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8 Advantages to Numbers

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8 Advantages to Numbers

Episode #557 with Heather Crockett & Courtney Dalton

Numbers can be awkward and uncomfortable, but you need to talk about them with your team. There are many advantages to doing it, and Kirk Behrendt brings back two amazing ACT coaches, Heather Crockett and Courtney Dalton, to highlight eight of them that you need to know. If you want results, it starts with numbers! To learn the benefits of knowing, tracking, and reporting on your numbers, listen to Episode 557 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

  • Heather’s email: heather@actdental.com 
  • Heather’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heather.r.crockett 
  • Heather’s social media: @actdental 
  • Courtney’s email: courtney@actdental.com 
  • Courtney’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/courtney.dalton.739 
  • Courtney’s social media: @courtney.hannig 
  • Subscribe to the Best Practices Show Podcast 
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Links Mentioned in This Episode:

ACT’s Capacity Tracker: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MdN96fVhau8tcP10kW2_cU-Tv91K8r7l/view?_hsmi=241651107&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-98AjmJ7LkC2HvkK9uuY8l577tbOQ_8dHgEv1V_RVjByeE1xTLRFEYlHJVqxNmOsEBjwFPH-Cjr7iCbb4p-dJiLdKWb7A

Traction by Gino Wickman: https://benbellabooks.com/shop/traction  

Episode 552 of The Best Practices Show with Miranda Beeson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBHDC4fOXHc

Main Takeaways:

Numbers produce results. 

Numbers create accountability. 

Numbers help create teamwork. 

Numbers eliminate the subjective. 

Numbers quickly lead to solutions. 

Numbers attract accountable people.

Numbers lead to healthy competition.

Numbers build clarity and commitment.


“It’s crazy important. Without numbers, we don’t have any data. And without that data, we can’t make any changes to what really matters to the practice and to our lives.” (2:42—2:51) -Heather

“[Talking about numbers] gets better over time, absolutely. But in the beginning, it can feel really icky and awkward. That’s why I’m saying it kind of feels worse in the beginning, because it does feel weird. It feels sticky because we may not have much experience with it. So, it feels kind of wonky. Do things get better? Yes — as long as we are talking about the numbers and putting some countermeasures in place to continue making them better so that we reach our goals.” (3:11—3:35) -Heather

“To answer the question, why do we struggle with tracking, if a team has never been asked to do that and then they’re asked, suddenly, they’re aware of the disconnect between what they didn’t know and what they now know. And usually, the first issue is, ‘Well, what do we do? What do we do, now that we know what we didn’t know before?’ It feels overwhelming. And to echo Heather, it’s super sticky because it’s unknown territory. So, now, we’ve pointed out where the disconnect is. And now, the next question is, where do we go from here?” (3:40—4:08) -Courtney

“Numbers cut through murky, subjective communication between manager and direct reports. It’s data. It’s not emotional. It’s not anything except what it is. It’s a number. It tells us if we’re on track or off track. Are we moving this way, or are we moving that way? It’s not, ‘I think you’re doing a bad job,’ it’s, ‘Well, this was the goal, and this is where we fell,’ whether it’s below or above. So, it’s not murky at all. It’s crystal clear.” (4:55—5:23) -Courtney

“There’s that time and effort, ‘We’re busy, we’re busy, we’re busy.’ We feel like we’re doing all the things. Well, what do we have to show for our effort? And that is results. So, we can be busy, or we can be focused and actually get some things done. That speaks to advantage number one in a huge way.” (6:47—7:04) -Heather

“[Accountability] requires accounting. We’re going to make sure that we have set clear expectations and clear goals. And the numbers that are in there, that’s what we’re using to keep track of that. And then, we can hold each other accountable to what we said we’re going to do.” (7:47—8:02) -Heather

“If you know what the goal is, and if you’re someone who’s responsible for bringing a certain set of those data points with you to your weekly team meeting — which, if you’re not having it, you should be — then you can’t ask someone to do anything. You have to know what that data point is or what the goal is and be accountable to it, to reporting on it, to understanding what it really means and how it benefits the practice, overall.” (8:06—8:30) -Courtney

“[Accountable people appreciating numbers] means that they understand what that number means and what it reflects on. These are also the people who are objective. They’re not subjective. They understand that the number is related to the process, and they appreciate what it means for the practice, overall. So, there are numbers people and there are non-numbers people. And that’s okay. But essentially, you still have to dig through all of it to really understand where that number came from and what the point of it really is. What are we tracking? Why are we tracking it? And now that we know, what do we do with it?” (9:40—10:16) -Courtney

“[Numbers] also light a fire. When you have the right person and they own a number, they really want that number to be in the green. They want to reach their goal every week because you have the right person on the right number.” (10:29—10:42) -Heather

“As soon as you start asking them — again, you don’t know what you don’t know. Now, we know all this information and it’s going to make some people feel a little bit uncomfortable. But once you know, and you have an appreciation and an understanding, now we can go somewhere. Now, we can really be open and vulnerable, and have a great discussion about how to get from A to B together.” (11:22—11:44) -Courtney

“The clarity piece, we need to have a number. And every team member, they don’t know what it is that we’re expecting of them. ‘You need to make sure that you have great capacity.’ Well, we need to have butts in the chair in order to produce what we need to produce. We’re a business. So, what does that look like? Back to what Courtney said, we need to understand why. If we understand why we’re tracking it and what the result is going to be when that number is in the green and we are hitting our goals, then we have that commitment and that layer of clarity because then I know, as a hygienist, why I’m tracking my capacity. And that piece alone helps me to take away some of that sticky awkwardness and uncomfortableness from it.” (11:57—12:44) -Heather

“It’s an E – R = C. If you’re not setting up their lane, ‘This is what’s expected of you. This is what I want you to know and to understand,’ if you don’t do that, conflict. And that’s where you’re back to sticky. You’re back to murky. You’re back to bad feelings. And it’s data. It’s not bad. It just tells us where we are.” (12:48—13:09) -Courtney

“If you’re the right person in the right seat, you’re seeing that goal or that number, you’re thinking, ‘I’m going to do one better next week. I’m going to do five better.’ So, if I’m a hygienist, I’m thinking, ‘I want to identify some opportunities to help my patients.’ And inherently, that’s going to increase my production per hour. And inherently, I’ve now crushed last week’s goal. So, for me, it goes back to right person, right seat. That person is going to adopt that number as their own, and see the value in it, and continue to be competitive — even with themselves — to get a better number, week after week.” (14:44—15:21) -Courtney

“If you have the right people, they’re going to care enough about that number. They’re going to get competitive. And like Courtney said, they’re going to try to one-up themselves to produce a great number for the practice.” (16:08—16:19) -Heather

“What gets measured get improved. But what gets measured and reported on exponentially improves. And I’d one-up it to say what gets measured gets monitored. What gets monitored gets attention. What gets attention gets action. And what gets action gets results. There are a couple of different layers that go into that. So, you have to report on that. So, yes, they produce results because, again, reiterating what we’ve already said, as long as we’re reporting on it, you have the right person reporting on that number, they care, so they’re competitive, and they’re going to one-up themselves. Of course that number is going to get you the results that you want.” (18:33—19:08) -Heather

“There’s a difference between just putting the number down and glossing over it, and recording your number and talking about it, truly reporting on it, measuring, understanding what you’re measuring, and then taking action on it. So, yes, numbers do produce results. And I love how Heather said there are a few extra steps in between there that are so equally important.” (19:15—19:39) -Courtney

“When you’re talking about these numbers, you’re having that collective discussion around countermeasures. So, maybe we didn’t hit the goal. What can we do? What are some ways that each of us can contribute towards next week towards greening the red? It’s not just a hygienist problem if they don’t hit their goal. It’s also scheduling. It’s also the doctor talking about treatment. It’s also language skills. It’s so much everyone in the practice that every issue bears everyone talking about it. It has to come from the entire team because it’s their collective thoughts that get the wheels in motion towards the solution, and not just one person saying, ‘This is what we should do.’” (21:23—22:11) -Courtney

“Back to the word, accountable, we’re holding each other accountable to these numbers too. It allows for us to say, ‘What can I do to help you?’ when it’s somebody’s number. And we may be unsure of how to get that number where it needs to be. But the other individual team member does know. They just need help from the team. So, it gives the space for us to ask for help and to ask if somebody needs help with something as well. So, I do think that it fosters that teamwork aspect hugely.” (22:18—22:48) -Heather

“When you’re in the red, your problem is right there. So, the “identify” is really easy. It makes it so much easier to talk about it when you know, ‘What is the problem?’ ‘Well, we’re not hitting this goal.’ Well, stop and, to Heather’s point, IDS (identify, discuss, solve) it. Let’s talk about why. And again, get the collective effort of your team to pour in their thoughts and opinions and facts and come up with a solution. So, you’re absolutely going to solve problems faster because the problems are right in front of you. If you’re tracking them every week, you know what the goal is. You know what’s above. You know what’s below. If it’s below, let’s talk about it. That’s the true problem that you want to attack that week. And with the attention of the team, you can do it really quickly. And if they’re the right people, you’re going to get there extra, extra speedy.” (25:48—26:43) -Courtney

“We need to start with the why. Why are we going to track numbers? If the team and the doctor understands and knows the why, then the how gets so much easier. And there won’t be as many questions that come up with that. So, I would say understand the why in the beginning. Before you bring it to your team, you have to have a why statement prepared.” (27:32—27:57) -Heather

“The team will not care if they don’t understand the why behind it. And if you give them a couple, at first — don’t hit them with 87. Just give them a few. They know the why, but they have to believe in the why. And then, you can expand. And then, you can give a little bit more. And then, just like Heather said in the beginning, now, it’s really taken off. And now, we’re achieving our goals, and we’re setting new ones, and we’re achieving those too.” (28:02—28:32) -Courtney

“It’s okay to admit to your team, ‘This is new to me too. I’ve never done this before. It’s going to be hard. It’s time to get a little bit uncomfortable.’ And that’s okay. It’s okay to say, as a leader, ‘I’m new to this too. Let’s grow into this together.’” (29:49—30:03) -Heather

“Just do it. If you want to be in a better spot, whatever “better” looks like to you, you have to start somewhere. Just jump in. This can be a little intimidating, but it’s going to show you how to get to where you want to go. And you have to be ready to embrace it and be really excited when you finally have your team that’s on board, tracking numbers, having conversations, and getting results. Just do it.” (30:08—30:38) -Courtney


0:00 Introduction.

1:36 Why dentists struggle with talking about numbers.

4:42 Advantage 1) Numbers eliminate the subjective.

7:37 Advantage 2) Numbers create accountability.

9:29 Advantage 3) Numbers attract accountable people.

11:45 Advantage 4) Numbers create clarity and commitment.

14:20 Advantage 5) Numbers create competition.

18:21 Advantage 6) Numbers produce results.

21:13 Advantage 7) Numbers create teamwork.

24:16 Advantage 8) Numbers help you solve problems faster.

26:56 Know your why and your core values.  

29:36 Last thoughts on the advantages of numbers.

Heather Crockett Bio:

Heather Crockett is a Lead Practice Coach who finds joy in not only improving practices but improving the lives of those she coaches as well. With over 20 years of combined experience in assisting, office management, and clinical dental hygiene, her awareness supports many aspects of the practice setting.

Heather received her dental hygiene degree from the Utah College of Dental Hygiene in 2008. Networking in the dental community comes easy to her, and she loves to connect with like-minded colleagues on social media. Heather enjoys both attending and presenting continuing education to expand her knowledge and learn from her friends and colleagues. She enjoys hanging out with her husband, three sons, and their dog, Moki, scrolling through social media, watching football, and traveling.

Courtney Dalton, BS, RDH Bio:

Courtney Dalton is a Lead Practice Coach who focuses on establishing a solid foundation in order for a practice to thrive. With over 15 years of experience in the dental industry, she is as passionate about patient care as she is about those who are providing it.

Courtney has an A.S. in Dental Hygiene from Manor College and a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from West Virginia University. Outside of coaching, she enjoys teaching group exercise classes and spending time with her husband, Dan, and children, Lola and Levi. 

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