Why Should Anyone Be Your Patient?

Office Magic Newsletter
Special Ronald Reagan Commemorative Issue

June 2004
In This Issue
-- 1. The Smartest People Speak in the Plainest English
-- 2. Don't be Defensive
-- 3. Be Prepared
-- 4. Wear a Velvet Glove
-- 5. Have an Iron Fist
-- 6. Don't Criticize Other Dentists
-- 7. Trust, But Verify
-- 8. Explore New Techniques
-- 9. Don't Be Needy
-- 10. Confront Problems
-- Coming Next Month


Whatever else you may have thought of him, Ronald Reagan was a leader if there ever was one. People followed him because he knew where he was going.

Ronald Reagan restored hope and reminded us what it means to be American. "You can go and live in Turkey, but you can't become a Turk," he said. "You can go and live in Japan, but you cannot become Japanese - or Germany or France - but anyone from any corner of the world can come to America and become an American."

He saved 77 lives as a teenage lifeguard. He later rescued the country when we were held hostage abroad and suffered the worst economy since the Great Depression at home.

What can dentists and team members learn from this lifeguard, this ordinary man who achieved such extraordinary things?

1. The Smartest People Speak in the Plainest English
Even Reagan's critics called him "The Great Communicator." He was a great communicator because he spoke simply. Ronald Reagan never used two syllables when one would do. He knew how to articulate what most Americans felt but had trouble expressing.

He won election in 1980 by asking the simplest question he possibly could: "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?" He was also the first President to use a prop in a televised address, using coins to illustrate in an understandable way the effects of inflation. He knew how to get what might be called "case acceptance."

Increase Your Case Acceptance Rate

2. Don't be Defensive
Reagan loved to be underestimated. He said, "It's true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance?" When Carter attacked Reagan in the debate, Reagan just said, "There you go again."

Are you defensive about your fees or anything else?

3. Be Prepared
Though so popular at the time that his re-election was all but assured, Reagan did poorly in his first debate with Walter Mondale in 1984. Suddenly, there was the question of the "age issue." Was Reagan, at 73 years old, simply too old to be President?

Predictably, at the second debate, Reagan was asked about the age issue. He then delivered the knockout punch: "I will not exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience."

Office Manager in a Box Scripting System

4. Wear a Velvet Glove
Common courtesy was so ingrained in this nice man that even in the grips of Alzheimer's disease, when he had essentially stopped speaking, he would still say when he accidentally bumped the arm of a nurse feeding him, "Oh, I beg your pardon." Are we as unfailingly gracious to our employees and co-workers?

And underneath your velvet glove...

5. Have an Iron Fist
When the Air Traffic Controllers threatened to strike illegally in 1981, Reagan gave them an ultimatum, even though he had no trained replacements and millions of lives were at risk. The controllers were shocked when Reagan carried out the ultimatum. Everyone knew after that, at home and abroad, that Reagan meant what he said. Everybody knew he meant business. Do you stand steadfast against threats and intimidation?

6. Don't Criticize Other Dentists
Ronald Reagan admonished his fellow Republicans of an "Eleventh Commandment:" "Thou shall not speak ill of another Republican." Let's not speak ill of our fellow dentists!

7. Trust, But Verify
Ronald Reagan liked to quote an old Russian saying to his Soviet counterpart, Mikhail Gorbachev: "Doveryay, no proveryay" or "Trust, but verify." Reagan explained in his last speech as President on foreign policy that "trust, but verify" means "keeping our military strong. It means remembering no treaty is better than a bad treaty." Trust without accountability is really blind faith. Does your office have a culture of accountability?

Trust, But Verify

8. Explore New Techniques
After the Challenger disaster in 1986 in which 7 astronauts including schoolteacher Christa McAulliffe were killed, Reagan said in a televised address, "And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave."

9. Don't Be Needy
Reagan may be the only President who didn't miss the job afterwards. Reagan enjoyed being President, and he'd have enjoyed himself if he had never been elected President. He didn't need it because he was comfortable with himself, which made others comfortable around him.

When patients sense you need them more than they need you, it's the kiss of death for a practice. People are attracted to success. When you don't need the patients, you can't get rid of them. They'll do whatever you say. Sometimes we can take ourselves or take our work too seriously

What Successful Practices Do

10. Confront Problems
When the Berlin Wall was constructed, no American President said a word. After all, speaking up might offend or provoke the Soviets. Every President before Reagan spoke of "détente" and "mutual cooperation" with the Soviets. Reagan was the first President to call the totalitarian Soviet Union with its brutal Gulag "evil."

Reagan said at the Brandenburg gate in 1987: "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Reagan's Chief of Staff Howard Baker before the speech advised removing these lines, thinking that all this stuff about tearing down the wall was so unrealistic as to be "unpresidential." Today, there is no more Berlin Wall, no more Soviet Union, and no more Gulag.

What or whom are you afraid to confront in your practice? You'll be glad you did.

Create a Culture of Accountability

Coming Next Month
Next month, little known new products that make your life much easier.

In the meantime, please, don't keep this newsletter a secret. Pass it on. Look below and you'll see a "Forward email" link. Try it. It's quick, it's easy, and your friends will thank you.

God Bless America, the shining city on the hill.

Pat, Lorraine, and Ginny

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