this through Zapier? And there’s so many zaps and different automations that you could do within Slack, within email, within our softwares.

 

And can we actually do that? And then another key point I took away is the power of saying no. And he said, say no more often. And it’s not a good use of resources. Does this need to be done? Does this seem to be done by me? Does this need to be done by me now? And I thought that was just such a beautiful thing of, does this need to actually be done? And does this need to be done by me? And does this need to be done by me now? And again, so we’re not like getting sucked into tasks that actually aren’t moving us forward.

 

I, and it was funny because we actually just had this in the company the other day. We were headed out to an event and because I speak at events, I have kind of been dubbed to be the event person who sets up and does the banners. But, um, my team doesn’t understand because they don’t present per se that a presenter’s mind is very different than a tactical setting up an event mind. And I told them, I said, you guys, it’s starting to get really, really hard on me to have to go to fly in to set up this booth.

 

which I don’t mind doing, but does it really need to be done by me or are there ways? Just because I’m there and it’s convenient doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to do it and I need to do it now. And it was crazy because when we thought about this, we realized we’re actually just doing it because it was easy per se. It was easy for everyone else and not necessarily easy for me. And in doing that, we actually were able to save me two days on the road and still get the best experience at an event. It was crazy, but I think really questioning,

 

Kiera Dent (11:33.198)

does this need to be done and doesn’t need to be done by me and doesn’t need to be done by me now, will actually free you up a lot more than I ever realized. And it was such an interesting mindset for me to just start thinking in those terms because I think leverage is something where it’s not, I feel like there is tactical, but there’s also a lot of things that aren’t necessarily tactical, but I think it’s changing our mind of almost putting on like a pair of sunglasses where we look to see.

 

Does this need to be done and doesn’t need to be done by me now? And is there a way that I can possibly leverage my time and my resources better to get a better result? So I felt like it was just beautiful how they talked about that. And then here’s something you guys are going to love. He talked about, there’s a lot of different principles for efficiency. And he said some ways that we, cause I love offices always tell me like, Kiera, I want to learn how to be more efficient. And he said, you’ve got to optimize the retrieval of information, set up systems to remind individual productivity.

 

And then if things need to be done over again, find ways to make that simpler. And then we make a, and I just thought like, gosh, that’s such a smart way to do it. I actually, I don’t usually download all of the books, but this was actually a really, really, really awesome download. He has, there’s so many tools and resources and I printed it out and because you can actually download the nine principles of efficiency. There is a CPR framework and we can take the quiz and, um,

 

with communication, he said, reduce the scavenger hunt, learn when and where to communicate. And we all have peak times. And so make sure that we’re, we’re not using those peak times to do those kinds of more mundane tasks. And so like really, really, really figuring out how to do this. And then he said there’s synchronistic communication, which is like meetings, phone calls, you use this for feedback, one -on -ones issues, Slack, and there’s different ways that you can use Slack and connect with it. And then he said there’s asynchronous communication, which is.

 

like flexibility, recordings, digital whiteboards, options of when we can respond. And so really paying attention to that and like using things so you can not necessarily have to always be in a meeting. Like could this be done asynchronistically of like a loom or screenshots or Nero, which is whiteboard and sticker notes. Like, can we actually do that? And I thought about it so much of our team hops on meetings. We’re a virtual team and I thought about it so much of.

 

Kiera Dent (13:51.662)

Okay, do we really need to have a meeting or is this just something that someone could send a loom on and we don’t have to actually get on a meeting and use everybody’s time? And so that was a pro tip of loom. Make sure that you just utilize that. Really question, does this have to be a meeting or there are better ways to do it? So again, back to email, the zero, they talked about limiting the emails that can come to you. Items that should not be in your email are internal communication, projects or task info, because that should be in a task management tool and meeting agenda items.

 

And I just thought that was such a good way to really, really, really think about it. And then he said internal communication tools are like a walkie talkie. And so it’s like, just like, Hey team, I need this. And so having, you know, conversation histories, you can archive columns. So if you’re talking about like promotions within the company or we’re running a, an Invisalign day, you could actually have a channel where you talk about that. All the notes are there and then you can archive it. And so that way people can really see it.

 

channels, when and how, making sure there’s public and private, figuring out the different channels and communication of who needs to be where. So everybody is just really, really clear. And then I think one piece for you guys that would probably really benefit was the planning and work management. So having a framework for knowing which projects need to be worked on. And he said meetings make them actually work worthwhile. He said longer meetings, less accomplished. Meetings miss the opportunity to bring teams together. The true cost of a meeting.

 

is one of your biggest costs in the company. On average, there are 21 hours of meetings per week. And he said, their options are eliminate them, eliminate the number of people who need to be there. Does this need to be a live meeting? Can we have an agenda to make it more productive? Reduce the duration of a meeting by 15 minutes and reduce frequency. What if we did it bi -weekly and do more in less time? Does this really need to be a meeting? And then he gave some meeting rules. He said, keep it short, account for breaks. So he actually sets his meetings of instead of an hour, it’s like,

 

50 minutes and he said, because everybody could benefit from that break. And also if we shrink it down in time, which I’ve actually done this with a lot of doctors on their schedules, we run over a doctor that’s running over constantly. What I do is I actually, if they want two hours for a crown, I actually shorten it to an hour and 45 because just simply seeing that time on the schedule can actually make people be more efficient and effective because they think the time’s less versus, oh, I have all this time and they bleed through it. So shrinking it down has actually helped a lot of doctors that I’ve consulted.

 

Kiera Dent (16:15.63)

And then he said, make sure that we audit the attendees. Do we actually need all the attendees there? He has a rule in his of if this meeting doesn’t apply to you, you don’t need to be there. I think some teams might take that to the extreme, but I did love that. And for me, when I look at meetings, I have actually dismissed quite a few team members, not because of poor behavior, but I just realized like this meeting probably doesn’t apply to you at this point now. So like there’s no reason for you to hang out, take off. And he said, use an agenda.

 

And for him, it’s no agenda, no meeting. And he said, there should be a moderator, take notes and store in an organized place, action items so things don’t get lost, decisions need to be tracked in the management software, so our project management, who needs to make it, show up on time and start on time, no agenda, no meeting. And he said, make sure you do pre -work for each meeting. So for example, for one -on -one meetings, send your team that one -on -one agenda, they fill it in, they need to have that filled in before you get there.

 

for your leadership meetings. Everybody needs to come in with their issues, their concerns, they need to fill in their wins. All of that can actually be done before the meeting. So, and we can review that before, and then we can just get to the meat of it. And I thought that was such a good idea. And just really thinking of how can we do it, default your calendar so that way it’s shortened up on time and use different pieces that we can actually make it to where things are just more organized and more concise. So,

 

I know I’m like on a rant and there’s so many things like, then your work management. And he said the work management like is more of like a map. It’s not the walkie talkie. So we organize all of our work related issues. Asana he said is the most functional and he does have a pretty strong bias towards Asana. But I think that there’s so many pieces where you can actually see a graph of the work that’s going on at any moment and making sure that just all the tasks are in there and you assign them out.

 

we make sure they’re followed up on. And so I think my biggest, you guys, I have like notes upon notes upon notes, and then looking at workloads and capabilities, like how much time does each person have? Do they have downtime? Do they have space? Can you sprint plan each week? And some of these things I feel for a dental office might not be as relevant, but so many of these things I think could, because if we even like sprint our weeks within our leadership teams and really get good at like how much time is in meetings, how much time is on their day -to -day tasks, and then how much time is available for,

 

Kiera Dent (18:36.526)

higher level projects and then we get those higher level projects done. Like that’s where I got so pumped because it just felt like it gave me like a roadmap and a step by step of how to get there. They talk about goals and planning and he said companies usually hit their goals 50 % of the time. What needs to get done to achieve the goal? And he talks about OKRs, which like versus a KPI and really reviewing those and making sure that our objectives are so specific.

 

And then you update them weekly and refer back to them and you put statuses in like Asana or whatnot. So at any moment, you can see how your teams are doing. At any moment, you can see the productivity of your company and you can really see quickly of what needs attention, what needs to be focused on. Instead of having a meeting to find that out, we have a status updater within the pieces and tons and tons of resources, like all the pieces he had in there. But what I loved was a company’s growth is so determined.

 

by the ability to retrieve information? And can we cut down and become a little bit more efficient? How can we leverage these systems and tools? So getting our emails down to zero so we’re not feeling like we’re drowning over there, using internal communication to truly communicate with our team and follow up so we know where to retrieve the information, having a knowledge base, having your SOPs documented, having it where it’s really so simple for everybody to just win in a simple way without having to ask.

 

And he said, when people are asking like, hey, where is this? You can tell them like, where do you think you would find it? And if they can’t do it, we’ve got to figure out a way to get that information easier to retrieve so everybody knows. And so I hope you guys love this book. Obviously, you can tell I love this book because I just felt like for the first time, I read a book that really gave me understanding of what each tool should be used for, how I can have track our workloads as a company, how I can track those projects that need to get done.

 

because oftentimes I feel like teams and myself included become stagnant and we deal with the, the urgent, not the important. And this really helps us just have set cadences of sprint planning every single week and a way for us to map it out. And I think what’s really fun is I love consulting and I love helping you guys and your teams so much because I feel like I’m able to see a lot of these efficiencies and share these tips and help you guys with meetings and help you with tracking tools. And it comes from.

 

Kiera Dent (20:56.878)

reading books like this. And so if we can help your team in any way to become more efficient, more organized, dental specific, that’s where we’re here. And for me as a consulting company, there’s not a lot of consultants or people that can help consulting companies get more efficient. And what I would give, like I thought about this so much of, if I could find a coach that has run a consulting company, has done it successfully, has grown it to the levels I want it to be,

 

can give me the shortcut to success. You guys, I could not put a financial number on what I’d be willing to pay to get that. And so I just want to let you know how blessed and lucky you are as dentists that there are consultants who have grown multiple practices. Dental A team has been that. We have done that. We’ve done it successfully. That there are consultants out there that know all these processes and they can actually help you get this into place.

 

There is actually a resource in a community of other doctors like you that can share their efficiency hacks of what they’re actually doing, getting connected. And so for me, wishing that there was something set up for dental consultants out there, I searched, it’s really funny, dental consultant consultants. They don’t exist because just dental consultants show up. But to be able to find somebody who could help me, I couldn’t put a price tag on that. And so if you’re in that boat,

 

Like give yourself the gift of efficiency, give yourself the gift of being able to leverage your time by utilizing a consultant who knows how to do this and knows how to do it successfully and has done it for hundreds of practices. Check their resumes. You guys, we have hundreds of offices that we’ve reduced their stress, increased their efficiencies, increased their production and their profitability and made it to where they don’t have to be at work as often. That’s getting their life back and what I would give.

 

to have that blessing and gift in my life. Consider yourself so lucky that there are dental consultants willing to share their knowledge with you. So if we can be that person, reach out, hello at thedentalateam .com. You guys can click, just book a quick call. It’s something that’s very simple. It’s like 15, 30 minutes, very short. We’ll help give you a lot of tips and resources. Every call, I guarantee you, I’m always giving resources and free advice on it. Regardless if you choose to work with us or not, I want it to be a perfect fit. I want to make sure you’re a great fit for us and we’re a great fit for you. So just book the call.

 

Kiera Dent (23:13.294)

There’s no reason not to because honestly, you can come up for air now. And then I would just recommend reading this book. So I hope you guys loved it. I can’t wait to hear your feedback on it. Email me any of your conversations. I love book club pen pals. I have a few of you, so thank you. And if this podcast is blessing your life, please always just leave us that review. Go leave those five stars. Please do it today, because your reviews keep us at the top of the list to truly be in the hands of every single dental practice out there. Next month, July, we’re going to have the book, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay.

 

Get ready for some deep soul searching. And as always, thanks for listening and I’ll catch you next time on the Dental A Team Podcast.

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