Are You Training Your Team Or Simply Writing Policies?

Today’s blog feels like the Beatles’ song “A Day In The Life”.

It’s as if I’ve written about two different topics, loosely tied together under one title.

But the message from both topics is simple:

You need to train your staff.

Not just tell them.

Or make policies.

You need to train them so that what they need to do becomes ingrained and second nature.


I received a great email last week reminding me that sometimes as business owners we take a lot for granted.

The email was a reminder of some of the little things we do, and do not do, as business owners, that indeed sabotage our business, without us even realizing that we are doing them.

I was reminded of these, and that there is always a better way, when I visited a dental practice last week.

At this practice I was able to offer a few easy to implement suggestions that saw an immediate increase in appointments made and appointments kept, along with a reduction in the number of cancellations and no-shows.

It wasn’t so much *what* I said that caused these changes.

It was indeed the fact that I was there in the first place to be passing a guiding eye over the operations that allowed me to contribute positively.

At your Dental Practice do you have a guiding influencer regularly attending and overseeing and adding value to your operations?

One of the most valuable golf lessons I ever had was from my coach and mentor Bruce Burrows, who came and sat in on a practice session I was having at the golf driving range. I regularly had lessons from Bruce there, but on this occasion, when I turned up this time just to hit a few balls on my own, Bruce was not teaching, and so he came over and offered me some of his thoughts.

Now, I could have booked and paid for a lesson.

Or Bruce could have sat inside and had a coffee instead of coming out and watching me.

But there’s something much more beneficial that was happening here.

And that is the advice coming from a mentor, and not just from a CD, or a book or a DVD.

Anyway, back to the email…

The email reminded me of the concept of *Oversharing*.

Oversharing is something that most untrained employees do regularly, day in and day out.

Oversharing can be the process of letting the customer know un-asked-for information that is really irrelevant to the customer.

Oversharing can also be the discussion of inappropriate personal topics as well.

Both are really none of the customers’ business.

The customer does not need to know about backstage errors, mistakes and misdemeanours.

They don’t want to know about your latest ailment, or whether you are hungry, underfed, or in need of a coffee.

The customer just wants an Ultimate Patient Experience.

The customer wants the experience they were expecting.

Nothing else.

They don’t need to know that something went wrong.

Or that you have something wrong.

Or that you have some personality disorder.

They only want to know that everything is all right.

The email, from my friend and mentor John DiJulius, explained the crux of the whole situation, and that is that whenever oversharing occurs, it is really not the employee’s fault.

He says that most of the time employees have no idea what is considered oversharing. Employees do not realize that what they are saying is unprofessional.

This emphasises exactly how important it is to constantly be training employees about what is professional and appropriate and what is not.

And by training, I mean TRAINING.

Not a memo.

Not a policy, or new policy.

I mean training.

And training is repetition…over and over until a habit, or new behaviour is created.

Because a policy alone, buried inside a binder, book or folder, won’t cut the mustard.

It’s useless in there.

The behaviour needs to be taught, nurtured and learned.

Nothing less will work.


So what are some things that could be said that would constitute oversharing in the Dental Office?

  • “We have a staff member off sick today”
  • “Our lab mixed up the delivery date”
  • “Our lab is always mixing up the delivery date”
  • “We’re just waiting on instruments to come out of the autoclave”
  • “The staff at this specialist’s office are always rude”
  • “We’ve been meaning to get that carpet/TV/coffee machine/etc. fixed….”

How about some of these:

  • “Thank goodness it’s Friday”
  • “I’m so tired today”
  • “I’m not a morning person”

Have you seen Mrs. Brown’s new veneers?

Whenever a conversation in the Dental Office begins to become less than professional, and others can overhear it, then it needs to be changed.

Sometimes it is a team member, but sometimes it could be a patient who may be oversharing something personal within earshot of other patients, or other team members.

If this happens then your team members need to have a signal or code.

Another team member needs to know how to quickly terminate the errant conversation, and it may be as simple as coming in and saying:

“Have you seen Mrs. Brown’s new veneers?”

This is code meaning that your conversation is too loud, and inappropriate, or both, and the topic needs to be changed.

We don’t know what we don’t know.

It’s really that simple.

We need constant advisement.

All of us.

Be we the dentists, the office managers, the hygienists, the dental assistants or the receptionists.

We don’t know what we don’t know.

At this practice I visited last week, the receptionist received a gentle poke in the ribs from me every time they said on the phone:

“And you’ll receive a text message from us two days before…”

And the poke was more than once.

Because it takes time to train the mind to do and say new things.

You simply just can’t tell the mind to change.

You need to MAKE the mind change, by training it.

Training works.

Telling does not.

Are you training your team, or are you simply writing new policies and procedures?


My upcoming in depth two day workshops will be held  in Manhattan in April as well as in London in August.

You can reserve your places here: Click Link To Order and also Here

I will also be holding my celebrated one day workshop in Melbourne in June and in Auckland New Zealand in July.

You can reserve your seats for Melbourne here.

You can reserve your seats for Auckland New Zealand here.


Have you read my book , How To Build The Dental Practice of Your Dreams [Without Killing Yourself!] In Less Than Sixty Days.

You can order your copy here: Click Link To Order


The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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