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More Lessons About Dentistry From Watching Bar Rescue

I’ve already written a post about “Bar Rescue” as an excellent show to learn about practice management.  The premise is that host Jon Taffer, a nightlife expert, takes a failing bar and turns it into a goldmine.  It’s like “Kitchen Nightmares” and similar programs where clueless owners and employees get yelled at by an intimidating host.  Great stuff!

Well the new season started and I can’t get enough.  Aside from reinforcing the first three lessons it taught me, I’ve noticed a few more themes that apply to the dental profession…

(1) How often does your assistant clean the traps?

Sitting through lectures on sterilization and equipment maintenance is so boring it’s painful.  But one of the first things Jon Taffer and his celebrity chefs and bartenders do when they walk into a bar is inspect the cleanliness of the facility.  They typically find something like this:

Ugh, I’m never eating at a shady bar again…

The experts discover handfuls of grease that has been festering for years, dead rats, and other health code violations.  Now I know what you’re thinking; your practice doesn’t look like that.  Sweet Sassy Molassy I hope it looks nothing like that.  But as health care professionals we are held to even higher standards than the restaurant industry.

So make sure your team is adequately cleaning the office on a strict schedule.  Certain things need to be done after every patient, other chores are on a weekly or monthly basis.  If you’re not sure what should be done, educate yourselves about the established guidelines (OSHA here in the States) and get your team the proper training.  If our team is failing to maintain a pristine environment, it is ultimately our fault.

“Everything you’re doing is perfect. Please like me!”

(2) There’s a difference between being nice and being lazy.

I think I’m a pretty fun boss to have around (I hope).  But when I first transitioned from associate to owner, I slowly discovered I was being too easy with my team.  Some of the owners on “Bar Rescue” are really, really nice people who end up with employees who totally take advantage of them.  They come in late, steal, or just don’t put forth the effort that the job requires.  At a certain point the owner is being more lazy than nice.  Or they just want to be liked more than they want to run a great office.

I don’t mean we should walk around yelling and treating our team without respect.  But we need to make rules and stick to them.  If someone starts to under-perform, find a nice way to correct them such as this and this.  Write an office manual that lays out everyone’s responsibilities so you can all literally be on the same page.


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