Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fixer or Grower

Fixer or Grower

“YOU don’t have to spent time developing your people.
Treat them like Donkey’s;
They will act like Donkey’s!”

It seems as though the majority of dentists Level I and II are fixers.

In other words they are looking for people to FIX. The more people they can find to fix the better. From Peter Senge and systems thinking:

“When you are in a system you experience subsets of the system.
You literally become the system.”

It makes sense to me that people who are FIXING others want to be FIXED THEMSELVES.

Are we fixers because we are Men, who love to fix things and people?
Are we fixers because that’s all we know how to do?
Are we fixers because we don’t want to take the time to GROW/DEVELOP people?
Are we fixers because we don’t really care about people.

Level I dentists do remedial fixing.
Level II dentists are looking for bigger things to fix.

There are three prime reasons to select a COACHING/GROWING model versus a FIXING MODEL.

1. You want to increase quality
2. You want people to learn.
3. You want people to increase performance.

There may be many more reasons, but these are the 3 primary reasons.

To increase Performance two things are necessary:

You must increase AWARENESS. Good coaches always point out the GAP between the current level of Performance and the desired level of Performance.

To increase Performance an individual must take RESPONSIBILITY for their own actions, their own behavior, their own improvement.

One the main difficulties (obstacles to be overcome) is that we use a Level III or coaching model, and our prospects and clients use a FIXING model.

Isn’t it true that most people who come to seminars and even when they become clients want to be FIXED YESTERDAY and want results TOMORROW.

If you are a GROWER versus a FIXER your entire NEW PATIENT PROCESS is different, totally different because it has a different intention.

WOW is this important? WOW!!

Please remember these thoughts.

You don’t have to have a relationship (be in a coaching model) to fix people and treat disease.

But you do have to have a relationship to help people become healthy (coach people to a higher level of health)

The Medical Model is a FIXING MODEL.

I’m not sure if we can call it TRANSFORMATION but it certainly is life changing when you move from a FIXING MODEL into COACHING MODEL.

Since the majority are into TRANSACTIONS and FIXING people, the majority are NOT INTO RELATIONSHIPS, not into COACHING and not into IMPROVING PERFORMANCE, QUALITY, AND this is why most, but not all consulting is transactional.

Give me a fish and I eat for today. Teach me a fish and I eat for a lifetime.

I hope this makes sense. If course there is more, a lot more, but this should help us understand why initially we have such great disconnect with so many dentists who we are trying to serve.

They have created and are trapped by their FIXING MODEL.

I like to grow people. I like to help people reach their God-given potential
I like my patients to become as healthy as they can become.

Yes, I do fix them, but the joy is in seeing people, learn, grow, develop, become more than they were before. This will always be a COACHING MODEL of LEARNING, never simply a transaction model. This is why I’ve said since the beginning we will NEVER SIMPLY TRAIN without COACHING, and you can’t really COACH someone who doesn’t want to LEARN.

You can try to FIX someone, and of course if they don’t ask to be FIXED, then MANIPULATE THEM. This IS the world we live in. I don’t like it, do you?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Keys to Professional Success and Happiness

The Keys to Professional Success and Happiness

The Principles---Practices---Performance---Profits of Successful Professional practices.

A CODE for a better, more fulfilling, rewarding, and profitable practice and life.

“Your aspirations are your possibilities”

A study of business school graduates (could have been professionals) tracked the careers of 1,500 people from 1960-1980. From the beginning, the graduates were grouped into two categories.

Category A consisted of people who said they wanted to make money first so that they could do what they really wanted to do later---after they had taken care of their financial concerns. Those in Category B pursued their true interests first, sure that money eventually would follow.

What percentage fell into each category? Of the 1,500 graduates in the survey, the money-now category A’s comprised 83%, or 1,245 people. Category B risk takers made up 17%, or 255 graduates.

After 20 years there were 101 millionaires in one group. One came form Group A, and 100 from group B.

The study’s author Srully Blotnick, concluded that ‘the overwhelming majority of people who have become Wealthy have become so thanks to work they found profoundly absorbing…Their ‘luck’ arose from the accidental dedication to something they loved doing.

“No heart has ever suffered when
it goes in search of its dreams.”

Where are you in relationship to following your dreams?

Dr. Michael Schuster

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Keys to Professinal Success and Happiness

The Keys to Professional Success and Happiness

The Principles---Practices---Performance---Profits of Successful Professional practices.

A CODE for a better, more fulfilling, rewarding, and profitable practice and life.

I trust that you will read, think about and apply these ideas with as much diligence and thought that I put into sharing these with you.

Is Professionalism Dead??

If you ever visit the Mayo Clinic in North Scottsdale, you’ll see banner written on the wall when you enter that suggests the time honored meaning of a True Professional:

“The only interest of the physician should be the
best interest of the patient.”
Charles Mayo

Wow!! Is this really true? Well if it really, really is, then why is all the talk and the rage that dentists respond to is “I need more new patients!”
I’m not for a moment suggesting the importance of new patients to any and every professional practice, but I am asking the question is that the primary focus of your practice? And if it is why is it?

What if…take a deep breath and think…what if (those of you who profess Judeo-Christian values)…what if, for just a day, for just a week, or maybe if you are so bold, a month…you turned your focus, you know the light, off yourself and your needs for making more money (isn’t that the goal of more new patients) and focused on doing the absolute best for each and every patient you served?

What would that look like? How would that feel? What do you think would happen? I’m not saying you would not be taking care of your costs, your overhead, practice and personal, but if you are a true professional, then I must remind you, that your actions and your goals speak louder than the words you speak. The same is true for me.
If your goal was to care for people…not in a religious sense but in a biologic sense, (read Stress without Distress by Hans Selye, MD.) if your prime goal was to do the best you could for every person you saw, for the sake of caring for people…I submit to you that your life and practice would change in a dimension that you never thought possible.

How do I know? Well, 33 years of working one-on-one with dentists of all shapes and sizes suggests again that success leaves clues. Those in pursuit of money never have enough, no matter how much they have. This group of ‘business men and women’, not ‘professional men and women’, are NOT HAPPY. They are NOT FULFILLED because you see, they can never be fulfilled. Fulfillment is a spiritual ‘quality of life thing’ not a material, how much money can I make and spend thing.

The marks of a professional are:

· Competence in a specialized body of knowledge and skill.
· An acknowledgement of specific duties and responsibilities toward the individuals it serves and toward society.
· The right to train, admit, discipline and dismiss its members for failure to sustain competence and observe the duties and responsibilities for the good of their patients or clients.

I ask you, is Professionalism dead in dentistry?

Love to have your response and thoughts, no matter what they are.

Dr. Michael Schuster
Schuster Center for Professional Development (My blog site where you will see this posted)

Pass this on to your friends and colleagues and ask them the same question.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Different Kind of School

A Different Kind of School

When I was a young dentist I was blessed to meet 4 people that changed my life. What I learned from these 4 people had nothing to do with dentistry directly, but it had everything to do with it.

I’d have to say that the most important and powerful thing I ever learned was how


Gaining control over money changed the rest of my life experience.

Later I created a place where dentists could learn to free themselves of money. I’d have to say that this is the most important thing that I’ve done with my life. It is a very simple idea but has an enormous capacity to FREE oneself and become the best human being and dentist you have the capacity to become. It also enables you to enjoy your life rather than be anxious, frustrated and distressed throughout your life.

It starts with a fundamental idea that we are TWO-NATURRED. We have a physical nature and we have a spiritual nature. If the physical (money, material acquisition) dominates your time and existence, then it crowds out the possibility of developing your spiritual nature.

You can’t give to money what it can’t give to you. If you give all your thoughts and energy to the making, accumulating of money, and what you think it will give you, then you will fail to gain what money can’ t give you: peace of mind, fulfillment, an anxiety free life, and only what a focus on developing your ‘higher nature’, the ‘spiritual aspect’ of your life can give to you .

If you live predominantly below the line (for money and material possessions) then you will always wonder why you don’t or can’t develop significant relationships; a wonderful relationship with you spouse, your children, the people you work with, significant friends and wonderful relationships with your patients and colleagues. Those who live below the line, never have enough, and even when they do accumulate money and material possessions, they always have the knowing feeling that it isn’t enough…because it isn’t.

The more you think and act in conflict with nature, the less peace, fulfillment and happiness are yours no matter how hard you try, how much money you make and how many things you own, no matter what you do, it will never be enough.

Let me explain:

· You are a slave to money if everything you do is for the sake of making money.
· You are a slave to money if every day you plan your day around making money.
· You are a slave to money if your predominant thought process surrounds the making, keeping and accumulating money.
· You are a slave to money if money drives all your decisions and choices.

Most people falsely believe that if they make enough money or have enough money that somehow they are FREE of money.
The exact opposite occurs in their lives. These people become slaves in the world that they have created in their minds. They are rarely happy unless they are pursuing more money and that is a temporary thing.

Another group is always afraid to spend money. They are money hoarders. They drive 30 year old cars and live in the cheapest surroundings, and are always looking for the best deals. Money drives all their choices. These people are also SLAVES TO MONEY.

Another large group (maybe the same people) work primarily for money. This group will do mindless, boring work that they don’t even want or like to do because of either the money or the benefits. These people are enslaved with ‘golden handcuffs.” I have a brother in law that went to work for John Deere when he was 18 and retired when he was 48 and he told me,

“I hated every day I went to work for 30 years.”

For 30 years he was a slave to money and the benefits of his job (which represent money)

My friend Jacob Needleman who wrote Money and the Meaning of Life suggests that much has been written about money; how to make it, invest it, save it, 401K’s, pension plans, etc and of course all of this is very, very important, but what is even more important is the RELATIONSHIP that you have with money.

In my world, consultants and management companies prey on the money dominated thinking of our culture. They teach dentists primarily to make produce more and more money and the vast majority of their clients become even GREATER SLAVES to MONEY. The old adage, I owe, I owe, so off to work I go seems to fit the majority.

They go from interest in making more money; to a predominate focus of producing more money; to becoming SLAVES to MONEY,to becoming ADDICTED TO MONEY. Another way of saying this is anything that you are a SLAVE TO is CONTROLLING YOU. This easily leads to DEPENDENCY which ultimately leads to an ADDICTION.

Money becomes the central driving activity of your life.
You are happy when you are making it, and you are anxious, irritable, frustrated, distressed and eventually depressed when you aren’t. This also explains why dentists often tell me that they want to be busy. They can no longer relax. They rarely feel peaceful unless they are busy making money.

It’s relatively easy to teach people to make more money. That’s a no brainer!! It’s simple but not as easy to teach people to keep more of what they make. Time catches up with all of us. Around the ages of 42-50, people start looking forward and realize that there is less light ahead in the tunnel than behind. This is the time when many, but certainly not all, begin to get serious about money. Getting serious about money means evaluating your relationship to money and how money may be controlling your life and practice.

Getting serious about money creates a different kind of thinking.

It requires a change in attitude about what money is and isn’t in your life. What it can or can’t do for you in your life. You may begin to realize that you ARE NOT FREE, and unless you think and act different with MONEY in your life you will never be FREE. But just because you have this awareness, doesn’t mean that you stop letting MONEY CONTROL YOU. In fact, you may become more pre-occupied with than you were before and become even more DEPENDENT on MONEY than you were before.

Why is all this important?

Why are there so many mediocre dentists? Why are there so many average dentists? What are there so few EXCEPTIONAL DENTISTS? Why are there so little EXCEPTIONAL ANYTHING in our culture today?

My response is that mediocre and average people in any walk of life are more driven by money than they are driven by becoming the best they can be to make some difference in the world. Becoming the best you can become for the sake of others is ABOVE THE LINE THINKING, not BELOW THE LINE THINKING. The more secular a person is or becomes the more they are driven by money.
There are five conditions to achieve EXCELLENCE in DENTISTRY. I should know. I had to go through the same process myself. I’ve been studying this since 1974 and working one-on-one with dentists since that time. I’m only going to cover one condition. If you don’t achieve the first, the rest don’t make any difference because they will never occur in your life anyway.

1ST Condition

You have to GET CONTROL OF MONEY so that you can get beyond it and MOVE UP. If you come to an understanding of what MONEY can do for you and what it can’t, then you will spend your life STUCK in the MONEY, SAFETY, SECURITY, SURVIVAL DOMAIN of LIFE and never move up to reach higher levels of your potential as a human being and a dentist.

You will:

· Do anything to stay as busy as you can be.
· You will do anything that makes you MORE MONEY
· You will compromise yourself, your values, even deliver mediocre or average dentistry to get more money.
· You will develop a practice that is production and money driven, not patient and quality of care driven.
· This isn’t about you, it’s about human nature.
· If you don’t learn how to fulfill your most powerful needs, and what money can and can’t do for you, you will continually be pulled down into your LOWER NATURE.
· I didn’t make these rules. These are the rules of nature.
· Understand these rules and learn how to apply them to your life and practice, and your whole world changes.
· Violate these rules of nature, and you will suffer anxiety, distress, frustration, anger, despair and eventually depression and burnout.

Remember, you are supposed to be living on a roll and growing.

The strongest pull of all human needs is SURVIVAL, then SECURITY and SAFETY. If any human being allows these needs to dominate their life, then you can be sure that MONEY, the making of it, the accumulation of it will dominate their thinking and behavior. In order to achieve SURVIVAL, SAFETY and SECURITY in your life, it is vital that you learn what can provide SURVIVAL, SAFETY and SECURITY for you and what can’t!

You have to become FREE of this survival thinking and behavior to MOVE UP beyond simply your LOWER NATURE or (your physical nature) will dominate your life and your practice.

Jacob Needleman is right. Money is important, there has never been a culture (like ours) where money play such a dominate role in our lives.

Become FREE of money doesn’t mean that money isn’t important. It simply means that you have put money in its rightful place, and that is not to dominate your life and practice.

In my small world, I watch dentists taking advanced technical training, filling the classes of the current technical gurus, and yet little or nothing of what they are learning is actually applied in their every day practices. WHY? Because whether they are in SURVIVAL or they ACT like they are in survival. Money dominates their life and their practice and their world.


Until any professional becomes FREE of money there is no way that the quality of CARE DELIVERED will match the SCIENCE that has been invented.

The purpose of MASTERING MONEY is so that you can get beyond it and it doesn’t MASTER YOU, YOUR LIFE and YOUR LIFE.

If you can Master money in your life, your life will be vastly different, better and you will reach more of your potential.
The tools and strategies that I have developed into a system enable any dentist to become a MASTER OVER MONEY.

One day you’ll understand the importance of all this. That will be the day when you are TRULY BEYOND MONEY. You will live and practice in a higher domain. A place where few go, but once in this place, it is a far different kind of human existence.
A balance between both natures occurs, and the spiritual aspect of our human nature becomes a far bigger and more important aspect of your human existence. You will begin to live with a higher order of human beings.

Wow, think on this. If I were you I’d copy it, share it with my spouse, best friends, accountant, financial planner but I’d first take it seriously in your own life.

This IS life changing stuff…it is transformational and I’m sorry to say, a very few really understand the importance of this message.

Dr. Michael Schuster

I alone am responsible for the content of this message.

I’d like to refer you to page 103-110 in Jacob Needleman’s landmark book, Money and the Meaning of Life. Rethinking what money is and isn’t in your life may be the most important transformational activity in your entire career.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


One can make an accurate diagnosis of the health or disease of any system, but if the orientation to fix the problems rather than create structures to create what you really, really want, I guarantee you that you will begin forward movement and then your gains will be reversed.

Consultant after consultant can diagnose problems, conflicts, issues, symptoms of an unhealthy system but the only proven way to obtain and sustain long term results is to install structures in order that the natural energy can flow towards its intended outcome or result.

I spoke with Barbara, a long term dental assistant and clinical coordinator yesterday and she gave me a startling insight into the power of the first two paragraphs:

“Consultants keep coming into our practice and telling us that we should be doing better and that our practice should be growing, but it’s like we don’t have a ladder to get there.

We need a contractor who will build us a ladder so we can climb up to where we want.”

What Barbara and every other thinking, reasoning person is begging for is a structure (ladder) to get to where they want.

What do St. Paul, Minnesota, St. Louis, Missouri and Dubuque, Iowa have in common? I grew up from age 7 to 21 in these cities. They all are on the Mississippi River, the largest and fastest flowing river in the United States. It is an amazing body of water. The river flows at different rates with the variance in seasons, which makes it obvious that in the spring season, with the snow melt and spring rains the river will have more water in it and it will naturally ‘follow its path of least resistance’ at a higher flow rate.

Dams are placed every so many miles on the upper Mississippi; structures that are designed to control and maintain the flow of water throughout the year. WHY? So the tugboats, which require a minimum of 20 depth, can navigate
the river to move millions of tons of oil, coal, and other commodities from one point to another on the river.

I often think of Virginia Satire, the famous family therapist, who was the genius who intuitively created Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It was Virginia that stated:

“All unhealthy family systems are unhealthy in dissimilar ways, but all healthy family systems are healthy in similar ways.”

This is a profound statement. There are similarities in healthy systems; they are similarly structured, with similar elements and structures but none are exactly the same.

Ms. Satire would never work with just one member of a family system. She believed that ever individual within any system could and would impact the behavior of the entire system.

You know this is true. One dysfunctional member of any family system or team can and will impact the behavior of the entire system. Why would this be any different in your business? One unhealthy person in your business can and will impact the behavior and thus the performance of your entire system.

So, people do have great impact on your personal life and your business life. But there are also other elements in your business structure. Yes, there are people.

· People either know what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why they do it, or they don’t.
· People either have systems and structures that determine and define whether their energy is utilized to achieve certain results or they don’t.
· People choose to function synergistically within the structure of your practice, or they don’t.
· People are either engaged and inspired to produce a certain outcome or they aren’t.
· Leaders provide the inspiration; management creates the structure so that the energy of people can and will produce consistent outcomes and growth.

Every business system, like a music composition, is composed of core elements. These elements are either structured to create movement in a positive direction or they are inhibiting the flow of energy. Some structures are designed to be immovable and stable, and others are designed to move.

Time is nothing but energy. You either use it effectively or you lose it. Time is not recoverable; once spent it is lost forever.
You either structure your time in effective and efficient ways or you don’t!

Money is energy. With the ‘wrong structure’ money is dissipated, lost with little or no return. In the Creative Process we control the flow of money rather than simply react to it. Accounting systems of any are reactive structures which always lead to the reaction to money.

Cash flow systems are management structures, like dams which control the flow of money, rather than reacting to it and wondering where it went at the end of the month, quarter or year.

A sound Marketing Structure identifies in advance those prospects, customers, clients or patients who are more likely to buy, and a sound marketing structure finds and attracts those prospects to you who want what you have to offer.

A sound Sales Structure (process) enables you to identify early those who will buy and those who won’t. A sound Sales Structure saves you enormous time and energy as you are working with people who want what you have to offer and it is far easier to work with them.

As sound Organizational Structure enables all the elements or components of the system to work together in a synergistic manner. A few, in a synergistic relationship, can produce far more with less effort than many working in structural conflict.

Purpose or Why is the reason your business exists. Sadly, but true, unhealthy businesses are those that focus on internal results, for themselves, rather than outside results, for the people or businesses they serve.

The power of purpose is massively misunderstood and underestimated. In 1973, General Motors started to die. The CEO made this statement:

“The purpose of General Motors is to make money for its
shareholders, not to make cars.”

General Motors has been losing money for more than three decades, practicing manipulative discount strategies yet continues to lose the war regarding ‘market share’ and ‘profit.’

It took a government bailout of $100B to rescue a company that couldn’t rescue itself. Now, with a purpose beyond itself, it may survive. Workers abused the company as well as executives, all in the name of getting as much from GM as they could.

“When you lose your WHY
You start to DIE”

Enter ENTROPY. All systems have a natural tendency to dissipate, become disorganized, return to randomness. The same is true for us human beings.

Organizations however, don’t have to die, they can RENEW themselves.

Renewal of any family system or business system always begins with revisiting the owners, values, beliefs, vision and PURPOSE.

PURPOSE is the starting point and ending point of everything. Without a worthwhile reason to exist, or live, people within organizations and the organization itself begins to die.

I didn’t invent this, I’m just a messenger.
This is Nature. This is Biology.

Like it or not PURPOSE is the prime element, the most powerful DRIVING FORCE of any person’s life or any business.

· You show me a person without a Clearly Defined Purpose and I’ll show you a person who isn’t going anywhere.
· You show me an organization (any kind) without a clearly defined Purpose and I’ll show you an organization that isn’t going anywhere.

Great people in all walks of life engage with and live their purpose. Victor Frankl, (Logotherapy) the famous Austrian Jewish Psychiatrist, proved that only those who had a bigger why, a bigger purpose beyond themselves, survived the Nazi Concentration Camps.

A person or organization with a GREATER PURPOSE can and will survive any setback, any turmoil and will find the energy to survive and thrive.

PURPOSE is NEVER about YOU, but it is in some way it is about

Making a difference in the lives or businesses of others.

· It is enhancing the quality of life of people in some important and meaningful way.
· It is enhancing the quality of life of any group of people whether organized for profit or not.

When any individual or organization, large or small loses it’s WHY…it starts to DIE!

Michael Schuster for
The Schuster Center