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To transform your practice from good to great, you must first establish discipline in your dental practice.

Without discipline, your team members will not know the things they should be doing and that’ll lead to negative results. In this episode, Gary explains how you can encourage your team members to maintain discipline by guiding them in the right way.

  • Intro to today’s topic > 01:05
  • First-ever Thriving Dentist Masterclass! > 01:17
  • The right people > 10:11
  • Emanate from the doctor > 16:46
  • ‘Stop Doing’ List > 17:23
  • Discipline Speed Bumps > 18:47


Naren: This is the less insurance dependence podcast show with my good friend Gary takas and myself Naren Arulrajah.

Gary: We appreciate your listenership your time and most of all we appreciate your intention to reduce insurance dependence in your practice. Our goal is to provide information that will help you successfully reduce insurance dependence and convert your practice into a thriving and profitable dental practice that provides you with personal professional and financial satisfaction.

Gary: Welcome to another episode of the less insurance dependence podcast. I’m Gary takas your podcast co-host, very excited to bring a new episode to you that we think you’ll get a lot of benefit from. You may have seen the title already but this one is titled, "the role of discipline in successfully reducing insurance dependence." We have lots of cool information for you in this episode. Hey before we get to that though, I have a very cool announcement to make and that is we have scheduled our first ever thriving dentist master class. This is a three-hour virtual online course that’s titled the six steps to successfully resign from PPO plans. We’re going to go into a deep dive in that master class about everything you need to know to successfully resign from PPO plans. If you’re a listener to this podcast we know that you will absolutely love that master class. That’s going to be on February 17th from 7 to 10 pm eastern 7 to 10 p.m eastern. We will limit attendance to 20 attendees we anticipate that this master class will absolutely sell out. I encourage you to visit the website forward slash masterclass and you can get all the information you need about that master class and if there are spots available, there’ll be a counter there that will indicate to you if there are spots available. If there are spots available, I will encourage you to sign up we’re limiting it to 20 doctors. We will run it more like a workshop than a lecture with lots of interaction and you’ll qualify for three hours of continuing education credits and that is our first-ever master class, it is the only one we have scheduled and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of that master class, three hours of uh nuts and bolts content about the six steps to successfully resign from PPO plans. Well back to today’s episode. The role of discipline in successfully reducing insurance dependence. Hey Naren what do you think about that topic?

Naren: Gary thank you so much. I think this is going to be an exciting topic and I think one thing that you and I have in common is discipline, for example, we have been producing the less insurance dependence podcast show for two years now and we are doing this week in and week out every single week and if the rare occasion, we can’t do it because either you are on vacation even then we plan it ahead and we get ahead right 

Gary: Yeah

Naren: and then 

Gary: Well and I have that track record with the thriving dentist I started the thriving dentist show uh kind of our flagship podcast I started that in late 2011 and my vision was to publish a new episode every Wednesday and we are on episode 467 that means 467 weeks of never missing an episode so I guess uh in Wikipedia next to discipline is you’re in my picture and I will raise my hand and say guilty as charged and I think I’ve always had a discipline, wired into my DNA however we also you and I also appreciate an author uh that we’ll talk about in this episode Jim Collins who wrote the book good to great and one of the chapters in the book good to great was all about the culture of discipline and how great companies have embraced uh the concept of the culture of discipline so I believe I had it in my DNA before I read that book but that book sort of amplified it in importance but yeah I would say you and I are our poster children for the concept of discipline for sure

Naren: I was going to say Gary I know when we talk about marketing for example we talk about all the components of how to do well in google that’s all about the discipline you know you have to work on NAP day in and day out, week in, and week out you have to work on quality backlinks, you have to work on EAT all these things so if you really look at a successful business they have pieces to them and then each piece will have things you have to do within that piece in a disciplined fashion and I think I was influenced by Jim Collins I guess as soon as the book came out and whether he realized it or not now that I look back many of the things he teaches including discipline kind of became the DNA of you know the businesses that I ended up creating as well so I’m excited about this topic 

Gary: think about it Naren, let’s go to that marketing example and you use the example of nap and that’s having a consistent name address phone profile across all the different directories and think about if your team was undisciplined and they’re chasing squirrels, I like to use that terminology we all know what that means I think to some degree where we can all be guilty of chasing squirrels at times and imagine they’re over here you know squirrel, squirrel, squirrel, so, so they start to go down the trail of correcting nap for a client but they don’t finish it and then they chase something else well where is that going to get you in terms of marketing it’s not going to get you very far 

Naren: Exactly 

Gary: In fact, it’s really a recipe for failure because, in fact, you won’t be enhancing your consistent nap profile if you don’t follow that to completion, and then even then when you’re done you’re not done because you have to go back and correct any new changes so discipline plays I recognize the discipline of your team in my results and life smiles of marketing because I think the discipline of your team has greatly enhanced our results because they stay with the project to completion 

Naren: Exactly Gary and I was just thinking, remember when we first started you were ranking on page one for 130 odd keywords, maybe after a year or two you’re going to love this. November report… the latest report you are ranking on page one for 489 keywords.

Gary: Wow 

Naren: Talk about the discipline it’s just hammering it day in and day out and we know what these keywords are so we can even see this keyword, six-month braces phoenix three you know 76 people typed it in you are number two on average across all those 76 people. So, we can count these 480 plus keywords anyways

Gary: Absolutely, let’s start by going back and um talking to our audience about Jim Collins in the book good to great. Now the book good to great and if you have not read this or listen to it run don’t walk, this now and if you’re a reader it’s available in hardback softback, its e-book you know whatever format you like if you are more of a listener, it’s available in audiobooks. Audible the really cool thing about the audio version of this book is that the author Jim Collins actually reads the book himself and I always love it when the author who wrote the book reads the book because they certainly can hire a celebrity narrator and sometimes their voices are very cool but they often don’t have the context 

Naren: Of course 

Gary: Of the book, so they’re just reading words however when the author you know Jim Collins in this case is reading his own work he is going to amplify and draw attention to the most important points of the book but I want to sort of set this up by sharing with our listeners that there are nine chapters in the book and the book is all about the 11 companies that Jim Collins studied that made the leap from good to great, there’s only 11 out of the fortune 500 companies, he had very specific criteria to define what it meant to go from good to great, and I love the title as relates to our listeners because I believe that all of our listeners already have a good practice and now we want to take it to be great practice and one of the ways that you’re going to take it to be a great practice is by successfully resigning from PPO plans. Well, there are only nine chapters in the book and one of the chapters was titled the culture of discipline, that’s how important it was to Jim as he studied these companies and so clearly discipline is an important topic. So, let’s talk about some bullet points that our listeners can sort of get a flavor for even before they listen to the book or if they’ve listened to it maybe a review. So, here’s what it means to create a culture of discipline and I’m going to use our industry in our practices, Jim talked about it in your business but we’ll talk about it in your practice. Well, number one you have to maintain the discipline to have the right people on your bus, the right people on your bus. I love that terminology Naren, I think any of our listeners can picture that that hey if our practice is a bus, we want the right people on the bus. Naren, I could hardly think first of all I think that concept is critical in every aspect of practice development, every aspect, but it could hardly be more important in this particular strategy to reduce insurance dependence because if you have team members that are digging their heels in and they just there we can’t do this there’s no way you know doc you know I think maybe you’ve fallen and hit your head. We can’t do this doc, if that’s the case then we really need to take a close look at can we get these team members on the bus and I would do everything in your power to help educate them to make the switch we’ve talked about it in past episodes how do we get our team on board, how do we get them on board and so go back and listen to past episodes and you can see that but if you reach the point where team members have just absolutely got their full speed brakes on and they’re like, well I’ll do whatever you want doc but this isn’t going to work. What needs to happen there Naren?

Naren: I think you know they have to get off the bus I feel like I’ve business the work the coaching work you do and you always talk about what’s the comment that you shared from Jim Collins book you know about one of the good to great companies they talk about hiring five people and working like 10 and paying them as eight 

Gary: Yeah they featured one of the companies and the CEO founder CEO made the comment that our philosophy is we want to hire five people have them do the work of 10 and we’re going to pay them the work of 20, so it’s the idea of having you know people that really you know put heart and soul into their work and this is very important in this topic because patients don’t discriminate who they ask their questions to yeah you know anybody that works for you doctor is fair game for a patient to ask a question to

Naren: Yeah

Gary: And let’s say you know one of your patients turns to a dental assistant and says Susan I don’t understand why you’re not taking my insurance anymore now that’s actually not the case because we still help them file their insurance but that’s how it might sound coming from a patient and if Susan says I don’t know I mean doctor had this crazy idea I don’t know what to tell you clearly that’s not the answer we want 

Naren: Right one thing I would like to add to this is just because they’re not totally bought in on day one doesn’t mean you have to fire them it just might be like a lot of things, maybe their mindset is not right and I would recommend we will put a link to it some of the episodes get it around mindset like you need to have the right mindset what’s in it for them Gary talked about the bonus plan again I think maybe we can put a link to the bonus plan you know verbal skills you know again you have covered it get it it’s like a mini university you know in your phone thanks to Gary we can put a link to that so I think you have to work with them and I think that’s one of the things that you do with your coaching clients where it’s step by step you know because you can’t do the steps seven when you haven’t done step one so anyway so it’s 

Gary: yeah so, we want to get them there my experience far and away is that we typically have good people they just need the training to get there, but number one we need to write people and we need the discipline to have the right people on the bus. Number two, we need disciplined people, we need our team members to be disciplined. So, for example, if we provide some verbal skills training we need that training to stick if they follow the verbal skills one day and then the next day they go back to the way it was then they’re showing a lack of discipline in that task. So, we need disciplined people, disciplined people. We need discipline thought let me go to step three we need discipline thought and that comes from the top and the thought or mindset I would reframe that phrase Jim Collins used the concept discipline thought I would probably reframe it as a disciplined mindset and the discipline mindset that we need we need from the top is we can absolutely do this, we got this we hey team we got this we can do this 

Naren: Right 

Gary: We can do this we need to celebrate our successes make mid-course corrections when necessary but the disciplined thought or the discipline mindset is we can do this. We got this you know uh near in my coaching work I’m in the early stages with a newer client of resigning successfully from PPO plans and we recently had a team meeting with everyone and I called on the office manager un unrehearsed she didn’t know I was calling on her but I knew based on my interaction with her I kind of knew where her mindset was and I called on the office manager and I said how do you feel about this project of reducing insurance she said Gary I can’t wait to do this office is so well poised to do this we are going to absolutely rock this and it was such a positive tone to our zoom meeting because how do you think her team this is a woman that has vast experience in dentistry. She’s been in other practices that have done this how do you think her junior team members are feeling after a comment like that.

Naren: they’re all on board because you know if the leader is on board then the team members on board 

Gary: Right 

Naren: yeah, and I remember another example you shared with me um the worst of recession and you guys would come into the day I mean this is their life smiles and 80 percent of the time you don’t have your schedule to go but when you finish eighty percent of the time you have the schedule you need if you made it 

Gary: You made it

Naren: so that idea of can do is so powerful

Gary: can do we can do it, we can do it and doctor that has you can’t delegate that, now great it’s wonderful when we have it in support in unison from the team as we did in that example of that zoom meeting, but it’s got to emanate from the doc because the team will parrot your mindset if you 

Naren: if the doc, is having a bad day and being down it’s going to 

Gary: yeah 

Naren: it’s going to be like a virus 

Gary: Yeah 

Naren: Spread 

Gary: Yeah so then we need discipline action and disciplinary action is just what it sounds, we need to follow our plan not chase squirrels not get distracted, and then the final comment from the book the chapter uh culture of discipline is and I love this is sort of my mantra for 2021, everybody needs to create a stop doing list and that was foreign to me as a concept before I read the book Naren because the other the opposite of that was something I was very familiar with a to-do list you know a goal list a to-do list I’ve had that since probably I came out of the womb but the idea of a stop doing list was new to me and yet I only had to read it once in the book to get it because in order to do some of the things we have to do oftentimes we have to create a void. So that we can fill that in with our new projects and so all of us need to create a stop doing list and maybe the first thing we need to stop doing is stop sending all that money to the insurance companies in the form of the insurance company adjustments because it is quite literally insane when we look at how much money remember I want you to look at your insurance adjustments the difference between your usual fee and your contracted fee, I want you to look at that as a marketing expense and it may be very sobering for you to see that because many offices are spending more than five hundred thousand dollars a year in those insurance adjustments and one of the first things we need to stop doing is stop sending that money to the insurance companies Naren, I want to sort of bring this episode uh to a close as I talk about some common discipline speed bumps and I just want to put these on the radar screen so that doctors you won’t be surprised when you hit these speeds but you know when you’re driving down the road and it’s got a sign that says speed bumps up ahead what do you do you adjust your speed you’re ready for what if you were dozing off hopefully you’re not actually dozing off but what if you didn’t see the sign and you’re going full speed you hit the speed bump that can be quite unsettling. So I just want you to have these speed bumps on your radar screen. so that you can uh be prepared because these are likely some that you’re going to hit no particular order but here’s one becoming impatient and not completing the readiness checklist before resigning from PPO plans Naren I see this all the time a dentist a client will text me is it Gary I’ve just had it I’ve had it I looked at my adjustments again this month and I’ve had it up to here and I know we’re not ready yet but I’m going to bail right and the problem with that you can do it I mean it’s your decision your name’s on the door doc you get to decide however you also have to accept the consequences a possible consequence of that are you will lose more patience than you would if you were fully prepared so just put up put it on your radar screen that we want to be patient and complete the readiness checklist before you resign number two not replacing the flow of new patients that currently come from PPO plans with new digital marketing. Remember as soon as you go out of network it’s like turning off the spigot and whatever new patients you saw a month let’s say it was 25 new patients a month from delta, you’re not going to have those literally the spigot got turned up so you have to replace those ahead of time. Third not fully training the team on communication skills, maybe you had good intentions but you got derailed in your team meetings stay with that one because verbal skills and communication skills are critical and then number four, we can all have those days Naren where we don’t feel 100 percent we have to be careful as a leader in the practice the messages that were subconsciously sending our team members. So, speed bump number four is sending mix mixed messages to the team about your fears and doubts about going out of network because that will be amplified by your team if you send that message. Imagine being the quarterback of the football team and it’s a close game and you’re thinking hey guys I don’t know man, I’m not sure we’re going to pull this one off I think we’re going to lose how’s that huddle meeting going to go in the football team Naren, miserable 

Naren: Yeah absolutely yeah 

Gary: absolutely miserable so doctor you have to send a consistent message from the top 

Naren, I’ll let you uh put a ribbon on this one but this has been a fun episode.  I think we’ve covered a lot of material in a short period of time um go ahead and finish up for us

Naren:  absolutely so thank you so much I think this is a really, really, really, important practice discipline and all the pointers get a give today are very valuable so definitely write it down maybe even post it on your wall and try to pay attention to it all the different points around discipline the second thing is just a quick reminder our MBA is coming up on the 29th and the 30th of this month. We might have a few spots left uh go to MBA to get the details, we’ll put a link to it also the master class this is the very first and perhaps the only master class we’re going to do in 2021 on the topic of six steps to successfully resign from PPO plans only 20 stops spots left six steps to successfully resign from PPO plans only eighty-nine dollars. So, sign up we’re going to put a link uh we are announcing this to you the less insurance dependent show first so take advantage of this and I want to take a moment to thank every one of you for your support we have had an amazing 2020 in spite of all the challenges when it comes to how many people have joined our movement, whether they are sharing the episode writing reviews or even subscribing to it. So thank you so much we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing without you and have a wonderful 2021.

Gary Takacs

Gary Takacs One of Gary's most significant achievements as a dental practice management coach is transforming his own practice, LifeSmiles, from one that was infected with PPO plans, no effective marketing strategy, and an overhead of 80% to a very successful dental practice that is currently one of the top-performing practices in the US.

With over 2,200 coaching clients, Gary has first-hand experience transforming insurance-dependent practices into thriving and profitable practices.

Through his Personalized Coaching Program, Gary shares access to the systems, strategies, processes, and experience gained over 41 years of coaching dentists and transforming over 2200 practices worldwide.

Learn More:
Connect with Gary Takacs on Linkedin

Naren Arulrajah

Naren ArulrajahAs CEO of Ekwa Marketing, Naren has over a decade of experience working with dental practices and helping them attract the ideal type of patients to their practices. It is his goal to help dentists do more of the type of dentistry they love with the help and support of effective digital marketing.

Ekwa’s "Done-For-You" Digital Marketing model blends fundamental persuasion principles with an all-in-one Digital Marketing solution to help your ideal patients find you and choose you for reasons other than being on their insurance plan.

If you’re interested in finding out if Ekwa is the right fit for you and your practice, book a Free Marketing Strategy Meeting with Ekwa’s Marketing Director, Lila Stone.

Book Free Marketing Strategy Meeting:

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