Josey Sewell, Co-Founder and Creator of the Dental Operating System, joins us for this episode focused on operating systems for dental practices. Now she has partnered with the DEO, Dentist Entrepreneur Organization, to help dentists grow and get the most out of their practices. Listen now to get tips you need for your practice!
What we cover in this episode:
- 03:25 – What is a dental operating system?
- 07:50 – Why is an operating system important for a dental practice management?
- 20:07 – How do you go about implementing a dental operating system?
- 32:20 – The DEO, Dentist Entrepreneur Organization
Josey Sewell is an enthusiastic leader who finds joy in solving the toughest problems entrepreneurial companies face: team engagement, scalability, and a need for appropriate infrastructure. She is dentistry’s expert in applying an operating system in dental groups to help them clarify their vision, focus on what matters, and achieve improved team health. She has unique expertise and the ability to weave together sound business systems and team development strategies. Her development programs have empowered leaders and executives to find more joy in their work and control of their business. Josey Sewell has one goal: to make work a joyFULL place to be and we are excited to welcome her to the show today!
What is a dental operating system?
A dental operating system is something that guides the company’s direction and strategy, harnesses human energy, and creates a common language for the team to help the business grow. This is especially helpful for entrepreneurial companies, and companies that are growing because it helps really set the foundation and the ground rules for your business.
The term operating system, or OS, as it relates to your computer or phone, is quite common in today’s world. Things like Mac OS or iOS are familiar and are the operating systems in place to make sure that all of the different pieces and parts of your computer will act as a cohesive whole, so when you move your mouse around and you click in an app or use the printer, it all works well. We are not going to speak today about that kind of technology operating system, but more in the sense of a business operating system.
It’s so easy as a business owner to put your head down and just do day to day things that pop up rather than focusing on your larger goals and plan. When that happens you tend to lose your sense of purpose and forget where you’re going. This is where an operating system can help by keeping everybody on the same page. As your team grows, this becomes crucial because without an operating system, you will lose the ability to keep up any consistency. An operating system allows you to communicate with the team by creating a common language.
Why is an operating system important for dental practice management?
Josey answered, “The reason that it works and is needed so much in dentistry is we have these clinicians that are business owners… And they’ve been taught in a very systematic, methodical way, how to take care of patients and how to fix teeth and how to help people achieve health. But they did not get a lot of business training.” Josey continued, “They definitely didn’t get HR training. And so when you utilize an operating system, it helps create this systematic methodical way to lead your team to make sure that you’re keeping track of the most critical functions in your business. And it just gives you really good business practices that unfortunately they don’t teach in dental school.”
There are nuances in the dental industry that need to be addressed, and these are things that may not be included in a generic operating system template. Processes in any business are important, but we’ve seen owners struggle to know what the processes are that you should have when scaling and growing your dental group.
Dental processes specifically should include such things as knowing how you are going to grow your associates, what is your patient acquisition process, how do you measure the quality of the patient experience, what does your revenue cycle look like, or your team member life cycle look like. Having a high level of understanding of what are the things you need to be looking at, is why you should put an operating system in place. Leveraging your knowledge and putting it into your operating system will keep you steps ahead in your business.
An operating system specifically tailored to the dental industry can help identify the key performance indicators you need to be tracking in your practice. Instead of having an exhaustive list of tasks, you should know what are the desired outcomes for your dental practice processes. Josey shared a link to get a Manager Cheat Sheet for FREE! Get the KPIs for 9 Dental Group Positions HERE!
What size dental practice requires an operating system?
An operating system is beneficial for dental practices of all sizes. Josey added, “I’m a previous COO of a dental group and spend my world and my time around other emerging dental groups. But I absolutely have single location practices that I have personally coached and found it to be really valuable.”
How do you implement a dental operating system?
It may sound a bit overwhelming for practice owners, but you shouldn’t be scared to get started. It may help to acknowledge that you are working in an accidental operating system if you don’t have a formal operating system in place. The purpose of this is to get you and your team working more efficiently, which can actually help alleviate the overwhelm you may be feeling.
It’s not difficult to get focused on the specifics for your practice or business, and there are many ways to get started. A great starting point can be as simple as setting up good habits, such as starting to have a regular cadence of meetings, creating a structured agenda to follow, and regularly communicating with your team.
When it comes to taking it a step further, there are many great books on the topic, or you can hire a coach like Josey to help you out. You have to be able to identify where and when you need the help, and just get started.
Jaime noted that after implementing an operating system, many of the dentists she has worked with now understand their own value, and know that the best use of their time may not be entering items into QuickBooks, but rather focusing on their strengths and caring for clients. They know they should have processes in place, and bring people in to support them, and then spend their valuable time in areas that really benefit the practice. Collaboration is key in working with coaches or consultants.
You can also implement a dental operating system through private coaching or implementation. Coaches can meet with you for full day sessions and customize those to your business and the executive group of your team. There is also a way to train the entire organization through training whole teams as we have an entire portal with thousands of hours of training and education on any topic you could possibly come up with related to building a dental group.
The DEO, Dentist Entrepreneur Organization
The DEO is a very large organization with many resources available. They offer training and development in the industry, as well as forums for operational professionals in the areas of finance, marketing and operating systems. There is a community of connections who are very open to helping you be successful. There are opportunities to learn about the dental operating system in a group setting.
You can reach Josey Sewell at deodentalgroup.com, and on social media @hygienistandheels. DSO offers a growth accelerator call for anyone who might be interested. Josey is also sharing with us the private “DSO Secrets” facebook group that you can join. We also discussed the upcoming DEO Growth Summit, happening June, 2022.
A dental operating system can help growing dental practices and groups focus on the foundations for their business and guide a company’s direction and strategy for continued growth and success. An operating system will allow communication, collaboration, and help executives take control of their businesses.
Josey concluded by saying, “ You know, in dentistry, in leadership, or even, especially in growing a dental company, it can feel really lonely and feel very daunting. And I think that our message is that you don’t have to do this alone. And we also want to be open and honest that this stuff is just really stinking hard. But it doesn’t have to be when you’re surrounded by the right people.”