Total Team Training Launches With Two New Experts!
For the past 20 years, many dentists have recognized Tawana Coleman as the expert behind Arrowhead Dental Lab’s Total Team Training (TTT) seminar. During that time, Tawana led hundreds of seminars around the country and traveled extensively to provide in-office coaching to dental practices across North America and Europe. Tawana left an indelible mark on the dental industry, helped promote the principles of the Dr. Dick Barnes Group, and was a champion for the superior-quality products provided by Arrowhead.
When Tawana retired in July 2016, the practice management torch that she carried for many years was passed along to a new generation of Total Team trainers. Instead of just one face and voice behind the Total Team magic like there has always been, now there are two!
Glennine Varga will primarily conduct the seminars and Trish Jorgensen will manage the in-office classes and coachings. As they work together in this joint effort, this dynamic duo will take Total Team Training to the next level as they bring their own personalities, specialties, and expertise to the course and office coachings. The foundations that Tawana established for TTT will stay the same—but Total Team Training will be accessible to more dental offices in a variety of formats as this pair makes the course and coaching package their own.
To get a better idea of what these two professionals will bring to the table, Aesthetic Dentistry editors sat down with Glennine and Trish for two interviews. In this article, we’re happy to introduce them to you and share their qualifications, areas of expertise, passion for dentistry, and overall goals for the future of Total Team Training.
Meet Glennine Varga
Glennine Varga is passionate about helping dental practices improve—through using the Total Team Training techniques and by incorporating dental sleep medicine. Glennine started working in the dental industry in 1996. She began her career as a dental assistant at TMJ-Sleep Colorado (located in Pueblo, CO) for Dr. Jim Beck. Glennine is a believer in education, so she immediately started adding to her repertoire of skills by taking continuing education (CE) courses. “I was given the opportunity to attend some major classes immediately. And when I say ‘major,’ I mean classes like full mouth reconstruction,” Glennine said.
In March 2002, as the practice’s lead dental assistant, Glennine took the Total Team Training seminar with Tawana Coleman for the first time. “What I remember most about it was practicing the principles taught in the course over and over and over. I also remember that Tawana stressed how important the new patient interview is—the interview, getting specific information from the patient, doing the active listening, figuring out what’s driving the patient toward treatment, and so forth,” Glennine explained.
With consistent and constant repetition, Glennine soon became an expert at the new patient interview process in particular. She said, “In our office, I was the person doing the interview, establishing the relationship with the patient, and being the assistant who held the patient’s hand through everything.”
Glennine became very proficient at finding out exactly what the patients needed so that comprehensive dentistry could be presented and, ultimately, accepted. She explained, “During that time, we were averaging two full mouth cases a month, but sometimes we would be doing four cases a month.”
With an intense focus on aesthetic dentistry, and strictly following Tawana’s TTT structure, it didn’t take long for Dr. Beck’s dental office to become a highly profitable full mouth reconstruction practice. With that reputation also came many opportunities for the practice itself to offer continuing education. Glennine said, “Arrowhead was our go-to dental lab for all of our full mouth cases, and this gave my doctor a platform to speak and teach his peers.”
Beginning in fall 2002, Glennine also provided instruction at the lectures. “I was teaching the team on the clinical side and the interview process,” she explained. “We taught the structure that our office followed to other dental teams at seven hands-on courses, including five times at the Full Mouth Reconstruction Team Training and twice at the Functional Prosthetic Occlusion and Cosmetics Staff Program.”
Another responsibility that Glennine had at this time was all of the medical billing for the office. She worked primarily with DentalWriter™ software, and soon became so proficient with it that she was asked by Nierman Practice Management to work part-time for them while she continued her full-time dental assistant duties.
Then, apparently because her plate wasn’t full enough, she picked up another part-time job with BioRESEARCH Associates, Inc., a diagnostic dental equipment company. Of course, Glennine’s full-time job and two part-time jobs were capped off with speaking engagements at workshops and conferences, too! The early years of her career in Colorado were busy, but they established a solid foundation for Glennine’s career today. Because of those opportunities and experiences, Glennine is comfortable in the role of instructor and facilitator.
New Career Pathways
About ten years ago, Glennine decided to relocate to Las Vegas, NV, for personal reasons, and also to explore some new career opportunities by working full-time for DentalWriter™ and by traveling the country with some of the world’s top sleep apnea experts. Glennine said, “I got extremely interested in dental sleep medicine towards the end of my time in Colorado, and it became a passion of mine.”
Glennine is currently a Dental Sleep Medicine Coach for DSM Boot Camp, which provides coaching and team training for dental sleep medicine, and she regularly lectures alongside pros like Dr. Steve Carstensen and Dr. John Remmers at the Pankey Institute’s dental sleep medicine courses. In addition to Glennine’s lectures in the sleep dentistry circuit, she is also an active visiting faculty member of the American Dental Association (ADA), the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and the Spear Education group.
Over the years, Glennine has trained and assisted hundreds of dental offices throughout the country on practice management techniques, TMD and sleep apnea concepts, and effective medical billing procedures. With all of her public speaking and teaching experience, Glennine is the right woman for the job as the lecturing half of Arrowhead’s Total Team Training duo.
As mentioned earlier, Glennine is a huge believer in CE. She has participated in thousands of hours of CE credits over the years, and has been involved in dozens of in-office consultations each year. Glennine has attended courses at universities, academies, institutes, seminar groups, and study clubs on all sorts of topics including orthodontics, implants, oral surgery, sleep apnea, TMD, practice management, and finances. Glennine believes that the dental industry should place a high value on education since it affects the productivity of the practice.
On a recent visit to a large office with close to a hundred employees, Glennine noticed that the newest people were the ones on the phones, and they had very little education about basic dentistry. “They didn’t know the difference between tooth number 2 and tooth number 30, or what could possibly be wrong if a tooth has sensitivity to heat,” she said.
These untrained team members simply handed callers off to someone else when they didn’t know an answer, which made the practice seem less than competent. Glennine explained, “With education in the dental practice, we need to start with ourselves. That means Total Team Training. The doctors need to invest time and money in educating their teams if they want to be truly productive.”
Glennine feels that education is important not only for the people who work in dentistry, but also for the patients, and this education is a very clear objective in the Total Team Training methodology. “One huge aspect that I focus on in my trainings with teams is that you have to educate the patients. An uneducated patient cannot make educated decisions. You just can’t sit a patient down and say ‘All right, your treatment plan is $5,000. We expect you to be responsible for $4,000 of that. When would you like to get scheduled?’ Patients will say, ‘What? $5,000? Are you kidding?’”
“However,” Glennine continued, “As you explore the treatment options available for your patients, you will help them learn the benefits of the dentistry so they will also understand its value. I feel that as a general rule, dental practices have a lot to improve on when it comes to informing and educating their patients. I hope to really make that an emphasis in my Total Team Training seminars.”
An Evolving TTT
Glennine also plans to introduce more technology, social media, presentation tools, and online services into the course. All of these components are huge to a 21st-century dentist, and Glennine wants to help practices make the best use of them.
She also wants to help dentists realize that if they want to accomplish big goals within their practices (full mouth reconstruction, dental sleep medicine, airway-centered dentistry, etc.), they need to start first with TTT as a foundation.
Glennine recently met a dentist who spoke to her about getting involved in sleep education, but was concerned that his team wouldn’t be able to handle the new direction since they were all new and had never been to TTT. He wasn’t sure which course he should bring his team to first.
“You need to go to Total Team Training,” Glennine told him. “Because that’s going to give you the foundation for how to interact with your patients. You can learn dental sleep medicine and airway-focused dentistry, but it will fall back on the fundamentals you learn in Total Team Training and how to focus on the patient, what they want, and give them what is in their best interest. That’s why it’s important to get your team to Total Team Training first versus starting with training in dental sleep medicine.” The dentist agreed with Glennine and decided to enroll in the course.
Do You Need TTT?
For dentists who are trying to decide if Total Team Training is for them, Glennine encourages them to ask themselves these questions. (Answering “no” to any of these questions means that your practice could benefit substantially from the foundations taught at TTT).
1. Does your practice develop relationships with patients that are patient-focused? Are you conducting interviews with all your new patients?
2. As a team, are you promoting comprehensive dentistry?
3. Does your office routinely offer more options to patients than services covered by insurance? Or are you an insurance-driven practice? If you don’t know or aren’t sure, then use Arrowhead’s simple formula to calculate. Here’s how you do it: calculate total insurance collections and divide by total collections. The number will equal the percentage of total insurance collected. The ideal is less than 20 percent.
A Creative Solution
With all her current professional responsibilities, Glennine was concerned about carrying on Tawana’s legacy with TTT because she knew of the time commitment involved. She didn’t want to give up her dental sleep medicine coaching since it is a passion and she has worked for years to develop her clientele. However, the management team at Arrowhead figured out how to divide the responsibilities so that Glennine could take the position and still pursue her other career interests—by setting up a team with Trish Jorgensen. With two individuals teaching TTT, each member of the team would complement each other and work towards common goals, while specializing in different areas of TTT. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working for Arrowhead in this capacity and to learn from Dr. Dick Barnes and Tawana,” Glennine said. “I’m very excited to work with Trish [Jorgensen] and will continue to evolve this amazing program with the skills that we both bring.”
Looking back at her career thus far, Glennine attributes much of her success to the basics she learned through the philosophies from Dr. Dick Barnes. “That’s what made me successful, not only at the dental practice, but also every other related opportunity in the dental industry that I’ve had,” Glennine explained. “Now being able to conduct the Total Team Training seminars and workshops for Arrowhead just makes sense. It’s my background. It’s my foundation.”
Meet Trish Jorgensen
Trish Jorgensen brings a wealth of in-office experience and formal education to the Total Team Training seminars. Trish began working in the dental industry in 1978. Initially, she worked as a dental assistant and then as a treatment counselor. After that, she moved to the front office where she worked as an office administrator for Family Dental Health Center in Idaho Falls, ID, for approximately 30 years.
As an office administrator, Trish discovered how much she enjoyed working with patients and helping them achieve their dental goals. During that time, Trish also became so proficient on Dentrix software, she was asked to be a trainer for them. Although flattered, Trish declined the offer because “it was just not what I wanted to do. My focus has always been on helping the dental office become more productive and helping patients learn what’s possible in terms of their dental work. Although I enjoy computers and software, I wanted to be in dentistry, too.”
Over the years, Trish has gained expertise in various areas of dentistry. When she started in the industry, dental assistants didn’t need prior training—often they learned their responsibilities on the job. When Trish was starting out, a dentist hired her and then conducted on-the-job training until Trish learned the ropes.
After she completed this initial training, Trish attended more formal dental training at Idaho State University in Pocatello, ID. In addition, while she was employed by Family Dental Health Center, she received training at Eastern Idaho Technical College (EITC). Trish explained, “I did all of the accounts payable, taxes, payroll, and the ledger for the practice, so [the dentist] sent me to a school for accounting.”
Trish’s proficiency in Dentrix also included advanced training. She attended numerous courses on the software. During that time, she also attended the Business of Dentistry—a several-day symposium offered by Dentrix. “The symposium included around 50 different presenters on all kinds of topics. Attendees went from one class to another to another over the multi-day symposium. I’ve attended Business of Dentistry numerous times since the year it started,” Trish explained.
Trish also began attending seminars with Dr. Dick Barnes early on in her career. It was so early in Arrowhead’s history, the company didn’t even have the current lab facility. “We went to San Diego many times to hear Dr. Barnes speak in the early years, and then continued attending the seminars once he opened the lab in Utah,” Trish explained.
About that time, Trish met Tawana Coleman. “I attended the first Total Team Training seminar in Salt Lake City, UT, that Tawana did on her own. I had attended her predecessor’s trainings for years and continued on with the program when Tawana came on board.”
The year following Tawana’s first seminar, Tawana traveled to Idaho Falls to conduct an in-office training at Family Dental Health Center. Trish became acquainted with Tawana on a personal and professional level at that time and they’ve stayed in contact over the years.
Time to Change
In January 2015, Trish expressed to Tawana a need for a possible career change. “Not that anything was wrong,” Trish explained. “I loved where I worked, I just needed some growth.” Tawana called a short time later to discuss a possible position with Arrowhead—an opportunity to shadow Tawana at her in-office coachings around the country.
Trish agreed and for the past year and a half has accompanied Tawana to all of her in-office coachings until March 1, 2016. At that time, Trish was officially hired as a full-time employee with Arrowhead.
Since May 2015, Trish has conducted more than 22 in-office trainings in more than 12 states—either as a joint-effort with Tawana or as a solo coach. Trish explained, “I have learned so much from working directly with Tawana for 15 months. Because of that experience, I am confident in continuing the legacy Tawana established with the in-office coachings.”
Trish has loved the opportunity thus far. “Arrowhead is different because of the focus on the patient,” she said. “No one teaches that type of focus. Nobody except Arrowhead. When you attend other seminars, you often feel like the only solution is to cut overhead. While cutting overhead is important, Arrowhead teaches that the easiest way to decrease your overhead is to increase your production—and the easiest way to increase your production is to build relationships. People do business with people they like and trust,” Trish explained.
Bring In Reinforcements
With Trish’s new position as a Practice Development Coach, she works one-on-one with practices at their offices. The in-office coaching sessions can be structured a few different ways: the sessions can reinforce what practices learned from Glennine Varga at the seminars, or Trish can teach dental practices the Total Team Training principles in their offices and then follow up with direct and personalized implementation of the TTT techniques.
Trish’s job doesn’t end when the coaching session is over. She follows up with offices to track their progress and offer any help that they might need. As Trish explained, it’s very natural when learning something new to attempt to apply it for a few days and then eventually fall back into old habits. “One of the most difficult things I found as an office administrator was actually implementing the things I learned at TTT,” Trish said. But once everyone in the office is aware of the fundamentals of TTT, Trish can give them personalized strategies on how to make the principles work for them and guide them in taking their practice to the next level.
“My specific purpose is to help everyone on the team be involved, to be on the same page,” Trish explained. “It’s not just the front office who needs to follow TTT principles, it’s everyone: the doctor, the clinical team, everyone. Everyone needs to be on board because each staff member is an important part of the structure and has a critical role to play in the success of the dental practice.”
Trish recommends that dental practices utilize in-office coaching as soon as possible after attending Glennine’s seminar. “You don’t want to wait too long after the seminar, but rather arrange for me to come in while the principles are still fresh on your mind.”
She also recommends that offices return, like her office did, multiple times to the TTT seminars. Trish advises this for two reasons, as she explained, “because of turnover in the practice and because people just need to hear it again. We all need refreshers. That’s human nature. It’s a fact that we as humans don’t retain a hundred percent of what we hear. That’s why repetition is so crucial.”
Maximizing the In-Office Coaching Sessions
Trish makes a few recommendations that will help practices get the most out of their in-office coaching:
1. Learn the TTT structure. To get started, all practices should attend the TTT seminar or schedule a private training to learn the TTT structure. “This is crucial,” explained Trish, “because it helps dental teams understand the very specific language and terminology that has a proven success record. It also builds overall excitement for implementing new goals and direction.”
2. Dentists should take a leadership role. Dentists need to exercise leadership for their practice and let their team members know what they expect of them during the training. That includes making sure that people know to put away their phones during the trainings and give the presenter their full attention. “It’s not only impolite to do otherwise, but also a waste of the doctor’s investment,” Trish explained. If the doctor assumes a role of leadership and sets expectations for his or her staff at the outset, the entire process runs much more smoothly.
3. Practices should submit pertinent details in advance. The practice should complete a “Practice Profile” report prior to Trish’s arrival. “This is a two-page document that Arrowhead sends out which gives me a place to start with very detailed numbers,” Trish explained. “It helps me get a vision of what the office is like. Then, I usually call ahead and ask some questions about the responses on the profile. We’ll discuss what we’re going to do—the agenda, and so forth. The Practice Profile is important because it not only tells me more about the dental practice, but it also helps the practice understand what to expect from me and what I’m going to be looking at while I’m there.”
4. Plan on building relationships. Not only does the TTT structure help the team build relationships with each other and the patients, it also encourages team-building with the TTT trainers. “I have a six month, one-on-one relationship with each office that I work with,” Trish explained.
And of course once a relationship is started, it rarely ends. “I want practices to succeed, no matter what,” Trish said, “and the best way for them to succeed is through relationship-building on all levels. They can call me anytime with questions, even after the six-month training period is complete. You will not see this kind of relationship with any other dental consult company.”
5. Plan on being accountable. “In order to have success, you need to have accountability in the practice,” Trish explained. “I ask for certain reports every week. I evaluate the reports and then we discuss the improvements that need to be made so that the numbers can increase. In order to be successful, the practices need to be self-accountable and self-monitoring so they can see what they’re doing. So this idea of running reports needs to be a habit they keep on doing, even without my guidance.”
6. Don’t give up. “Even in offices that have more than one dentist, if this structure is going to work long-term, everyone has to learn it and stick with it. Be like a postage stamp—stick to it until you get there,” Trish explained. The six-month coaching sessions can really help offices develop these new skills into habits. Once the structures and strategies become habitual, offices really notice the difference in their bottom line.
7. Plan on regular training. Since turnover is an issue in every dental practice, regular training is crucial. But it’s not just the new employees who benefit from the training—regular training also helps reinforce the knowledge for team members who have been with the practice for a while.
Trish has many goals for her role as a Practice Management Coach at Arrowhead Dental Lab. She plans to utilize her own personal strengths at developing relationships with patients and team members as she visits offices around the country. “I feel that my role is to first and foremost build relationships with dental practices and to help those practices get to the next level and the next level and the next level. For over 40 years, the proven structure of the Total Team Training seminars has worked for thousands of dental practices throughout the United States and beyond. I have seen it work in my own experience and also in the last 15 months in my travels. It is amazing to me how simple yet effective the structure is.”
Trish continued, “I understand what dental practices have to deal with in the 21st century from a firsthand basis. I’ve become quick at diagnosing things, seeing potential problems, and providing solutions. It excites me to see the enthusiasm in the dental practices that I have the privilege of visiting. My ultimate goal is to help practices embrace the TTT structure, and as they do so say, ‘the best is yet to come!’”
A Bright Future
At Aesthetic Dentistry, we are excited to follow the progress of Glennine and Trish’s partnership in the new Total Team Training seminars and coachings. As Tawana did in the past, both of these trainers will provide regular articles for the magazine on various issues related to dental practice management. Stay tuned for future articles that feature expert tips, real-world applications, and practical advice from this dynamic duo beginning in Spring 2017!