Team Building & Development with Dr. Amy Copeland

In this conversation, Dr. Amy Copeland from Copeland Family Dental discusses the importance of team building and development in a dental practice. She shares how she started implementing team building activities and the positive impact it has had on her practice. Dr. Copeland also talks about using personality tests to improve team communication and understanding. She highlights the value of ongoing education and learning with the team. Overall, the conversation emphasizes the significance of creating a high-performing dental team through continuous training and support.


  1. Team building and development are crucial for creating a high-performing dental team
  2. Personality tests can improve team communication and understanding
  3. Timing and triggers for team building activities should be based on the energy and needs of the office
  4. Ongoing education and learning with the team are essential for growth and development

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Full transcript provided by Riverside AI

Dayna Johnson (00:04.622)
Hey there, I’m Dayna Johnson, dental practice management expert, certified Dentrix trainer and founder of Novonee, revolutionizing the dental industry through innovation and strategic leadership. It wasn’t long ago that I lived in your shoes, navigating the daily challenges of managing a dental practice with the hopes and dreams of having a productive schedule, money in the bank.

and getting home on time to my sweet daughter. After 25 years working in the dental practice and 17 years as a certified Dentrix trainer, I found my life’s work helping dental teams one-on-one optimizing their systems and software. If you are looking to create the thriving dental practice you have always dreamed of and empower your high performing dental team, you are in the right place.

Let’s get started.

Dayna Johnson (01:11.022)
of the high performing dental team and we are podcasting live from the Rocky Mountain Dental Convention in Denver, Colorado. And I have a very special guest for you all today. One of my favorite offices that I love, love, love working with, Dr. Amy Copeland from Copeland Family Dental here in Colorado. And we’ve been working together for…

Many years. So many, many years. I’m so happy you said yes to be a guest on my podcast. So thank you for being here. Say no. You’ve done so much for us. Like I told you, I couldn’t say no, even though I’ve never done this before. Then I had no clue what it’d be like. Yeah. Yeah. And I said, it’s just going to be a conversation. Like the two of us talking about your practice. Right. Because what I love about your practice is the fact that you really, what’s important to you is continually

getting your team training, team development, team building, and you are one of those rear offices that really, that is like a stress, you stress that in your practice. I mean, it’s an important thing about the structure of your practice, and it really shows in your practice results and how your patients perceive you. So tell me a little bit about where did that come from? How did you start doing team building and team building?

team development activities in your practice? Well, I think I’ve known I’ve always wanted to do that, but I work with this spouse who’s definitely kind of not that same kind of person. So the first few years of working together, we’ve really did do a lot of fun activities with staff for training or learning, because that’s really not his style. But I’ve learned that with a lot of females in the rooms, you know, and a lot of wanting to get to know each other better on a different level that it made us better as a team.

And then we definitely listen to what staff you know are asking us to do okay wanting to do so that’s a lot of the ideas I think we’ve gotten I know one of things we’ve done recently They came from you being in her office kind of talking about personalities and temperaments and all these things and so our staff saying yeah We’ve always wanted to do one of those who we get to know everyone’s color better. Oh, yeah. Yeah, so we did that recently we did Which one this you heard that? What’s um which personality or you know?
Style test did you do in your office? Yeah, so it’s it’s and it’s called I said this you heard that I mean your temperament Okay, so the personality since personality changes and your temperaments were your core self But it’s similar to all the other ones with all the you know colors, but we learned a lot We definitely put up little posters of everyone’s name and their color so it’s in our break room So you can sometimes remember that’s why someone might you know acts or say the things we say or do okay? So

Has it helped with team communication, would you say? I think so. I think we respect each other a little bit more when they’re not your same color. You understand that a little better?

We are also great with patients as well, because sometimes you can kind of tell another teammate what kind of patient they might be dealing with, that this more, you know, yellow, they’re really bubbly and lots of fun and they want to be here to have fun. Okay. Versus I have a patient that maybe more blue, they need to be, they know what details they want. Okay. And a little cool information about what that crown is made out of. Got it. Okay. It’s been good. It’s probably helped you a lot with maybe treatment planning and maybe closing more cases.

because you’ve helped to identify patient, their color, so that you talk to them maybe a little bit differently with treatment planning. Yeah, I think we’ll start learning, right? We’ll learn how to use it, but I think it can help us. I think our staff has even said it’s helped even in their marriages and their relationships. Oh, that’s fantastic. Since the office, which is… Well, you know, and every time I go into a practice, it’s like going into a big family. I mean, everybody is just like, you’re like one big happy family. I just…

We fight. We do. We’re a family. We’re frustrated with each other, but over the end of the day. But I would say over the years that’s changed because I think for the first maybe eight years of the practice, we were a really tight family. But these last few years, like all of dentistry, we are having some changes in staff. And so we’ve had to embrace that and try to figure it out. And I think even though you might fight, you still respect each other and you make up and then you see each other’s point of view.

Yeah, and doing that activity is probably helped to see the other person’s point of view. Yeah. Yeah, I’m excited to do some more I know we’ve been looking at doing a crew moved by cheese. Oh, oh, yes, that’s a good one. Yes, we’ve done energy. Yes, I wanted to talk about energy bus because I remember when I came into your office probably a couple years ago, I guess and before I got there you had worse already starting it like you had done a full hour so presentation.

The thrower I got there and you told me about the book and so tell us tell me more about About how you did that? How long did it take you your team to go through that whole exercise? The first thing we did I think is what you’re mentioning is I just kind of went through this funny Pertude of energy bus and kind of explained the book I just read so our staff had not really read it yet, but I thought it was

helpful to kind of talk about just every day trying to bring the energy and build up other people and don’t be an energy vampire. Oh yeah. Yes. And so but then that’s even evolved as we’ve had a new group of stuff. We actually did it a second time where I just bought some of the book store energy bus books and gave them out to stat. They had the chance to, you know, read them. And then we went over it again. I think kind of following through, it’s helped a lot. And we use it every day and saying either maybe

Maybe a patient should maybe at another bus stop or maybe they should be on another bus route or maybe okay right bus for them. I love that. So just a nice polite way to kind of tell your teammate that maybe this isn’t you know a smooth sailing bus rider. And so the book did you read the book altogether and then at team meetings like talk about chapters? How did you go about that? We did not do it this way for

energy bus we kind of did a little bit for I said this you’ve heard that we watched little videos each team meeting like each month okay and there’s some worksheets that I did with parts of our staff energy bus we’ve just done more of like here’s the book you can read it’s really short too so okay it’s an easy rain it’s a very easy and a lot of people do not audible just listen for weather in the car that kind of thing okay great and then how

often do you think that you like what kind of triggers you to do a new team building activity? Does something like happen in the office? Do you have a new team turnover and you think okay this is a great time for us to embark on a new activity or do you feel just the energy in the office change? Yeah I think it’s based on the energy of the office. It’s based on you know what staff is telling us they want to be you know trying out or doing.

I think sometimes it’s logistics and time too.

You know, we look at their year, right? And we know that we have time to do extra training in September. Okay, that’s kind of what we set aside. So I usually try to plan something to coincide with September. Okay, is that usually a slower time in your practice? Everyone calls it September. I don’t think it is. I had heard that early on. Oh, just to kind of started annually blocking off sometime in September. I’ve been working really good. So we haven’t changed that. Great. Yeah, if it’s working, don’t change it for sure.

Right. Yeah, because then you have September for that and then dental convention. Yeah, being here in January is good. Convention time. Yeah. Yeah. So since we’re at the convention, tell us a little bit about what you have learned here at the convention so far. Yeah, I had a great morning learning about insurance and coding. I think as, you know, a dentist, sometimes we leave that up to some great people at the front desk and just expect them to know everything. But I know I don’t know everything and it’s going to be my journey this year to learn more. OK.

So I did a class with Teresa Duncan and loved seeing someone like that who’s well versed on the subject. Yes, she is the expert. Yes. Yeah, she’s been on our podcast a couple times and she is always the one that we talk about refer to for insurance coding. She was the expert in that area for sure. Good. And then, yeah, Kathy from your office was in my course this morning. So that was really exciting to have a friendly, familiar face in my course.

Right. Yeah. Yeah, I think Cathy and I would you’ve really helped us to be able to work together, you know, because I think there’s new ideas that I want to share with Cathy, but I don’t always understand fully understand those ideas. And so you have been the link for years of trying to say, hey, I heard about this that offices are doing, but I don’t really know how it works. Captain has been in dentistry for over 35 years. Such a good base. It’s nice to be able to have you help us move forward and do do things. Yeah. Yeah. And I also think now this is really

important because you’re one of the doctors who was very engaged also in the learning. Like you really are boots on the ground learning with your team. Like you are in the trenches with them all the time and I love that about you. And so if you were to speak to other doctors that might be listening, how important is it for you to also learn with their team and be in the trenches with them at all times? I think I’d be unique, you know.

I’m platformed to do that because I have a husband in dentistry so I don’t have to run the entire practice. So I think I can have that other part of my time in the practice would be boots on the ground. Yeah, you know, analyzing instruments, right? Occasionally picking up the phone for sure. You know, early working on, you know, patient care and hygiene and not just in drill and fill because I do lots and lots of our hygiene. I know that I’m doing dentistry a little bit different than some other providers.

but it works for our practice. Yeah, but I also feel like your team really respects you getting in there with them. Like, you’re side by side with them all the time. And I really, that’s one reason why I really wanted to interview you is because you’re side by side with them, learning with them, growing with them. And I think they really respect that. You know, I haven’t always totally felt their respect. I would say lately, a few of our hygienists just during the day will come up and say, thank you so much for seeing that.

I’m the one that saw them last time and I really wanted them to get more information in depth and I really wanted to make sure they were on the right bus. Yeah, that’s good. And so I have loved our hygienists right now really thanking me for for being in their shoes and helping them out to make sure we’re all headed the right direction give the patient the best care. So I’m really lucky that our hygienists have been you know, yeah that help that support. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I mean and being in that I haven’t been in a practice for now for the

Oh my gosh over 10 years and and that’s come visit any time. I know that’s one thing that is anything that I kind of miss is the camaraderie and the you know Being and being with the team. I haven’t I haven’t been in the office. So that’s why I’m not being around all of you and Going into your practices and seeing what you’re doing to grow the culture of your practice and and really that team development is so important here I always think to myself when you say you were

doing a good job, I always think of, oh gosh, there’s so much more we could do. Yeah. Right? And there’s, oh my gosh, we’re not doing what some other people are doing. Or we’re not, or I see potential. But I’ve learned in the color scheme of temperaments that my temperament is to constantly be trying to improve things. And I did learn that that is just how my brain works. I want to constantly be moving forward, which I know could be hard with people around me because sometimes it is kind of nice to keep doing. We’re like, take it down a notch, Dr. Amy. Take it down a notch. For sure.

Yeah, no, I think it’s great. I think we need that type of person in our practice. It doesn’t always have to be the doctor. It could be the office manager, or it could be a dental assistant who could engage in these team building activities. And I think it’s really important to continually grow the development of your employees. It’s so important. I think I always hope that if they did have to take another job, maybe they move or something,

something like that, that they can bring something that they’ve learned from us, you know, whether it’s, you know, the checklist that I use a lot, lots and lots of checklists, or maybe some of our templates, or some of our write -ups, or you know, whatever it could be. Yeah, I want them to feel like we were helpful in their journey in dentistry. Well, and I think that’s important, and I’m going to kind of add on to that because I don’t know if you listened in to the webinar I did the other day for our members,

It was called He Can Do Hard Things. So one of the things that I learned with like studying for this webinar was that for millennials and our Gen Z team members, okay, the number two thing that they look for when they are going to stay at a practice is team development and training. That’s what we’re hearing. That’s what we’re learning. I mean, feel kind of old, right, sometimes compared to them, but.

We’re trying to be like, okay, more outings, more opportunities. Yeah, just opportunities for both. Yeah. And I think the Dental Convention is great, but I think looking back over the years, I think we grow the most as a team when we do some kind of education together. So then as we’re going through the next few weeks after that, we can be like, we just learned that. Let’s make sure we’re using it. Yes. Or, you know, kind of at a monthly meeting, say, okay, are we doing what we said we were going to do?

So those kind of things are really, really important. Exactly. Some people like, you know, convention kind of stuff. I feel like our younger people like all of this. Lots of dinner. We stayed overnight. We did a lot of that fun, which is great. But I think we do learn a lot when we do kind of a house as a guru and then learn one subject. Yeah, yeah, I do like that. Being in the office, because then you can implement it right away. You know, OK, let’s let’s start implementing that right away. OK, we have paper.

as this afternoon, you know, how can we start to identify their color like you? Right. Yes. On the spot. Does she use a brain then? Exactly. Yes. Good. Well, this has been so nice talking with you. I love that you have been a guest on my podcast. So if you wanted to maybe share any other last words or any other words of wisdom from your experience as a team developer at your practice. That’s a tough one. I don’t know.

I think I’m gonna be a little humbled to even be asked to be on here, so thank you for that. I think it’s kind of funny being at the Dental Convention all these years, I guess, because at first, you know, walking, you don’t really know anybody. Now, 12 years later, being here, I guess I feel like I know a lot of people. Did you know that your team made it on the cover of the RMDC website? Maybe that’s why we’re finally doing it. Finally, if they’re all these years, I’m helping it. I have another friend that’s speaking at this Dental Convention.

Brenner. Oh yeah. And I’ve known her since dental school and she was going to say something about me and her lecture. I you mentioned kind of something about us in your lecture. Yes. Wow guys like we’re making it. You do. You do so many good things and and practices like yours. You know you’re what we want to talk about because we want to help the world all of our other practices. You know what as a speaker as a coach trainer you know I want my

practices to grow and learn and develop their team members. You’ve definitely done that for us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can think of so many, even so many big and small things that have helped us along the way and I know we would not be where we are today without your help. Thank you. I appreciate it. Yes, yes. We’ll call and text you and ask questions. You probably help me out, Speed Dial. No, I love it. So Dr. Amy,

loves to write long emails. So she’ll always start her emails off with, okay, this is going to be a long one. And then so I know that if I need to have like maybe at least 20 or 30 minutes to read through it. Yes, but it’s also so much detail. And I love it because then she gives me exactly what’s going on. When you walk in, or we just hit the exactly right. I know. Yes, exactly. You’re very thorough. I love that about you.

Oh, thank you so much. Yes. And I will let you let you know when our podcast is live and it will be out on the air. Yeah. Yeah. And any of any patients that might be looking for a dental practice in that Littleton Highlands Ranch area of Colorado, this is the place to go. Copeland Family Dental is one of my favorite places to visit and train and teach and visit with the team. So anytime I’m down in your area.

I’ll stop in and say hi. Sounds good. Thank you Dr. Amy and for everyone out there, I look forward to watching your journey of becoming a High Performing Dental Team.

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