Your Winning Practice Playbook: Part 5 – The Quarterback Doctor

Omaha, Omaha, Hike!

Now, we finally arrive to talk specifically about you.  The Doctor.  We know no dollar of dentistry can be done, collected, or even exist without it first being diagnosed.  Therefore, my friend and esteemed doctor, it all begins with you. 

I’ve called you the Quarterback for nearly two decades and we’ll eventually get to the business side of dentistry and your role as Offensive Coordinator but today we are dedicating this part of the Playbook to you scoring points on a daily basis.

Let’s break it down from each of our Pillars of Offense.  As you do this, don’t ask yourself if you are or aren’t doing any of these plays.  Because you are here reading this right now, you are most assuredly doing them.  The question is at what level of consistency and execution.

Your goal is to put yourself behind center, analyze the defense, and identify where opportunities exist to utilize the four principles to score points.


Though we rely heavily on this being tied to the Value-Based Scheduling or to the Morning Huddle, it’s so much more than that.  As the Quarterback, you see things others just can’t.  You hope that is the case because that’s why you are the one in charge.

Having a clear mind in the morning huddle is critical for you to visualize, not only the day for yourself, but also to identify point scoring (patient helping) opportunities for your entire team.

It’s easy to default to the team and yes, they all have a role but the doctor, the quarterback, has the most ability to create (which we’ll get to in a moment) because you can see the entire field.  

The other side of being Future Focused that I want to hit on because I could talk about so many, is diagnosing.  Growth in your practice and leverage in dentistry comes from diagnosing not what is obvious but what can’t be seen.  It is your move from problem-driven to possibility-based dentistry.

By being future focused in your diagnosis, I call that helping the patient look into the crystal ball, you can build a bridge from the current state to optimal health.

Again, you know this but in the heat of the battle, in the middle of the play how well are you being future focused in your diagnosis versus just future focused with your mind moving to the next patient and next room.

And that’s where these two tie together, proper future focused with your schedule each day at the beginning will make more time for future focused in diagnosing throughout the day.

Finally, you want to see ahead and engineer your life calendar both from a collection and production standpoint as well as your approach to lifestyle and everything in between.  We’ll be covering that in the Lifestyle section of your Playbook in the coming weeks.

The bottom line is no doctor should ever be disappointed by a “bad month” because the future is really quite predictable based on the current indicators (whether that is clinical days or time out of the office or new patients or diagnostic opportunity), it is just a matter of whether or not someone chooses to be future focused about it.

Of course, nothing allows for more control over the future than a mindset of creation.


For a Doctor, specifically, this goes to enhancing your personal skills in addition to your clinical skills to truly and completely commit to bringing your health philosophy to life with every patient.

To be very simplistic about it, how well are you…

Treating every patient like a new patient.

Showing every patient the big picture about how dentistry impacts their overall life.

Reverse engineering a patient’s health from optimal and state of ideal backwards to where they are today.

Not leaving questions unasked or opportunities unspoken.

Reviewing the patient photographs and x-rays in a thorough manner.

Treatment planning comprehensive and completely.

There are always ways you personally can be more creation minded with your patient engagement.  Often, the team blames the doctor for being in a hurry and the doctor blames the team for not being prepared enough or doing the heavy lifting.  It’s everyone’s fault and everyone’s responsibility.

I am going to cover “defense” in an upcoming Report but I do want to make a very big bold dramatic and important statement right here and right now…

As the quarterback, your Creation Mindset is as much what you are doing as what you are not doing, what you are saying and what you are not saying.

You can be doing the opposite of creation by bringing up insurance or by using language to diminish your own diagnosis or devaluing the importance of the treatment recommendations.

You can be working in the opposite direction by being distracted or by being worried about time or consumed with all the reasons why someone won’t accept.  You lose your vision and creation dissipates from your mind when you are not present and focused solely on the opportunity at head.

Which leads me to that very thing…


For a doctor and a quarterback, it is more than just reading the defense or calling an audible or throwing the ball down field.  It is all of that and more but it is also doing what is necessary to construct proper cases, to build the vision of the mouth in the patient’s mind, and solidify the importance of your treatment plans.

In order to make something happen first you have to be aware of the opportunities that exist and you have to be willing to take the lead on what might be considered elective or supplemental or optional treatment though we don’t use those type of words to describe it and instead focus on preventative, optimal, proactive, and ideal.

By definition, a playmaker gets that extra yard to make sure things don’t get missed and opportunities get captured.  You should do it with triangles of trust and you can also do it with delegation or with new checklists or screening protocols or diagnostic strategies and in many other ways.

Being aware of opportunities clinically might come from knowing when you are off on your perio protocols or you are under diagnosing crowns (also known as over diagnosing fillings or not looking at the full arch and occlusion of a patient), as well as the cosmetic implications of the work you are doing.

Opportunities might come from family referrals or ortho or just a moment to express your appreciation for a patient and celebrate their progress.

Being aware is having that presence of mind to be everywhere all at once but also in only one spot with one patient at a time.

You have that ability, the question is are you tapping into it.  And by the way, it goes without mentioning but there is an element of planting seeds for the future and cultivating opportunity where you are thinking ahead (future focused), you are making things happen (creation minded), you are seeing everything through the lens of what’s possible for ways to help patients (opportunity awareness), and you bring it all together to compound.

This fine line and balance is executed through the next principle and that is being Proactive because much like a sport and to keep the analogies going we can’t rely on the next game to win.  We have to make the most of today and while you have a little bit of loyalty and a relationship to bank on with your patients, you simply don’t want to always be thinking you’ll get another chance.


As a Doctor, this hits on every single level.  With your team members, being proactive with your leadership, with your training, with your expectations, with your feedback.

Culture is ruined and momentum disrupted when anything is reactively addressed instead of staying ahead of it.  In meetings, in reviews and progress checks, in end of day debriefs.  Issues build up and compounds, creating a mountain out of a molehill.  It now takes a longer to recover and get back to even.

The next level of being Proactive is with your patient conversations, your treatment planning, and your overall approach to diagnosing.

I’m never one to tell you what to diagnose let alone what to do, I simply stand by my belief that no one wants a reactive doctor who waits for problems to get worse, have more disease to address, and solutions that are more costly and difficult.

This is why we don’t apologize for recommending health-based solutions to patients.  We celebrate the opportunity to help people proactively and we know there is no such thing as doing a good thing ‘too soon.’  

Be proactive with your patients, they will love you for it and you will end up being seen as a much more conservative dentist than one who is always fixing things that have become emergencies.

To finish, you can apply this Pro-Action principle to everything including treatment planning on a schedule not just when you get around to it, bundling more dentistry into fewer visits, raising your fees, taking care of your health, and Lifestyle making decisions.  We’ll elaborate on this when we go to Business and Ownership Offense.

There is so much to unpack here, specifically about you and your own playmaking ability inside of your practice.  If you rewind through your day and “watch the game film,” you’ll see where you missed opportunities or where you might take shortcuts.

There’s a great saying about stay humble and stay hungry.  Just remember the quarterback always runs off the field with the credit of victory or blame of defeat.

If you embrace what I’m laying out here and become the master playmaker that you are, then you will be amazed at how much more in control of your days you become and how often you go home with the win.

Having just watched Peyton Manning’s Hall of Fame Induction Speech (worth reviewing), there’s certainly no place a quarterback would rather be than on the field, behind the center, making plays, and scoring points. 

You are a Champion, now just execute the playbook with every patient every day and see how many points you can score.

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