Today is National Panic Day.

Today is National Panic Day.

5-21-11 blowing smoke

OMG, only a few hours left…..I have to set my clocks forward tonight.  Do I have enough time to get ready for it?
Gotta stay calm. Take a deep breath. Where did I put the Prozac?
I have to find something to worry about, quick. Do you have any ideas I can worry about? Send them quickly. Time’s running out.


Every glass is always full. Some of it is filled with liquid and the rest is filled with air! Every glass always has the right amount in it. We just need to appreciate what’s there and how to enjoy it..

 When I focus on what I HAVE and how lucky I am, I am the happiest.


Some of the most frequently heard complaints from dentists are concerning their staff:
“Why can’t I find a smart receptionist?”
“She’s only been here three months and she’s asking for a raise.”
“Aren’t there any dedicated people out there?”
John McKay was a very successful college footballl head coach with UCLA. He was hired to be head coach of the 1976 NFL expansion team Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After starting their first 26 games without a win, head coach John McKay was asked what he thought of his team’s “execution.” He replied, “I’m all for it.“
You don’t just “get” a great employee, you build one.
Here’s an OUTLINE OF A PROCESS that assures a more successful and longer lasting relationship with employees. It will foster a mutually rewarding future for the doctor and the whole team.
By the way, McKay’s team improved by the end of the 1970s, making the playoffs three times including an appearance in the NFC Championship Game in 1979.
The solution starts at the beginning and lies in your Process of Recruiting, Inducting, and Managing.
1. Trust your Personnel Recruiter.
2. Clearly define what you are looking for- job description, personality traits, availability, etc.
3. When possible, call the “promising applicants” to make preliminary phone judgements. 
4. Set up “working interviews” of undetermined length.This will help you determine the prospect’s value and thus, her/his starting pay. 
5. Carefully review the job description and your expectations with the new employee. 
6. Hire on a probationary three month basis with all recommended written safeguards. (Employment Practice Liability, etc.) 
7. Get on-going feedback from trusted team members about new employee. 
8. Conduct scheduled, periodic, one-on-one, quarterly employee evaluation meeting.
9. Encourage the new employee to participate in morning huddles and team meetings..
10. Keep education and improvement as a priority.
11. What would YOU add to this list?
Remember…..  “trainability” and having an open mind (growth potential) is crucial, because YOUR practice and YOUR expectations are much different from those of her/his prior employers.
…… the “chemistry” between you, your other teammates, and the prospect is necessary. You will be spending more time with the new employee than with your spouse.
……. you are the President and CEO of this team. Be a benevolent but firm, empowering, hands-on Leader. Employee management is part of YOUR job.


Never assume” is always very wise advice, and may be extra true in dentist/patients relationships. There are techniques to “pre-qualify” a patient’s initial interest, but that should not discourage the dentist from giving an honest and sincere presentation of the patient’s real needs.

I like to see a dentist introduce him/herself with, How may I help you today?” You may have some information from the patient’s registration, but often you will get a better (or different) understanding from a personal response.
ALF= Ask questions, Listen, give Feedback.
Here’s a classic example of dentist disengagement-
A few years ago I witnessed an experienced dentist conduct this exchange with a new patient.
Patient (an 85 y/o plainly dressed woman with severely eroded anterior teeth and a “closed bite”: “Doctor I would like to have a nice smile. I think I need all my teeth capped.”
Dr. S (A good clinician with very poor communication skills) “You know, that’s going to cost over $20,000.” (He ASSUMED from the patient’s age and appearance that she was just fantasizing and would waste his time.)
The lady looked him right in the eyes and said, “I thought it might have cost over $30,000.”
She completed and paid for her exam visit…. and never came back to him. When she left his office I explained to him how he probably lost the patient and even worse, injured the self image of his patient. She (and I) interpreted his callous statement as an insult, and even if she lived another 5 years, or 6 months after treatment, she will have realized her dream of “a nice smile”. What right did he have to destroy her self-value and steal her dream? She may have won a lottery, or perhaps her children may have decided to give her a birthday present… but Listen to your patient.
This is a true, actual example. Here’s the outcome of this story. The woman went to another Dentist in the area (Dr. B) who kept an open mind and helped her achieve her dream.


On October 28th, 2011, as a part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, five live web-cams were installed in Ms. Liberty’s torch, in her crown, and at the harbor. There’s also a Panorama of the NJ and NY skylines, Ellis Island, and the New York-New Jersey Harbor.

Click on any of the five pictures and enjoy a live streaming video… day or night, 24/7, starting now.

There’s live audio too, so you can hear the whoosh of aircraft overhead and the honk of boat horns as YOU watch the ships steam across the bay. Click on this link to look and listen:

I wish I could have been there. When Lady Liberty was still in her youth, my parents saw her on their freedom voyage from Kiev, in Ukrania (then part of the Russian Empire) to Ellis Island. I can only imagine their teenage excitement and fulfillment of hope when they saw Lady Liberty from their ship. They were so proud and determined to become Americans- in every way. They quickly learned to speak English and adapted to every American way of life. I am very proud of them.
The one time I saw The Statue of Liberty was from a US Army troop ship returning to the Port of New York on a foggy morning. The scene is emblazoned in my memory.
On Monday June 28th, 2012 let’s remember the Veterans of our struggles for Liberty who never returned to see this beautiful tribute.
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You can also watch the Memorial Day parade on Capitol Hill Mall – Monday June 28th, 2012 (This day only) by live web-cam:


 Okay, you “tried”, and it didn’t work. But, at least you said you “tried”. Do you feel relieved now… even though you failed?


 Is it good enough to “try” to do something… and then quit?


People who use words like “I tried.” are quitting before they give themselves a chance to win. When you say “I tried” or “I can’t,” the computer in your brain steps right up and supplies you with lots of reasons why you can’t, and it also blocks the creative part of your mind from figuring our how you can. Thus, the fact that you can’t, becomes true, further reinforcing your belief that you really can’t.
The entire presupposition behind “I tried” is failure. No one who succeeds ever says “I tried.” They say “I will do it.” Trying begins with the belief in failure. To try, you must make pictures in your head of failing. My suggestion is to make pictures in your head of accomplishing whatever it is you want to accomplish. Picture yourself having lost weight, as a non-smoker, or marching in the Winners’ Parade. When you do this, you give your brain a signal to figure out how to do it. When you “try,” you give your brain a signal to figure out a way to fail. There’s always a way.

In the 1st of the Star Wars episodes, Yoda instructed Luke Sky Walker (Harrison Ford), “There is no ‘try’. There is either ‘do’ or ‘do not.”

Instead of saying “I can’t”, begin to ask “How can I?” and keep asking and asking until your brain supplies you with the answer you want. I once heard a “motivational speaker” say, “After you think you tried every possible method, and still haven’t succeeded, try another method.” You could have asked Thomas Alva Edison about that:

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”

Thomas Alva Edison (1847 – 1931)
“Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.”




Why would someone focus on what they don’t want, and see themselves as being “at effect” of causes over which they have no control?   Fear. You can take control of your responses to whatever situation you find yourself in. And you can consciously control the choices you have in any situation. Choose to be successful.
What is the common thread of greatness that binds Thomas Edison, Yogi Berra, Yoda, and Gen. George S. Patton… and Mothers?


The power to persist in spite of everything, to endure, is the quality of a winner. Your greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time you fail. “I don’t fear failure. I only fear the slowing up of the engine inside of me which is saying, ‘Keep going, someone must be on top, why not you?” George S. Patton Jr.



My own dear mother, who came to the New World (Philadelphia), as a penniless but determined immigrant from Russia, always believed she could accomplish nearly anything here. She learned English quickly, spoke it without an accent, and was respected and loved by everyone who met her. Her goals were to raise two children in a most difficult time during the “Great Depression”. Somehow she found the money to buy a piano for my sister, who became an opera singer, and for me to learn the violin. I can only imagine the hardships and the barriers in those years. Perseverentia vincit. (Perseverance conquers.) My mom, like yours, had all those adages; “Where there’s a will there’s a way.” ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,”.
Your constant and determined effort will eventually break down all resistance and sweep away all the barriers to help you reach your goal. Be positive and persistent; know you will accomplish it.
You can’t be happy knowing you only “tried” …. and lost, and knowing that winning was just within your reach.







KNOCK KNOCK! It’s a New Patient….

Do you hear that sound? That’s more than your phone ringing- that’s OPPORTUNITY knocking at your door.
The way your telephone is answered often determines whether the caller will take the next step and schedule an appointment……. or not.
How important is that first contact that a patient has with your office? In four (4) seconds a caller will determine if she/he likes YOU, if YOU are friendly, if YOUR office is professional, if she/he will have fun… or fear, if she/he is making the correct choice. All the greatness in skill and service you offer will be judged by the caller in the first contact with the person who answers the telephone for you. Your entire image, and all you worked to achieve, will be projected there and then. YOU are reflected in her/his image.
It should be pre-determined whose job it is to be the first person to answer the telephone, and when that’s not possible, who’s next and so on. Any team member that can answer the phone must be trained in the telephone protocol of the dental practice. Give them the training! And make that “phantom call” every once in a while to hear what your patient hears.
 An office has to have a “script” for answering the telephone. Whomever does answer the phone must follow the practice’s telephone protocol.

Here is a complete, professional, and friendly protocol:

1. The Welcome (Make it fun, unique, and memorable.)
2. Identify the Office (Office name and doctor(s))
3. Identify the Speaker (Sound like you are happy and excited to take the call.)
4. Call to Action
And here is a simple example you can adapt (customize):
“It’s a great day here at Dr. Smiths’ ‘Healthy Smiles’.
This is Susan; how may I help you today?”
This seems so obvious that you may wonder why I bother to post this. I post this because nine out of ten dental offices I call still answer with something as mundane as, “Doctor’s Office”.
1. “Would you spell your name for me please?”
2. "In case we get disconnected may I have your phone number?"
 After giving you this information, a rapport will be established and the caller will feel engaged.
 3. "Which one of our patients referred you?" (Useful information and a subliminal promotion.)
“That’s great! They’re one of our favorites. We’ll have to thank them.'"
We ask that question because so many of our patients are referred by others." "We hope you will be doing that, too."
  "Are you seeing us to establish a new relationship or do you have a specific concern or problem?" 



"Is there anything in your medical history that would influence your dental treatment?"
7. End the call on a high note, telling the patient how excited you are to meet them.
No matter how "busy" you may be, there will always be enough time to create a great memorable FIRST IMPRESSION.

How many cups of SUGAR do you eat each day? SURPRISE!

About the time of Henry VIII–when they first got easy access to it–the British were really enjoying their sugar. They put it on everything, from eggs to meat to wine. Even though sugar was expensive, they consumed it until their teeth turned black, and if their teeth didn’t turn black naturally, they blackened them artificially to show how wealthy and marvelously self-indulgent they were.

In the following pictures (slide show), one cube equals one teaspoonful of sugar.

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What’s your favorite “snack food” after looking at this?

How about a bag of Cheerios and a small bag of carrots?