28 min readThe Jameson Files 111 – Dr Maurice Miles – The Journey to My Ideal Practice

Carrie Webber

Carrie Webber [00:00:10] Welcome to the Jameson Files. I’m Carrie Webber and I’m your host. We’re so glad to have you with us. Thank you so much for tuning in. To listen more about the stories that we share with dentists across the country. And lessons learned that can hopefully help you on your journey to pursuing your ideal practice vision. I am so excited to be with my dear friend, Dr. Maurice Miles of Maryland today. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:00:37] Thank you for having me. 

Carrie Webber [00:00:40] Thank you for being here. I’ve had the privilege of knowing you for several years now, and it’s just a joy for those of you listening or watching. Dr. Miles has an amazing story of where he’s come and how he has become such a significant leader, a mentor in dentistry. You have a clear love for helping other young dentists identify their vision, for their journey and helping them to be successful. You know, a lot of amazing people. You’re a connector of sorts because you have a true passion for the craft and for the profession that is dentistry. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:01:18] Thank you. 

Carrie Webber [00:01:18] And so you have a lot in your journey of coming to clarity for what your ideal practice is and where and how you were pursuing that. A lot of changes on your journey. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:01:31] A lot of changes. 

Carrie Webber [00:01:32] A lot of changes. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:01:32] And diversion. 

Carrie Webber [00:01:35] A lot of diversion, a lot of success. But with that success, there are a lot of challenges that you’ve had to face. So I’d love to just have you share with the audience your story, how you got into dentistry, where you find yourself now. And let’s talk through some of the amazing decisions that you had to make and the clarity that you’ve come to the dentist that you are today. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:01:58] So thank you for having me again, Carrie. I’ve known Carrie and Jameson for over six years. Interestingly enough, there has been some transition in my dental profession. You know, I’m from Jamaica, went to college in Jackson, Mississippi, came to come to Howard University. The dentist was there and was all fired up about doing things and changing things. And when I went to dental school, I was going to be oral surgeon and they busted up my first year and then I got sick and it hit me. So my transition changed. I spent a year in the hospital. It came out, had a new vision and what I wanted. 

Carrie Webber [00:02:36] Wow.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:02:37] I love dentists and I love people. So I joined the elite. This is for the young dentist. 

Carrie Webber [00:02:43] Right.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:02:44] The first practice you walk into is probably not going to be the practice that you end up in. Our eyes are so bright eyed and bushy tailed and we just want to get in there and think when they change the world and you really know who you are until 10, 15 years and sometimes you get early success and sometimes that could be the don’t follow where your true potential is. So I got into a really good practice, had a very good mentor, better than most people I know. It was a practice for maybe ten years, before six years before I became a partner. And even though it was a good mentor, the partnership and the work, because it wasn’t for me. I learnt a lot from the partner at that time. Things to do, things not to do. But somewhere along the line I got a clear vision. So while I’m in private practice, I’m very involved in organized dentistry, do a lot of stuff and organize friends to serve on my dental board of the dental board president. And then I’m an examiner there and I’m sitting on this board, that board and I have a passion for dentistry. So I took that to Jamaica. So I’m always traveling, I’m always doing something. So I’m trying to balance that and balance a family and doing a lot of things. So the partnership then wasn’t working. One of the things that we did to try to operate the partnership was to in the practice was to involve Jameson. Best thing ever happened to me completely, the best thing. When I came out was very skeptical about practice management. That’s a practice manager. It’s not a clean term for young dentistry because now we’re going to have people telling us what to do. Call the crown every two minutes. And you know, brainwash patients, brainwash your staff. Staff think they’re right. Staffs, you know, and staffs the well, if I get a management company that’s going to try to tell us everything and they’re going to try to, it’s a religion it’s a cult. Don’t do it. I came to Jameson, I met Cathy and I met you and I met Paddy. And it was not what I thought it would be. You gotta remember, I’m not the average person I’m telling you a lot. And what I liked about the philosophy at Jameson is we’re going to make you be the best that you want to be. Fifty people on the road, 50 different practitioners. We’re not here to get you on the same page. I want to find out where you are and where you want then to go and how to get there. So my leadership skills based and all this stuff I do. Professional dentist, it’s a little bit different. So I am of the mindset that I don’t micromanage. I select a team and we just have it go. 

Carrie Webber [00:05:25] Right.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:05:25] I like to meet people where they are. And then that transition that in my other practice, it just wasn’t working. 

Carrie Webber [00:05:32] Right.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:05:33] So we separated ways and I had to go through some transition, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I was really busy anyway. It wasn’t the problem that I didn’t have stuff to do. Too much things to do. And then I stumbled onto a practice, a very old practice, that unfortunately, the practitioner died two minutes from my home. And I was looking at other places to be and other options. And I just went in there to help the family retained value for a while so they could do it. And I remember calling, calling you and calling Jameson and I said: I think there is something I want to do, but I can’t without you guys. Remember the partnership, this was a year separate from the other partner. And you guys were still doing Jameson. And I thought, well, if I’m going to do this, part of my team has to be Jameson. How that’s going to work, it would. And so we had a nice conversation and I had people that I brought into the practice. It was a four-year-old practice. Great, great practitioner. Never, never met him. But patients said they’re really, really good. Encouraged was a nice man. But there was no real value in the practice. There were no computers. There was no x ray. There was the dip. It was a mom and pop. Mainly only pop. No, mom. 

Carrie Webber [00:06:56] There was a lot of work to be done to get it ready for the kind of dentistry that you provide and desire and envision for your practice to provide. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:07:06] Exactly, so coming from a practice that had a coma and we had on the machine. Now I’m going I’m going to something that I needed to find somewhere to sit. Right. 

Carrie Webber [00:07:15] Right.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:07:16] Just looking at the money that’s going to take to invest in it. Here’s what I tell people. The best investment and I tell my staff the best investment you can make is in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter what anybody else tells you. They say know this is an investment. I can do. I can turn it around. I can do it. I’m going to cut this story short about how we get on the practice, eventually about the practice. And now I was scared because I bought the practice and I say I’m going to do it a little bit different. I’m going to not be in debt. I’m going to figure how we can do it. So made some smart decisions and up just purchasing it. And now we have to rent it, though. 

Carrie Webber [00:07:52] Yes.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:07:53] So one of the things I wasn’t worried about, the renovation and the upfront costs. I was worried about the team and the soul wanted to keep the team that was there because he was practicing for 35 years. 

Carrie Webber [00:08:04] Right.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:08:05] And the hygienist was there for 25 years and the front desk was there for a while. Was it a team I would have picked? There are lovely people. It was a team I picked at the time. 

Carrie Webber [00:08:17] Yeah.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:08:18] Because I needed it and needed them there. And they were gracious. They were gracious. They stayed even though the vision wasn’t going to be theirs. So one of the first employees I lost was the second day Jameson came in. It was the people. It was the second meeting. 

Carrie Webber [00:08:38] Yeah.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:08:39] I gave them the survey to fill out. And from the get-go, there was resistance. 

Carrie Webber [00:08:45] Yeah.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:08:46] Remember, I’ve had a bad experience before. I just dumped all the money I had. 

Carrie Webber [00:08:52] Into this new place. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:08:54] Into this new place. I had so many that I thought was key because one thing that patients didn’t know me, didn’t trust me, knew them and not me. How was I gonna do it without this person. And she’s; and Jameson and Patty came October 13th. I walked out in there and I said, she’s gone, they’re both gone. October 6, it was two days. So whenever in two days, the Friday, I got a text, Friday evening from that person saying, I’m done. And I just kind of sat back in my chair and was like… 

Carrie Webber [00:09:33] Okay.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:09:34] Okay. 

Carrie Webber [00:09:35] So where do we go from here? 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:09:37] Oh, my eyes are just where do you go from here? And but I had faith in the system. I had faith in certainly Jameson among the other to do things, it was really that time that struggling that was really hard. On the Monday morning I came in and there’s an envelope on my desk. It is from the high Chinese. And I didn’t open it. I kept work. And then she came in the room and she says, can I talk to you? And she said, I said, sure, come in. Have a seat. And she sat down and says, Did you read the envelope? I said, no, it’s your resignation, effective in two weeks. And your ending date in the system is October 31st. She goes, you didn’t even read it. I said well, I got a text from your counterpart. So I assumed you guys had the conversation and you decided to quit, but I’m OK. 

Carrie Webber [00:10:21] Right.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:10:22] It would just happen. So now I had the luxury and the thought and the ability to have some of my old crew with me and they were always saying Dr. Miles, when you’re ready to do something, I’m here. Talk to Jameson. And this is not a; now you have me on the podcast. I’m glad to be here. But people listen to this podcast. This is not a sales pitch. 

Carrie Webber [00:10:47] They want to know how you got through that. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:10:50] If it wasn’t for Jameson, I wouldn’t have been here. I think I know, and dentists think we know things and we don’t. You’re talking to somebody who does a lot of legislative stuff, who can write a bill, grant. Go to that. Pelosi’s lobby. Get it passed. Sit back. Pat myself on the shoulder. Go to Jamaica, get the laws changed all this. But I couldn’t run what I thought was my simple practice. I couldn’t do it by myself and all this knowledge, but then leading my team was so difficult for me to do when they could sit and walk into the secretary health. I said this is what we should do in Maryland and this is what we should do. And they say, OK, let’s get it done. But I couldn’t do that for five people. 

Carrie Webber [00:11:43] But you couldn’t get that vision moving for five. But, you know, I think your story is going to resonate with a lot of people because, you know, we’re in that time, a very significant time where the landscape of dentistry is either people are picking up more and more practices and more of a group mindset or there are a lot of mature doctors looking to transition out and young doctors transitioning into the ownership of established practices, practices that have you know, if you if it’s a practice that hasn’t been upgrading and evolving with the technology and the tools and the way dentistry is provided today, there’s a lot of catching up to do. But you also have a 35, 40-year vision of how a practice was run. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:12:31] And now I’m going to just make a sharp right. 

Carrie Webber [00:12:33] Right. And now you step in with all the enthusiasm and passion in the world for what your vision is. But this is the story of how important it is to have everyone clear on the direction and on board in an alignment with it and bought into it. Because if they, if it’s not for them, you’re not going anywhere. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:12:55] And can I tell you the honest truth? Sometimes the doctor is the greatest obstacle to their success. 

Carrie Webber [00:13:05] Yes. I feel like. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:13:07] I’m in the pulpit. Yeah, I’m preaching to myself. Sometimes we are the obstacle overall success or whatever reason. My old partner decided that was the trend. Since you brought this up, I will is odds are dentists have been practicing for close to 15 years and you see all the changes. Corporate dentistry just eaten up the market and group practice I think is probably going to be the future. And I’m up a group practice mindset. I have a periodontist in my practice, so I wouldn’t go anywhere without her. That was one of the first recruits I did. I said you are here with me. I’m taking you here. That’s the end of that story. We’re going to practice like that. I don’t do I don’t drill and fill. I have a DDS for a reason. So I do comprehensive health care. If I refer to a M.D. or EMT for their sleep apnea if I have to. I’m so involved in overall care with that person, I don’t think I can do everything myself. My ex-partner decides the way to go was to partner with a corporate practice. And the day that happened, I said that was one of the biggest mistakes. So here’s what I would tell dentists who have been practicing for a while, who have their number shrink in, is I’m going to push Jameson because I’ve looked at a bunch others and I can tell you what I get that, you want to look at a really good management company that can come in and help you get to your goals. And if you’re willing and able to listen and change your mindset and change your team members, even if that team has been with you for 20 years and you know, their family, you went to their kid’s high school graduation, but they don’t fit in the vision. Then you’re going to have some make some tough changes. I have the fortunate story in that I have to make that type of change, but I have to make changes in the resistance I’ve given Patty. My coaches were, you know, when you call, you talk to me… I really don’t want to do that. And it takes me a while to get into a system. And I have to just follow the program. And it’s made for me. So I think what you guys offer and what they see in the transition as I grow, because my vision is to have one more practice in my practice. You’ve seen it. It’s not big. It’s small. It’s when you walk in and I tell people I know what you feel like your dental practice. It doesn’t look like a normal practice. 

Carrie Webber [00:15:40] It’s beautiful. 

[00:15:41] Does it feel like dental practice? Heaven forbid. It doesn’t smell like a dental practice, but I want patients to leave there feeling like they got something. They got health care. They got it in a smooth, easy way. We have their best interests at heart. The money and on the finance will come after if you treat your patients correctly, the success will come. If you have the right systems. 

Carrie Webber [00:16:06] And the people that want to do that with you in that, in the way that you’ve envisioned and mapped out that you want to care for your patients, and you want to run the business. I think you’re a great, a beautiful story of eternal optimism. You have so much passion. And while you, these challenges came and you could have easily just said, I don’t have time for this.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:16:28] But I would tell a good story because I now we have to wrap up. 

Carrie Webber [00:16:31] No, no. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:16:31] I have one colleague who you know very well, that I won’t call his name because he’s going to… they start with you and without permission to say its name. But that practice he purchased in D.C., it was a practice I should have gotten. And I said, look I’m not ready. I could have gotten the practice. Monetarily, it was a lot of money. We negotiated it. He was looking for one, I said here it is. And as you know, it took him a while to even call Jameson because he was going to try to do it himself. And after calling me and asks me for advice and like my friends do that. What do you do here? What do you do there? I just say, look, just call the people who know. 

Carrie Webber [00:17:15] Yeah.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:17:15] You know, and so happy to hear last week he said, “I’m going to go with Jameson” and I said good because I don’t have all the answers. I’m still going along. And I’ve been doing it for a while. It’s been in practice for about 25 years. And so Jameson help people different level and different stages in their practice and those practices doing better. I think it’s going to be very successful. So I would just say transition in life has to happen. If you’re staying stagnant, then you’re not doing something correct. 

Carrie Webber [00:17:46] Well, when you, when you get the gift like you were given at about year 10, 12. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:17:52] Exactly. 

Carrie Webber [00:17:53] Of, you could have probably stayed on the track you were on and done fine, but you were given the gift of that clarity of, there is a different way I want to pursue this for my professional career and I will regret it if I don’t step out and take the risk that comes with trying to pursue what is ideal in my vision for what my practicing career is. And I think that’s important to anyone listening that our, that you may be in that stage of really having some clarity or having some thoughts about what’s next for me. Is this all, if you’re in a position, your career where you’re saying, is this all there is? And to have the courage to explore more. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:18:42] And that’s and that’s why I need that help, because dentistry is, dentistry is my profession, that’s who I am. It’s what I do to enjoy life. I happen to love what I do so it’s really easy for me. But there are patients that I do want to treat that most people won’t treat. I do special needs. And I can tell you right now, it’s not a… it’s a little off. I mean, I don’t make any money. And so when 

Carrie Webber [00:19:11] But it’s your heart. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:19:11] It’s my heart. So when I have to go into the, or take a day off, I’m going to the OR other hospital because I can’t treat them to provide that service. My staff feel very happy and lovely and then have to turn to nerves. And that is why we need procedures, because if we don’t do what we supposed to do and we have holes in our ship and we’re already leaking, I can’t afford to treat the patients that need the help. 

Carrie Webber [00:19:36] It can be a way for you to do more that has the most meaning for you. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:19:42] Is to wait. 

Carrie Webber [00:19:44] Yes.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:19:45] And I do love to do a cosmetic guy. So I do love to do those cases. And I love to make people smile. But ultimately, I really love to provide great care for me and the split side, I also want to work in Jamaica. So I have to get my systems in place. 

Carrie Webber [00:20:00] Yeah.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:20:01] And as soon as we get that, and you’ve been to Jamaica a couple of times. Jameson is going to be in Jamaica. Because it doesn’t matter where you practice dentistry, it’s the same issues, it’s the same problems, and so what we have to offer is beautiful because it’s helped me to get to where I need to be. 

Carrie Webber [00:20:18] And, you know, I think your story. There are a lot of high performing doctors and dental professionals out there that have multiple priorities for and responsibilities by choice, by love, by passion. I don’t think you if someone sat here and said, you must choose. Maybe you could. But I don’t think you could completely remove all because they all represent a part of the who that you are. But it does make it important to have clarity and focus and to have priorities and prioritize your time effectively. And as you said, to shore up your ship and make sure that those foundations are strong so that it can help carry you in the direct, multiple directions that you’re that your life takes you. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:21:03] Because I can’t make the next move unless I have all of those processes. I want to be able to, God forbid something happens to me, the next person walking in there, I can give an associate who I can say I’m gone away for two weeks, run the ship. And so it is the transition is possible. You have to believe. I have just now started doing some of the things that I’ve been told by Patty for years to do. 

Carrie Webber [00:21:30] Better late than never. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:21:31] Better late than never. Because it’s our nature, we’re type A, we’re stubborn. We are a bunch of know it alls. We are a bunch of know-it-alls. And we shoot ourselves the leg every single day. 

Carrie Webber [00:21:46] I think it’s a very profound question for people to ask themselves as leaders, what if my biggest obstacle is me? And that’s a very vulnerable question to ask. It’s very hard. I have to ask that of myself as a leader on a regular basis. What if it’s me and what can I do better? What can I learn from this? That takes a lot. That takes a lot of wisdom and just true mindset for something better for everyone and takes really takes the self out of leadership. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:22:22] And if you want to succeed, they’re going to have to do that. So one of the reasons why we’re here and we’re actually here in Oklahoma at Jameson leadership meeting is, while I was looking at the holes we have and how to get them better. I’m not one of those people that have a bad team, I have a great team there and then they’re not working. Tell them what I tell my daughter. You’re operating above 50 percent of your potential. You just don’t know how much you have, is to be here. So I said I haven’t given them the tools to get where I need them to be. So if I’m going to get them there, I have to, have to shut the office down for 2 days, if they have to come out here and most doctors will look at the investment. They won’t look at the plane ticket and the hotel. They’re looking at oh my god I’m gone for two days, two and a half days. The investment is worth it because if you haven’t given people the tools they need to perform, how are you going to expect them to perform. And that’s for leadership. 

Carrie Webber [00:23:19] I say that all the time. I swear I didn’t tell him to say that. But if you want your team to be successful leaders, you have to give them the tools and the time and the training and the belief and the trust to be so. A lot of times you see because of a busyness and overwhelm and feeling and a lot of in dentistry, you’re filling a very significant void of a seat at the table of your dental practice that you had to get back to work immediately. But they don’t know you. They don’t know your practice systems. They don’t know what makes you run well. They’re bringing on their baggage of their past experience and just doing that. So if you want your teams to be successful. I love what you do, what you’re saying. My gosh, Dr. Miles. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:24:02] I gave them the tools. 

Carrie Webber [00:24:02] You have to give them the tools and that it can be overwhelming in and of itself for doctors, because it’s that it can sometimes feel like one more thing and one more amount of time that that doesn’t exist in the schedule this time. But you can’t afford not to. If you’re feeling like you’re in a hamster wheel right now doing the things that you’re doing, and just hoping that it’s gonna be different. That’s not going to work. So you’ve got to give them tools. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:24:30] Well, that’s the definition of madness. Right? 

Carrie Webber [00:24:32] Yeah. The definition of insanity. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:24:34] Insanity. You do the same thing over and expect different results. If I don’t give them the tools and I like to say meet people where they’re at. Now if after I have given them all the tools and there’s not a change, then I can sleep better to know that this is not the bus we need to be on. But my shortcoming is I haven’t given them the tools let’s do that. So you have to be able to see the good in people, their value. Work on their strengths and not on their weaknesses. 

Carrie Webber [00:25:03] Yes.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:25:03] And they have to be flexible to see that and to own what their weakness is. Just like I had to do it to get here. 

Carrie Webber [00:25:11] Yes.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:25:11] You know, we don’t like to for help. It’s not in our nature. 

Carrie Webber [00:25:14] No.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:25:15] But I’m happy that you guys are here because it makes a big difference to me. 

Carrie Webber [00:25:21] One piece of advice for those doctors that are looking to make a change or new doctors coming into this, the fresh faced and into the world of dentistry. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:25:31] One piece of advice is start sooner than later. 

Carrie Webber [00:25:36] Hmm.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:25:37] If by the time you see the problem come in, it’s already been there. Dental frustration and dental failures are like a monsoon. It’s like a tsunami. The earthquake happens before that water pulls over from the shore. 

Carrie Webber [00:25:55] Wow.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:25:57] By the time you see that wall up, pulling away from the sand, you don’t have time to move. Reasons why practice fail, a lot of dental practices fail. And the reason why there’s a world in corporate dentistry is because we see the earthquakes. We feel the tremors. We ignore it by the time we’re in the shore, looking out, thinking everything is great. Some of us realized that the water’s pulling back and now some of us don’t. Either way, when that 10-foot, that 100-foot storage of water comes, you can’t ignore it. And most people can’t survive from that. So if you were in that frustrated at the point of the earthquake, there’s something wrong. But if we miss that? Then we’re in trouble. Start sooner than later. 

Carrie Webber [00:26:41] When you see the crack, when you feel the quake. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:26:43] When you feel the crack faced reality. 

Carrie Webber [00:26:46] Face it and work on, deal with it, then better now. Don’t put it off. Don’t put off what’s on your mind that you know you need to face. Because the longer you wait, it does not resolve, it just, the rift gets bigger. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:26:59] Your AR that was five thousand bucks isn’t going to get better if you don’t fix your processes. By the end of the year you get one hundred thousand dollars. That’s something that we can relate to. Forget tsunami. 

Carrie Webber [00:27:10] Right.

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:27:11] Let’s do stuff relative. If you’re not collecting, if your patients aren’t happy, if you’re not getting return patients, if it starts to happen regularly, it’s not become a pattern. Fix it before and for new dentists, the ones that are fresh coming to school. Read. Read. Seek help. You guys live in the age of Google and Research. You have all the research at the fingertip. Research asks questions. Get into a good mentorship. Realize in the first practice you walk through isn’t going to be the one but learn everything. Knowledge can either be positive or negative, but it’s still knowledge. What to do right, what not to do. 

Carrie Webber [00:27:55] Beautiful. At getting clearer on that clarity, facing the needs that need to be faced quickly, sooner rather than later. And I think Dr. Miles is a beautiful example of don’t lose your passion. Persevere, persevere. Look within what you can be doing better and help your team get set up for success. Thank you. 

Dr. Maurice Miles [00:28:20] Thank you so much. 

Carrie Webber [00:28:21] Thank you so much. 

[00:28:23] Thank you for joining us on this episode of the Jameson Files. Visit us online at J M S N dot com. You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunesGoogle Play Music, or Spotify. Do you have questions or topics you’d like us to answer or cover on the next podcast? Email us at [email protected].

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