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Linda Miles: Best Practices for Associate Transitions

Practice management expert Linda Miles has important tips for senior dentists, associate doctors and team members onboarding a new associate. “I've seen too many associateships fail in my 36 years of consulting,” says Miles, “and I honestly believe there needs to be a few quick rules.”

Tip for Senior Dentists

Senior dentists need to praise publicly, and train and reprimand privately. They should not micromanage, and they should not give the new (and commonly younger) dentist only the leftover dentistry. Otherwise, trust is not built between the team and the associate.

Tip for Team Members

Team members should never imply the associate is second best. They should promote the associate and sing her or his praises. Miles has observed many times an administrative team member saying, “Oh, I’m sorry to  say that Dr. Senior is not here today, but you could see our Associate.” She recommends saying this: “Mrs. Bailey, Dr. Senior would not want you to wait. He would want you to see Dr. New, who joined our practice since you were here last. Our patients love him, and you’re going to be in really good hands.” 

Tip for New Associates

It’s very common for the team to want to buddy up to the associate. “They want to take him or her to lunch,” says Miles. “They want to invite them to their home for dinner. They want to fuss about how things are with Dr. Senior.” As long as the entire team is going to lunch together the associate can go, but “the younger dentists cannot become a good friend to any of the team members, and they need to keep their distance if they're already a friend of that person.” If the conversation ever turns negative about Dr. Senior, Miles recommends never becoming involved in gossip and telling the team member that you want to invite Dr. Senior to join in the conversation.

About the Industry Leaders:

Linda Miles - Profile Pic

Linda Miles

Practice and Team Development Consultant

Linda was the founder of one of dentistry's most successful consulting firms and speaking businesses, Dental Dynamics, Inc (DDI), now Miles Global, which was named an INC 500 company for phenomenal growth from 1982 to 1987. DDI had its greatest growth from 1987 to 1999. It continues to grow under the direction of the new CEO, Dr. Rhonda Savage. In 1997, Linda founded the Speaking Consulting Network (SCN) and has helped dozens of top speakers and consultants catapult their own businesses by networking with her and others in SCN. Linda has written three best-selling practice management books, produced many audios, CDs, Videos and DVDs, and has spoken in all 50 states and on four continents. She is co-founder of Oral Cancer Cause, Inc.

Robin Morrison - Profile Pic

Robin Morrison

Dental Marketing Branding and Customized Marketing Campaigns

President of Dental Consultant Connection and RLM Healthcare Marketing & Consulting, Inc. Robin began her career in dentistry in 1981, working in an exceptional dental practice as an office administrator and marketing director. In 1997, she began to live her dream and launched her first business, RLM Healthcare Marketing & Consulting. she recognized more business opportunities and needs, she launched her second business, Dental Consultant Connection, which connects dental consultants and dentists, and ensures the right consultant is selected to fit the need. Robin also teamed up with Linda Miles to form Oral Cancer Cause, Inc., a Florida not for profit corporation that financially assists oral cancer patients and their families during their treatment, while creating awareness about oral cancer. Robin is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants (ADMC), the Speaking Consulting Network (SCN) and a lifetime member of the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM).

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