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Authors : Dr. Howard Farran .

Your office manager should get a fellowship in the American Association of Dental Office Managers—end of story.

I'm on the Dentaltown.com message boards all day where I see posts that prove this, and I also get messages weekly from people telling me how that fellowship changed their practice. The dental offices that are exploding with success are the offices that sent their office manager to get a fellowship at the American Association of Dental Office Managers (AADOM). I'm sure you've heard of it.

Once office managers become fellows at AADOM, they receive their "FAADOM" status. If an office manager has been through this training, this person is going to have a better chance at hiring the right staff, training the staff well, building and maintaining a strong team, and knowing how to best manage financial reporting and accounts receivable, etc. Do you want to handle every part of that? Of course you don't. You want your office manager to lead the way.

All dentists need their office managers to be great.

Not just good.


Doc, you're wearing too many hats. You're busy trying to learn endo and make clinical decisions. Because there are only 168 hours in a week and you need to sleep 56 of them, and you have to work at least 40 of them, you don't have time to figure out what patient activator system is best, or to determine whether your staff is on the right kind of software for running a certain report. You need an office manager who knows all that you need to be able to trust this person.

When I learn about a dental office that has its best year ever, or the best two years in a row, or best three years ever, it's because the office manager got motivated and went to AADOM and now she has her team of 10 or 15 people up to speed on best practices, best software, best patient letters, best everything. Now the dentist can focus on dentistry while the office manager whips the office into shape and keeps it that way. Go to LinkedIn and you'll see that the office managers who have profiles on that site and who are the cream of the crop got their FAADOM.

Some titles in life matter and some don't. The credentials you went after matter. I have an FAGD, and so do thousands of other dentists. I got my MAGD, and so did thousands of other dentists. Both of these credentials were game changers and that's why we pursued them. Some of the best and most well-known speakers out there took off when they got their fellowship from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, for instance. Consider Bill Dickerson, David Hornbrook, and Joyce Bassett (the first female president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry)—when they continued their education, they went to the next level.

Maybe you don't want to be a speaker, but credentials can take your career to the next level and your office to the next level. The process can help you up your game as you aim at something higher. That's the kind of office manager you want. If this person improves his or her education and wants something better, this is the same type of person who will want something better for your office too. You don't want an office manager who is stagnant.

Humans need deodorant and toothpaste and motivation daily. Life is hard, but when you get someone who is motivated daily and who has a long-term goal and says, "I want to go to a convention at FAADOM and walk down that aisle and wear that gown and be one of those fellows," that is an office manager who is fired up.

He or she is talking to people and figuring out all the best choices for every part of your office. When you have a buggy being pulled by a totally motived manager who networks with her FAADOM friends, you're just going to sit back and enjoy the ride.

I strongly suggest you support your office manager in his or her quest to get a FAADOM certification. Say, "I care about your goals and I'm going to pay for your membership dues. If you want this, we're going to make it happen."

Maybe you'll have to nudge a tiny bit, just like with your kids. Did they all want to go to college, or join the extracurricular stuff after school, or get tutoring after the bell rang? No. You probably had to push them to do it and encourage them. Do that for your office manager. The return on investment could be through the flipping roof.

Source: http://www.dentaltown.com//Dentaltown/Article.aspx?i=405&aid=5682

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