How to Run a Successful Dental Practice – Part 2


How to Run a Successful Dental Practice, Part 2: How to Build Your Perfect Team

Written By:  Tracy Civick

Prefer to watch the video?  Check out:  YouTube Video Link to this article:  How to Build Your Perfect Team

build your perfect teamWelcome to part two in our three-part series, “How to Run a Successful Dental Practice”.  In PART 1 we learned how to set healthy production goals.  Today’s topic is “How to Build Your Perfect Team”.  The biggest investment a dental practice owner makes is the expense of an outstanding team.  If you put the following hiring system in place, you can rest assured that the investment will pay off. My system is simple:  Hire, Train, and Trust.  If you hire the “right” person, train them to carry out their job description, and trust them to be independent thinkers and always do the right thing…  your team will soar (and so will the practice!)

How to Build Your Perfect Team

Step 1:  Hire.  The key to hiring the right team is to use a consistent measuring stick when interviewing candidates.  All too often we get swept away with how much experience a person has or their past record of production growth.  However, these may not be the most important factors needed to successfully fill the vacancy.  If a candidate’s resume isn’t our measuring stick, what is?  Fill in the blank: “I want my patients to feel _____________”.  Patients stay, pay, and refer their dental practice because of the feelings they have while in the office. 

A patient never writes a thank you note saying, “Thank you for using the 5-star lab who uses only top- grade porcelain to make my crown.”  No.  A patient thank you note always involves feelings.  “Thank you for making me feel so comfortable.”  “Thank you for taking such good care of me.”  “Thank you for easing my anxiety about the root canal.”  Patients remember how you made them feel, not that the Dentist graduated top in their class or that the best lab was used to fabricate their porcelain crown. 

Build a team that has passion and personality.  Build your perfect team to elicite empathy and compassion portion of every patient’s visit.  Fill in the blank above with three “feeling words” that represent the practice owner’s vision.  “I want my patients to feel “comfortable”, “cared for”, “happy to be here”, etc… Write those three words down as the top priorities you want your new hire to be able to elicit from others.  *Note:  Don’t get caught up in someone’s industry experience if talking to them feels cold, distant, or fake.  This is a dangerous road too many dentists travel down resulting in high turn-over.

Once you’ve narrowed the search to the top two candidates that will help build your perfect team, schedule a time for your team to take them each to lunch.  Your team will love it because it usually means that you buy them two great lunches in a week but it’s a small price to pay for the value you’ll receive.  Meet with your team before the two lunches to explain the “WHY” behind the exercise.  Let your team know that you want to maintain a culture of safety, mutual respect, and doing the right thing.  Your current team’s character is that culture so why shouldn’t they play a part in who is going to be “let in”?

By the way, the interviewer, doctor, or practice owner should never attend these gatherings. After both lunches have taken place, meet with each team member individually.  Ask their opinion of each candidate and who they would recommend hiring.  Allowing these decisions to be staff-centered goes a long way in creating a culture of mutual respect and value.

Step 2:  Train.  The key to successful training is to have a system in place that lays out job duties, expectations, and resources for success (Ex: proper access to the software, login credentials to insurance websites, telephone verbiage to use for various scenarios, fee schedules, proper scheduling techniques, etc.)  In addition to a team leader training the new hire on each task required for success, the written system is usually kept in a binder and labeled, “Standard Operating Procedures”. 

Ask the new team member to use it as a reference guide as needed.  Let them know that you will always be there to answer questions but would also like to see their independent thinking skills come into play.  (This is a great way cross-check that they always “do the right thing”).

Step 3:  Trust.  Nothing ruins team morale faster than a micromanager.  Successful practice’s have a culture based on mutual respect and trust.  If you’ve hired the right person and trained them on the skills needed for success, it’s time to allow the new hire to prove themselves to you.  A leader will always be in the wings supporting, growing, and praising the team.  Rewarding positive job performance results in a repeat of the actions.  

To learn more about how to build your perfect team or would like additional hiring tools, contact us today at or 214-755-0955.  For more information about our custom training solutions, visit

About the Author…

Tracy Civick is a nationally recognized speaker, coach, and author who focuses on motivating dental front office teams to grow practice revenue and get a better handle on the daily dental practice front office tasks.  Her memberships include The Academy of Dental Management Consultants and AADOM, Academy of Dental Office Managers.

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