We Need To Spend More Time Together

A couple of nights ago, I was a guest on Dr. Kyle Fagala’s live stream show, “The Digital Orthodontist Live”.  It was great because he does an awesome job interacting with the at-home audience who chime in through the Facebook chat side of things. We had a lot of fun and got to see a lot of comments. Kyle’s a master interviewer and a true gentleman who works so hard to help bring the profession together in a fun, informative way.

What people don’t know is that both Kyle and I had just both spent the entire day in a private OrthorpeneursRD course with Dr. Ron Roncone. We went to San Diego with about 60 of our “RD’ers” getting together to learn and share and simply enjoy each other’s company.

As soon as the live stream ended, we packed up and walked over to a steak house where 60 of us enjoyed a sumptuous meal with wine, drinks, steaks and desserts while connecting. I mean REALLY connecting. People were talking about families, dreams, goals, travel plans, life struggles. For a few hours, our practice issues fell away while people smiled and leaned into conversations with folks they may not have ever met in person before that day.

Statistics would say that most of us practice alone. I’ve been there, but am blessed to now have an amazing business partner in Dr. Douglas Shaw. We chat every day and practice life is sure easier. But having friends who are peers-not just acquaintances-with whom I’ve shared special times is important to me. I know their backgrounds and I’ve seen their cases and been in their practices and that recharges my battery. And when I have a question about CBCT or 3D printing or Sleep Disordered Breathing literature, I can reach out instantly to someone I trust and know.

But it doesn’t happen by accident. Like almost any great thing, it takes work to get what you need.

People constantly ask me why I started Orthorpeneurs Summit and the RD group, and why I have worked so hard to create “in-person” meetings for the group. I’m totally honest when I say that I need meetings and face-to-face get together with my peers to keep me going. I love the conversations that only we understand or speaking about struggles that we all face but others have no idea exist. We relate to one another in a way that most don’t, and I don’t want any of us to ever feel alone. THAT’S why I do it and will continue to create meetings for us to spend time together, sharing, enjoying and growing together.

We all have ups and downs and we often feel helpless or despondent. I’ve said it time and again that ANYONE who feels depressed or needs to talk should ALWAYS reach out to me. I’m serious. And keep in mind that another great antidote is to get together with those who care about you, won’t judge you and want to hear your story.

Like I said, we need to spend more time together. The “where” is up to you.

Wishing you the best,

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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What Do We Owe Our Peers?

A patient walks into your office and tells you that she’s just been to a “competitor” down the block and hated their office. The front desk lady “kept saying ‘umm’ every other word” and “put her on hold for 10 minutes and then hung up on her”. Then, while she was getting her new patient photos taken, the rest of the clinical team sat around near her talking about their weekend and laughing about how much they plan on drinking. You get to know the patient and she seems pretty sane. No crazy questions or weird expectations. She schedules treatment and leaves.

If the “competitor” was a friend, you’d likely pick up the phone and tell them about the situation, right? You’d let them know that you had someone in your office who gave valuable feedback about their team and you want them to know.

But what if the office in question wasn’t a friend, but someone you causally knew and saw at meetings from time to time? Would you feel an obligation to call or text them? Moreover, would you actually keep it from them because you “owe them nothing” and it might even cause more patients to come to you?

Or maybe you had a toxic employee leave your practice and you heard she’s working at another office. You wouldn’t wish her on anyone, so do you contact the new doctor who is an acquaintance to let him know to be careful? Or, do you keep your mouth shut and let them find out for themselves?

These aforementioned examples are real situations that occur every day in our practices. How do we handle them? What do we really owe our fellow orthodontists? What’s the right thing to do?

I don’t know if there’s a right or a wrong answer. On one hand, we would always want someone to tell us any information that could help our practices and contacting another office to help them seems like the right thing to do. On the other hand, many people don’t want to hear bad news and if you’re not really friends, it could strain a relationship because nobody really likes a neighbor who sticks their nose where it doesn’t belong.

I’ve done both things. I’ve called orthodontists to let them know about situations and I’ve been both thanked and attacked. I’ve also kept my mouth shut and let others deal with issues in their practices on their own.

So, what would you do? How would you handle these situations? What do we owe our peers?

Wishing you the best,

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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THIS is the time for us to stand together and do EVERYTHING…except limit our rights

I’m not a huge fan of TV “investigative reporting”. I’ve often found them to be “hit pieces” where some person or company gets destroyed by a sharp tongues reporter or clever editing. However, this past week, NBC did one heck of a job questioning SDC about the complaints from customers. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, go take a look at the interview. You can see it HERE.

It’s fun to see someone on the side of patients and the orthodontic profession.  Smile Direct Shares dropped 20% on Friday after the NBC interview. Look at the hottest internet stores today. Words like “teledentistry” are now becoming a part of the online lexicon.  DTC is obviously a lot bigger than just SDC, but it was fun to sit back, grab the proverbial popcorn and watch the back and forth in the interview.

Plus, in 1 day I got 57 shares of my post!!!  We need to stand together and get the word out whenever we can. If you look at the responses on the shared posts, you’ll see many patients responding that they had no idea that DTC aligners weren’t good for them. I know it seems insane that patients don’t recognize this, but that’s what’s happening. It shows that no matter how much education we do on our web pages and with the AAO, there is still a huge percentage of people out there who don’t “get it”.

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There’s no question that orthodontics has faced some very interesting times in recent history. From GPs doing lots of Invisalign to DTC aligner companies, the old paradigm of private orthodontic specialty care has certainly morphed.

There has been a lot of discussion about what to do about the changing societal role of the private orthodontist. Some point to the idea of standing behind the shield of the AAO to show our strength as a profession while others talk about legislative headway to protecting our patients as well as social media post campaigns to better educate the public. All are correct.

But, two things stand out to me:

  1. We need to stand together as a specialty profession to protect the public and maintain the highest level of healthy outcomes for our patients
  2. We need to be smart about how legislation affects our future practice lives

I posted the following in Orthopreneurs and it bears repeating. Any prospective legislation to protect patients with regard to HOW we practice is fraught with potential issues. Want a dentist to have to be on sight for a scan? Great, now we can’t have assistants do a simple scan for a patient who lost a retainer and these DTC companies will find a way around it. Want to force a dentist to perform the treatment plan? They’ll figure out a workaround somehow.

I know I don’t have the full answer, but why not simply do what I remember Washington state doing when I used to practice there and take it a step further.  Simply make the law that all dental and orthodontic practices/companies/LLC’s MUST have a dentist licensed in that state as a majority owner and that only a dental and orthodontic practices/companies/LLC may render care or treat patients in the state. It makes it simple. It doesn’t tell us HOW to practice and how many dentists do you know (aside from DSOs) who do not have a licensed dentist as at least a 51% owner? It doesn’t affect how we practice and we can treat patients in any way we see fit, instead of having more and more restrictions placed on our day to day actions. Sure, the VC backed DSO’s won’t like it, but it would  be great for our profession and would make it impossible for DTC companies to function in their current model.

Like I said, I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that we need to stand together to protect patients and we don’t need more restrictions on our daily practice.

I feel like it’s when we speak to our teams when someone screwed up, and we’re afraid to acknowledge the mistake in front of everyone, so we speak in generalities. “Hey everyone, I really need you to all make sure you clock in and out every day and not miss a punch in or punch out, ok?”. When we’re really just talking to one person. It’s ambiguous, doesn’t help and leaves everyone no better off than before, with the best employees wondering why they’re even part of the discussion in the first place.

Let’s make sure that the best of our profession aren’t saddled with way more legislation because those in charge are afraid to tackle the actual problem head on in a way that lets us keep practicing the way we want.

What are your thoughts? Do we need more restrictive practice laws? Is there a better way?

Wishing you the best,

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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To Bonus or Not To Bonus…That Is The Question

There are many studies that show that bonuses can have significant downsides. From motivating employees to use unscrupulous tactics to achieve bonuses, to the long-term negative motivations, it’s been proven that offering people incentives for performance can have disastrous consequences. If that’s the case, why do we still find doctors offering bonuses to their teams?

Maybe there are benefits…

Sure, giving incentives to reach goals should help motivate team members in the short term. Even when one is given daily or weekly bonuses, the power is still reduced over time. But, there’s no doubt that when the bonus is paid, team members are excited and happy. Morale can soar.

However, what about jealousy? How do we handle those who are part time employees? Or perhaps different bonuses for different positions?

If your TC currently converts at 70% but you’d like her to be at 90%, or perhaps you’d like her to hit a specific number of starts, would a bonus help? If she does hit that number, does no bonus get paid to those who helped that new patient get to the TC in the first place? And when the bonus gets paid, is it really in the best interests of the cash flow of the practice?

Don’t forget taxes. When you pay bonuses, do you take care of the taxes, or, do you expect the team members to pay the taxes? There’s no right or wrong and I’ve seen every permutation.

So, do you bonus? If so, who do you bonus and how? Last, how has it worked and what would you do differently?

Wishing you the best,

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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Give Away Your Work

I once worked for felons. Yep, actual, plead guilty to fraud in federal court, serve time in prison, felons. As a really young dentist just happy to have a job, I didn’t see all of the warning signs when I worked for them, but I guess looking back now, the fact they carried guns everywhere they went, had extra ones hidden in the office and even bought me one was a pretty good sign that something wasn’t right. But, they did teach me one really positive lesson.

Every single day in their morning huddle, they reminded the front desk and the rest of the team that we needed to give away THREE things for free that day. Best of all, the team got to choose-on the spot-what they got to give away. Maybe it was a free filling or a free cleaning, but when the team told them what they had given away at the end of the day, the owners beamed with pride and were genuinely thrilled that they had helped those in need. It certainly was a Robinhood-esque sort of existence with the whole steal from the rich, rob from the poor mentality, but their lesson of giving to those less fortunate has stuck with me to this day.

As orthodontists, we live blessed lives. Our complaints really are “first world” problems and thankfully, even with student debt, we have the ability to change the lives of those around us. We are indeed fortunate.

While orthodontics is very different than general dentistry in that we don’t have many “small ticket items” to give away for free, we should still do our best to give something to people when we get a chance. Maybe it’s a free retainer, or free whitening or something else you typically charge for. Maybe it’s a significant price reduction on treatment just because you know someone is in need. Maybe it’s doing a case free every week or month. I don’t propose to know what you can and can’t afford to do, but here’s the thing: Don’t do it for gain. No asking for a Facebook review, or tell everyone about it on your office Facebook page or ask them to send you a friend in return. Do it because it’s the right thing to do and end it at that.

Most importantly, make sure you and your team discuss it afterwards. Let them revel in the generosity of the office, and the life-changing decisions we all make together. Many of our team aren’t in a financial position to give money freely to others and this is a nice way to use our profession to give back from EVERYONE on the team.

You may go as an office to volunteer at charitable causes, and that’s awesome. Your business may donate a ton of money to local schools or charities and you should be proud of that. You may personally give a huge amount of charity and never brag about it and that’s a beautiful thing. But the next time you have a morning meeting, let your TC know that he/she has the right-no, an obligation- to take money off of someone’s treatment plan that day because of an expressed need. Watch the way your team looks at you.

Yes, you might get fooled by someone playing the charity card and that’s on them, not you. Remember that the gift is for the giver. And don’t let the receiver know it’s “charity” because it isn’t. It’s one person doing a nice thing for another. They get to choose. It’s an office thing and while you can’t help the entire world, you can make a difference in a family or individual’s life. It will give your team one more reason to jump out of bed in the morning.

At first, they’ll be astonished. “Wait, don’t we want collections to be as high as possible?” Eventually, they’ll catch on and everyone will clamor to be the one to help others. Of course, there need to be ground rules, but you’ll figure it out.

Admittedly, I haven’t done this in ages and it’s time to get back into the swing of it again. I can remember how awesome it felt to make sure that giving happened every single work day. Give it a try and see if it fits your practice.

I didn’t keep in touch with the dentists I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I don’t know where they are, or if they are even still practicing. But, this was a great lesson to me that no matter where I worked, or with whom I was working, there are amazing life lessons to be found everywhere.`

Wishing you the best,

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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How We View Consultants Says A Lot About us

As you’ve heard me say many times, orthodontists are a smart and accomplished bunch. Many speak multiple languages, play several instruments, have excelled at elite-level sports or have achieved exceptional accomplishments such as Eagle Scout. So why is it that so many of these previously well-coached individuals rarely use consultants. I’m not talking about going to meetings, spending time learning from others on Facebook or going to courses. I’m specifically referring to consultants.

I LOVE people who ask for help and are vulnerable enough to recognize their are those out there who know more than them AND are willing to invest in the knowledge they can obtain. The next time you go to a course or listen to a speaker, ask them who their favorite consultants are. You’ll instantly find those who reinvest in themselves versus those who don’t.

When I sit around and chat with my closest professional peers, we often compare notes about the consultants who have helped us with our practices. Moreover, the practices from whom I’ve learned the most while visiting are those who repeatedly have sought out consultants to make their practices stronger.  It’s funny, really. In my 50’s I’ve accidentally found out that those with whom I’m closest are those who have hired consultants and those who use their garage for cars, not storage. Funny how that works out. But why do some choose to never ante-up the money to hire a practice expert?

Over the years, I’ve heard all sorts of comments about consultants. “They charge so much and it’s so not worth it.” “What do they know that I can’t learn without them?” “Most are people who couldn’t hack it in practice.” “I can’t afford to hire them.” And my personal favorite: “I’ve been successful without them. Why do I need them now?”

I won’t address all of the comments mentioned above, but the final two are ones I’ve heard over and over again and they are perplexing to me.

I understand that you feel you can’t afford one. If you’re just starting out in practice, there are so many other costs before hiring a consultant. I’ve always been a proponent of looking at the 100 cents in every dollar knowing that every penny spent somewhere means one less penny to bring home. Avoiding wasteful spending is the key to reducing stress and a better income. I get it. But what if spending 1 dollar on a consultant considerably reduced your stress, or brought you back $1.50? If that were true, it would be a mistake to not do it, right?

If you’re not new to practice but feel that you can’t afford it, all the more reason to look in the mirror and bring an expert into your practice. It’s rare to find a well-run, mature orthodontic practice that isn’t somewhat profitable. If yours isn’t, you should definitely consider bringing someone in to help you manage the practice in a better fashion.

What about those who feel they know enough and have done well enough that a consultant isn’t necessary? I apologize, but I cannot relate to that. I’ve been a huge believer that we often need someone to look from the outside and shine a light on the practice so we can better understand where we can get better. I know orthodontists who are amazing communicators, who have a knack for creating policies and systems, who can manage overhead and are masters of the scheduling template, who are remarkable teachers and can show a team how to effectively answer the phone, or train  a TC for better case acceptance. But I’ve never met an orthodontist who is all of the above. And no matter how great your practice is, no matter how low your stress, it can always get better.

So, how do you figure out which consultant you should hire? There are lots of options out there.

First, figure out what you need. If you have more new patients than you can handle, a marketing consultant probably isn’t the wisest hire and if your schedule runs like clockwork, a scheduling consultant probably isn’t a necessary move. However, if you sit down and objectively view what you want from your practice but aren’t currently getting, you’ll figure out what you need, and best of all, there’s a consultant out there who can help you.

And don’t forget to do your due diligence. Just because you saw an ad about someone or heard their name mentioned on Facebook doesn’t qualify them to help you. Contact the consultant and ask them a ton of questions. Dig deep and follow-up references. Sometimes, it will be a good fit and sometimes it won’t. If you get a chance to see a consultant speak at a meeting, take notes and learn more about whether or not they can help you. Nobody can do the due diligence but you. It’s a relationship and you need to put in the time.

I do my best to maximize the former and minimize the latter, but in 27 years in practice, the value I’ve received from consultants has far outperformed the investment. In my practice career, I reckon I’ve spent over $500,000 on consultants/coaches and just last year alone, we probably spent about $75,000. It was worth every penny. Sure, hiring a consultant brings a lot of stress because of the culture of change that comes along with it and you can pick the pace at which you hire. I’ve brought in coaches who were amazing for my office and I’ve tried some duds.

Just remember that the best in any field generally got there with help from others. In our world of orthodontics, nobody is more accessible with niche information than consultants. Consider where in your professional life you can get better, do your research and make 2020 the year you take your practice to the next level.

Wishing you the best,

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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Why Can’t They Just Follow The Policy & System?!?!

If you’re like me, you probably get frustrated when things don’t work out. I’m not talking about surprises. I’m talking about that time the assistant comes to tell you that the lab case isn’t back on time and the patient is due to come in the next day. This, after you’ve carefully built a lab tracking policy with team involvement, had everyone review it at multiple team meetings and agree that they would follow it. Yet, there you are, the day before a patient is due for delivery and the appliance isn’t in the office.

Companies run on policies and systems. We come up with ideas about running our practices and the policies and systems help us achieve our goals and reduce our stress. When well-designed and implemented properly, systems keep things humming, but when they fall apart, trouble follows.

This isn’t about your reaction or leadership style. It’s about the simple question that every dental professional has asked over and over again. “Why is it so tough for team members to follow policies and why does it consume so much of our time?”

I’ve spent the better part of 27 years in practice developing systems, watching them fail, then developing new systems that hopefully work better. Sometimes they do well enough. Sometimes they don’t. We’ve developed simple systems and complex systems. We’ve had them in writing and in video. Yet, time and again, the systems are simply not followed as carefully as they should and problems arise.

I’ve even worked in “corporate” practices where inordinate amounts of time have been spent by highly paid executives whose sole responsibility has been to create a well-run organization and yet, even here the systems fail.

Now, I totally understand that no system is foolproof, but if you go to any Facebook group, you’ll see countless threads about any number of items related to systems that aren’t being followed. Vacations to sick leave, lab tracking to supply ordering. Why can’t we simply get a handle on everything, or at least mostly everything?

Is this a problem with us having too high expectations, or is it a function of not hiring the right people, or is it a combination of both? If you’ve overcome this issues, what have you done?

I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you the best,

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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2019 Was Tough

This is my first blog post of 2020 and looking back on last year, I can unequivocally tell you that it was a tough year. Why?

I learned to embrace my vulnerability and accept the fact that I’m wrong. A lot, and it’s better than OK. It made me a far better person to realize that I don’t have all the answers and it’s OK to reach out and ask others for help. To be at peace when things don’t go right and to accept that many things are outside of my control has given me comfort, but it wasn’t easy to get there.

While the practice grew at a steady pace, it was the first time in 5 years that I didn’t reach my production goal for the year. But I appreciate all the amazing things that happened in my practice, and while we didn’t get where we planned, it’s OK. I took a deep breath and remembered my dad’s favorite saying: “Men plan and G-d laughs.” In the past, I would have lamented over not getting to my goal, but I worked diligently, did my best and need to focus on the future, not the past.

2019 found me going through team members at a rate I had never experienced in my 26 years in practice. Some were let go, some moved on, but I always treated people with respect and kindness and tried my best to accept my role in the relationship’s end and learn from it so I can be a better man and employer in the future. There are so many reasons why many of us struggle with our human resources, and I understand that while I may never have the “perfect” team, I will always treat every team member with kindness, respect and try to remember every day their amazing attributes that caused me to hire them.

I employed three amazing consultants in 2019, changed PMS and adopted OrthoFi. That’s a lot of stress on a practice and a steep learning curve, but every consultant taught us about specific areas in which we can get better and now we’re built for growth. I am so thankful that I have a business partner in Dr. Douglas Shaw who embraces change and investment in the practice the same way  I do. I always knew the importance of reinvestment in my practice, and last year saw us investing a lot. Note the word “invest” and not “spend”. There’s a huge difference and there’s no better investment out there than investment in ones self, but it’s not easy or cheap.

The practice grew and the OP Summit was fun, but the stress in my life escalated rapidly and it almost overwhelmed me. But I learned the importance of letting go. Not of goals or dreams, but of work. I hired a virtual assistant and while it took a lot of time and training (for both of us), the rewards are more free time and better productivity (and more time for a therapist and a coach).

My fast-paced brain made it difficult to stop, take a breath and be ever present in the lives of those around me, but I made it a priority to be a better father, husband and son. I can’t turn off my desire to work and build my practice. It gives me so much joy to create, but I made sure to remember those for whom I was creating and to simply be there for them with a hug or support. If you’re not wired to love working, it may be hard to understand, but making a conscious decision to close to the computer or turn off the lights at the office takes practice. To quote the late Dr. Vince Kokich: “An airplane that’s out of balance doesn’t fly very far.”

Last year, things didn’t always go well, but my 6th decade of life has given me perspective and a more “chill” approach to the process of growth and dealing with adversity. I’m blessed, unbelievably so, and every day I strive to (as I say in my affirmation): “Be a positive influence on the lives of those around me.” And A LOT more patience. 

Like I said, 2019 was a tough year. A great year, but a year of transition, learning, investment and change. Growth isn’t easy. Not meeting goals isn’t fun. Changing patterns of behavior or investing in oneself can be challenging.  But on reflection, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

Wishing you an amazing 2020!!!

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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Real Estate As An Investment

I once knew a guy who was reportedly worth over a half a billion (yes, that’s with a  “B”) due solely to some savvy real estate deals he’d made in a relatively short amount of time. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he hadn’t created anything, nor had he developed anything. He simply took a risk on a piece of land that happened to be in the right place at at the right time.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to real estate investing than simple luck and in the ensuing years, I’ve seen countless numbers of friends invest in real estate, generally with amazing results

But we’re orthodontists, not real estate developers. Is this something we should be doing? Where in one’s financial life should they allocate money for real estate and how does that play a role in the overall investment/debt repayment strategy?

Is investing in real estate a strong move for orthodontists? I remember sitting in MKS about 3 years ago when a pair of Canadian orthodontists made the point that as orthodontists, we’re going to make a decent disposable income and if we use it correctly, we can grow the same real estate “empire” they had. It was truly impressive what they had done and I think that everyone in the room wanted to run out and buy some Canadian forest land next to a freeway.

While having dinner the other night with a general dentist friend of mine, he told me that he likes to invest in commercial real estate. He said it’s been really good for him and that companies are far more stable as tenants than any individual. “Stay away from non-commercial renters. You’re asking for trouble” he warned me. Really?

Another friend of mine’s sole profession is to buy, refurbish and then rent multi family homes and is totally non-commercial. He’s done it for years and is very successful. Why multi family as a target? Because, as he told me: “When the economy turns south, companies go out of business and people look for less expensive housing, namely, multi family.” He’s done great and it’s tough to argue with his logic…or results.

Of course, there’s always single family homes as an investment and I’ve known more than one friend who has told me that every year, he invests in at least one single family home. Some accumulate them and manage the properties themselves and others hire management agencies.

I’ve also had friends who buy huge “vacation  homes” in places they want to visit from time to time and rent them out when they’re not using them, allowing passive income with the secondary benefit of watching the value grow year over year.

If you listen to real estate “experts” they’ll tell you that ether’s no greater or faster path to wealth than buying properties, leveraging them and then buying more. If you ask investors from Nevada, Florida or Arizona around 2009, you might hear a different take on the subject.

So, do you have experience in real estate investing? What advice would you give aspiring real estate moguls?

Wishing you all the best!!!

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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Student Loan Debt: Who’s To Blame?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again publicly: it is at best irresponsible and at worst criminal that schools allow residents to get into as much debt as they do without some form of structured business program as part of the curriculum. After all, the majority of ortho programs are either part of, or near some sort of university business school. To allow someone to – easily- get $500,000 in student loans without helping them understand basic business principles and entrepreneurship is, IMHO, reprehensible.

Nonetheless, in an age when most residents are graduating with significant loans, there’s an ironic twist. In order to pay back loans, many have to go to work for large DSOs, which are buying up many of the private practices, in essence making it more difficult for these very same residents to be the owners of an orthodontic practice at some point. Their loan payments keep most from being able to afford going into private practice and experience the lean years associated with starting a practice. While many are dead set against all DSO’s, without them, there would be no possible way for many young orthodontists to pay back their loans.

Of course, there are many new orthodontists out there who have gone onto income based repayment plans which allow lower monthly payments. However, the payments  will go up when their income rises, and these loans will have HUGE balloon payments at the end (with massive tax ramifications) when the loan is eventually forgiven. That’s an altogether different discussion for another post.

I laughed out loud when I saw a recent article in a newspaper where a teacher was bemoaning her $37,000 student loans and talking about how she will never get out of debt. I have friends paying upwards of $75,000/year on their loans, so I guess it’s all relative, right?

So, what’s the answer? I think it begins with prospective orthodontic residents being fully informed and counseled extensively on what they’re about to do in terms of the impact on their financial future. Not some 10 minute conversation, but real discussions with orthodontists who volunteer their time to give an honest report of what loans mean to them. I remember reading a message thread on the Student Doctor Network before applying to residency and it said something like: “Orthodontic degree doesn’t equal lottery ticket.” Well said.

I also wish that the schools would take a more serious approach to helping orthodontic residents get a better understanding of the rigors and principles of running a business. Courses in marketing, financials, HR management and the law are as important as understanding anchorage management and ANB.

Is this a pipe dream? I don’t know. What I do know is that with a lot of outside pressure on orthodontists and their practices, and the rising costs of tuition, unless something is done, this model is unsustainable. And many orthodontists are barely hanging on financially…in a GOOD economy. What’s going to happen when this cycle of economic growth comes to an end?

What’s the answer? Just allow increased costs for education and simply deal with it? Will the day come where we routinely see ortho graduates with 7 figure student debt? Will the government change the rules related to student loan deductions and repayment?

I don’t have the answer, but what I hope is that student debt doesn’t get so high that it starts driving treatment plans and poison the well of proper patient treatment.

Wishing you all the best!!!

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If you want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group (OrthopreneursRD) where we do deep dives into these discussions (and more) , please message me. To learn more about your region’s availability and what it’s all about, click HERE.

gk-deep-elleum-1_pp.jpg
GLENN KRIEGER IS AN ORTHODONTIST WITH 20 YEARS OF RESTORATIVE AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY EXPERIENCE BEFORE HE RETURNED TO ORTHODONTIC RESIDENCY. DR. KRIEGER LEARNED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WELL-DESIGNED PRACTICE POLICIES AND SYSTEMS DURING A YEAR AT THE SCHUSTER CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN SCOTTSDALE ARIZONA, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING PRACTICES AND INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON GRADUATE BUSINESS SCHOOL’S “DENTIST AS CEO” PROGRAM. HE IS THE HOST OF “THE ORTHOPRENEURS PODCAST”, MANAGES THE ORTHOPRENEURS FACEBOOK GROUP AND RUNS THE ANNUAL ORTHOPRENEURS SUMMIT.

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